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Course content

The Linguistics MA aims to give students a thorough grounding in modern theoretical linguistics. Students gain a basic understanding of the three core areas of linguistics: phonetics and phonology; syntax; and semantics and pragmatics, and are then able to tailor the programme to meet their personal linguistic interests.

About this degree

Students gain knowledge and understanding of current research in theoretical linguistics and are prepared for independent research. On completion of the programme, they will be able to formulate appropriate research questions, find and evaluate relevant literature, develop and test new hypotheses, and produce cogent, structured and professionally presented reports.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of four core modules (105 credits), one optional module (15 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).

Core modules

  • Syntax
  • Semantics and Pragmatics
  • Phonetics and Phonology
  • Foundations of Linguistics

Optional modules

Students choose one of the following:

  • Advanced Phonological Theory
  • Advanced Semantic Theory
  • Current Issues in Syntax
  • Intermediate Generative Grammar
  • Issues in Pragmatics
  • Language Acquisition
  • Linguistics of Sign Language
  • Morphology
  • Neurolinguistics
  • Phonology of English
  • Readings in Syntax
  • Semantic-Pragmatic Development
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Stuttering
  • Language Evolution

More information about optional modules is available on the department website

Dissertation/report

All MA students undertake an independent research project in any area of linguistics which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words.

Teaching and learning

The teaching and assessment of this programme is strongly research-orientated. It is delivered through a combination of lectures, small-group teaching and a virtual learning environment. Some modules also involve workshops or practical classes. Assessment is through take-home and unseen examination, essays, presentations, assignments and the dissertation.

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

Careers

Many linguistics graduates from UCL carry on studying linguistics at MPhil/PhD level with a view to pursuing an academic career. Others go on to teach languages, especially English (as a first or foreign language) or embark on a range of other careers, from law, media, computing and speech and language therapy to all aspects of commerce and industry.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Lecturer, King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia
  • Investigations Specialist, Amazon
  • Translator, Hunan University
  • English as a Foreign Language Teacher, Wall Street Institute
  • PhD in Translation Studies, Imperial College London

Employability

Linguistics MA students acquire a wide range of transferable skills, which opens up opportunities in many different sectors include language teaching, translating and interpreting, marketing, communication, journalism, management, and law. 

Graduates who achieve good results are well placed to go on to a research degree in linguistics at top universities, often with a view to pursuing an academic career.

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 UCL Division of Psychology & Language Sciences undertakes world-leading research and teaching in linguistics, language, mind, and behaviour. More specifically, UCL Linguistics is one of the leading departments for research in theoretical linguistics in the UK and its staff includes world leaders in theoretical syntax, semantics, pragmatics, phonology, and experimental linguistics.

Our work attracts staff and students from around the world. Together they create an outstanding and vibrant environment, taking advantage of cutting-edge resources such as a behavioural neuroscience laboratory, a centre for brain imaging, and extensive laboratories for research in speech and language, perception, and cognition.

Our world-class research is characterised by a tight integration of theoretical and experimental work spanning the full range of the linguistic enterprise and forms the bedrock of the department’s eminent reputation, which is also reflected in other markers of excellence, such as its editorial involvement with top journals in the field.

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: Division of Psychology & Language Sciences

83% 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 Linguistics (MA) page on the University College London website for more details!

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