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Course Content

Course content

Programme description

This intensive programme will enable you to delve deeper into the structure of the English language’s phonology, syntax and semantics and modern and historical development.

The MSc can function either as a stand-alone masters qualification or as a basis for further postgraduate study, typically at PhD level.

Joining an internationally acclaimed centre for research and teaching in the linguistic study of English, you will explore in depth a global language with a rich history and great social and geographical variation.

You will be taught by world-leading experts who will give you a detailed awareness of the ways in which English is used in Britain and around the world.

Programme structure

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

The programme focuses initially on the structure of English, and also offers option courses on aspects of the history of English, on current varieties of the language and on a good number of approaches to the study of the language and English linguistics.

Compulsory courses:

  • Introduction to Language Research
  • Introduction to Phonology
  • Introduction to Syntax
  • History of the English Language

Optional courses:

  • Corpus Linguistics
  • Current Issues in Phonology: Current Issues in Syntax
  • Diachronic Linguistics
  • Dialects of English in Britain & Ireland
  • Early Germanic Dialects
  • English Grammar: a Cognitive Account
  • Global Englishes
  • Historical Phonology
  • Introduction to Discourse Analysis
  • Introduction to Morphology
  • Introduction to Semantics
  • Introduction to Sociolinguistics
  • Middle English
  • Pragmatics
  • Pragmatics of Linguistic Communication
  • Reading Old English
  • Scots and Scottish English

You can also choose optional courses from a wide range of other areas of linguistic study. You may be able to take a course from other degree programmes in the School of Philosophy, Psychology & Language Sciences, and in some cases, from elsewhere in the University.

Career opportunities

The programme has been designed to help you progress your career as an English language specialist in academia. The analytical skills you develop and the research training you receive will be valuable in a wide range of careers.


Visit the English Language (MSc) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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