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    School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time & Part time available

  • Subject Areas

    Linguistics & Classics

    Psychology

  • Start Date

    September

  • Course Duration

    1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

  • Course Type

    MSc

  • Course Fees

    Tuition fees vary between degree programmes. Find the specific fees for your chosen programme on our website.

  • Last Updated

    22 November 2018

Course content

Programme description

This programme will develop your understanding of how knowledge of language changes as people acquire or lose language at various points in their lifespan.

It is designed primarily for graduates with a background related to linguistics and/or psychology who wish to develop their knowledge of current research on language acquisition (first, second, bilingual, and impaired) and language change from a cognitive perspective and from the point of view of current linguistic theories.

Joining a vibrant research community of developmental linguists, you will have the opportunity to carry out advanced research to try to answer questions related to the area of language development and bilingualism, such as ‘how do children learn language?’ or ‘what happens when we forget a language?’

You will benefit from the programme's strengths in:

  • scope (with equal emphasis on first and second language acquisition and bilingualism)
  • interdisciplinary teaching (staff drawn from linguistics, psychology and informatics)
  • skill-oriented training (through methodology courses, lab sessions and project work)

Programme structure

This programme comprises two semesters of taught courses, followed by a dissertation.

Compulsory courses

  • Introduction to Phonology and Phonetics
  • Introduction to Syntax
  • First Language Acquisition
  • Second Language Acquisition
  • Univariate Statistics and Methodology Using R
  • Research Methods in Developmental Linguistics

Option courses may include:

  • Sentence Comprehension
  • Discourse Comprehension
  • Language Production
  • Origins and Evolution of Language
  • Simulating Language
  • Psychology of Language
  • Child Bilingualism: Language and Cognition
  • Language Behaviours, Brains and Cognition: Principles and Approaches
  • Developmental Language Disorders
  • Language Evolution in the Lab

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the programme, you will have gained:

  • an advanced understanding of current issues, theories and findings in developmental linguistics;
  • intellectual skills to analyse and interpret language data with specific reference to the developmental aspects of linguistic knowledge;
  • practical and specific skills needed to conduct novel research in this field.

Career opportunities

This programme will provide you with the specialised skills you need to perform research in language learning and development. It will also serve as a solid basis for doctoral study.


Visit the Developmental Linguistics (MSc) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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