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Course content

The English Linguistics MA provides students with the theoretical and practical knowledge needed to describe modern English, together with appropriate training in academic writing, linguistic argumentation and research methods. Students have access to the Survey of English Usage, an unparalleled resource for research into grammatical repertoire.

About this degree

The MA introduces students to the core areas of the study of English Linguistics, including morphology, syntax, phonetics, phonology and pragmatics. The programme trains students to use library OPACS, specialised websites, discussion lists, and databases, among them the ICE-GB corpus, based at the Survey of English Usage in UCL English.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of three core components (90 credits), two optional modules (30 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).

Core modules

  • English Grammar and Methodology
  • Either English Corpus Linguistics or English Language in Use
  • Research Methodology

Optional modules

Students take two optional modules. Different options are offered each year and have included:

  • English Words
  • History of the English Language
  • Literary Linguistics
  • Phonetics and Phonology of English


All MA Students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words. Students have access to the Survey of English Usage for this project.

Teaching and learning

The programme is taught through seminars and individual tutorials. Student assessment is through a portfolio of essays (two 2,000-word essays on English linguistics), two three-hour written papers and the dissertation. 

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: English Linguistics MA


The programme provides an ideal foundation for those wishing to continue to a research degree in English language or linguistics; students who obtain good results in their MA examinations may be considered for the MPhil/PhD programme at UCL (subject to places being available). Graduates may also become teachers or lecturers of English, or pursue a career in writing, publishing, or editing.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Secondary School Teacher (English Language), Unspecified Middle School, China
  • TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and SAT Teacher, Unspecified Teaching Company
  • English Teacher, Institute of English
  • Editor, Self-Employed Editor

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The department has exceptional resources for the study of English linguistics. Use of the Survey of English Usage has resulted in many important studies of the grammar, semantics and vocabulary of present-day English.

Excellent library facilities are provided by the UCL Library, Senate House Library and the British Library.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: English Language & Literature

85% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.

Visit the English Linguistics (MA) page on the University College London website for more details!






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