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Course content

Our MA Linguistic Studies is our broadest postgraduate degree, offering you the widest choice of options. You expand your knowledge of language through studying everything from syntax, to computer-assisted language-learning, to language and gender, to language disorders, to multilingualism.

You build a programme best-suited to your individual needs. This course is ideal if you need to study on a part-time basis and wish to fit your course choices in with your existing commitments, as you can also study on an accumulation basis over a period of up to five years.

The optional modules you choose come from a broad list including:
-Theoretical and descriptive phonology
-Sociolinguistics
-Pragmatics
-Semantics
-Syntax

You also gain a basic familiarity with some common research methodologies and paradigms used in linguistics. You will write a dissertation on a topic of your choice. This takes place between April and September.

We are one of the largest and most prestigious language and linguistics departments in the world, a place where talented students become part of an academic community in which the majority of research is rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014), placing us firmly within the top 10 departments in the UK and ranked among the top 150 departments on the planet according to the QS World [University] Rankings [2016] for linguistics.

If you want a global outlook, are interested in human communication, and want to study for a degree with real-world practical value in a world-class department, welcome to Essex.

Our expert staff

Our staff maintain excellent student-staff ratios with capped language-specific seminars.

In theoretical linguistics, Doug Arnold, Bob Borsley, Louisa Sadler, and Mike Jones work on the structure of sentences, focusing on English and other languages; Andrew Spencer investigates how complex words are created; and Nancy Kula and Wyn Johnson work on sound structure.

In sociolinguistics, Peter Patrick, Rebecca Clift, Enam Al Wer and Vineeta Chand all work on different aspects of how language varies, and investigate which factors cause such variation. Peter is also involved in language rights, and offers expert opinions in asylum cases where language is used to determine origin.

In applied linguistics, Florence Myles, Monika Schmid, Sophia Skoufaki, Karen Roehr-Brackin, Adela Gánem-Gutiérrez, and Roger Hawkins focus on the learning of second and further languages, whilst Julian Good, Christina Gkonou and Tracey Costley focus on issues to do with the classroom teaching of English as a foreign language.

In psycholinguistics, Sonja Eisenbeiss, Claire delle Luche and Fang Liu use experimental techniques to understand how children learn language, how adults process language, and what happens when language ability is impaired by brain disorders.

Specialist facilities

-An exciting programme of research seminars and other events
-Our Languages for All programme offers you the opportunity to study an additional language alongside your course at no extra cost
-Our ‘Visual World’ Experimental Lab records response times and eye movements when individuals are presented with pictures and videos
-Our Eye-Tracking Lab monitors eye movement of individuals performing tasks
-Our Psycholinguistics Lab measures how long it takes individuals to react to words, texts and sounds
-Our Linguistics Lab has specialist equipment to analyse sound
-Our Albert Sloman Library houses a strong collection of books, journals, electronic resources and major archives

Your future

Our course can lead to careers in areas such as academic research, publishing, journalism, administration, public service and teaching. You develop key employability skills including research design, data analysis, thinking analytically, report writing and public speaking.

We work with the University’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Within our Department of Language and Linguistics, we also offer supervision for PhD and MPhil. We offer supervision in areas including language acquisition, language learning and language teaching, culture and communication, psycholinguistics, language disorders, sociolinguistics, and theoretical and descriptive linguistics.

Example structure

-Assignment Writing and Dissertation Preparation
-MA Dissertation
-Advanced Phonology (optional)
-First Language Acquisition (optional)
-Phonological Development (optional)
-Second Language Vocabulary: Learning, Teaching and Use (optional)
-Topics in the Psychology of Language Learning and Teaching (optional)
-Second Language Acquisition and Linguistics Theory (optional)
-American Languages (optional)
-Varieties of English (optional)
-Sociocultural Linguistics (optional)
-Sentence Processing (optional)
-Language Rights (optional)
-Semantics (optional)
-Literature and Language Teaching (optional)
-Language Learning (optional)
-English Syntax 1 (optional)
-Description of Language for TEFL/ELT and Applied Linguistics (optional)
-Syntactic Theory I (optional)
-Variationist Sociolinguistic Theory (optional)
-Experimental Design and Analysis (optional)
-Materials Design and Evaluation (optional)
-Sociolinguistic Methods 1: Data Collection (optional)
-Research Methods I (optional)
-English Syntax 2 (optional)
-Syntactic Theory II (optional)
-Teaching, Listening and Speaking (optional)
-The Role of Age in Bilingual Development (optional)
-Variation in English II (optional)
-Sociolinguistic Methods: Data Coding and Analysis (optional)
-Research Methods II (optional)
-Graduate Research Assignment (optional)
-Language Attrition (optional)
-Teaching Practice I (optional)
-Approaches, Methods and Teacher Development for TEFL/TESOL (optional)
-Language in Context: From Pragmatics to Conversation Analysis (optional)
-Teaching Reading and Writing in TEFL/TESOL (optional)
-Intercultural Communication: communicating across languages and cultures (optional)

Visit the Linguistic Studies - MA page on the University of Essex website for more details!

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