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The MA in Linguistics at Kent offers an excellent opportunity to explore the broad spectrum of linguistics and its sub-disciplines.

The programme is designed for graduates with a background in language and related areas (for example, English, Modern or Classical Languages, Linguistics, Psychology, Anthropology), looking to explore the theory and methodology of linguistics in-depth, from the study of sound (phonetics and phonology) to the study of words (morphology), sentences (syntax) and meaning (semantics and pragmatics). It draws upon the considerable expertise of staff in the Department of English Language & Linguistics.

Students choose four modules each in the Autumn and Spring terms, including core modules on sounds, structure, and meaning, supplemented with options on, for example, psycholinguistics, language acquisition, language learning and teaching, sociolinguistics and stylistics, which allow students to develop areas of interest, and engage with aspects of their chosen discipline which are informed by the latest research and scholarship. Students then complete a research dissertation of up to 15,000 words over the summer.

The programme is ideal for those with a keen interest in language in the broadest sense, and a willingness to explore theories of language critically. The programme also offers a smooth transition to doctoral work for those who wish to pursue their studies further.

About the Department of English Language and Linguistics

English Language and Linguistics (ELL) is a dynamic and growing department with a vibrant research culture. We specialise in experimental and theoretical linguistics. In particular, our interests focus on quantitative and experimental research in speech and language processing, variation and acquisition, but also cover formal areas such as syntax, as well as literary stylistics. In addition to English and its varieties, our staff work in French, German, Greek, Romani, Korean, Spanish and Russian.

Staff and postgraduates are members of the Centre for Language and Linguistic Studies (CLLS), a research centre that seeks to promote interdisciplinary linguistic research. We also have links with research networks outside Kent, and are involved with national and international academic associations including the Linguistics Association of Great Britain, the British Association of Academic Phoneticians, the Linguistic Society of America, the Association for French Language Studies and the Poetics and Linguistics Association.

Research strengths

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, the discipline of modern languages and linguistics was ranked 3rd for research quality, 3rd for research output and in the top 20 for research intensity, research impact and research power in the UK.

Our submission was the highest ranked nationally to include modern languages – a testament to Kent's position as the UK’s European university. An impressive 100% of research was judged to be of international quality and the School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.

Linguistics Lab

The Linguistics Lab is equipped for research in speech acoustics (including recording equipment, studio, software for speech analysis), speech and language processing and acquisition (including eye-tracking, DMDX and E-prime), and general data analysis (MS Office Suite, Statistica, R, and Matlab running on both PCs and Macs). Members of the English Language and Linguistics department also have access to the School of European Culture and Languages (SECL) recording studio and multimedia labs which can be used both for research and teaching.

Course structure

The programme comprises eight 15-credit modules.

The four core modules, Sounds, Meaning, Structure and Research Skills, provide you with a solid grounding in linguistic theory and methodology, while a range of optional modules either develop themes covered in the core module, or explore the relationship between language and other disciplines, such as literature (stylistics), the mind (psycholinguistics), and society (sociolinguistics).

Teaching in the MA in Linguistics takes the form of lectures, tutor-led and student-led seminars and tutorials, as well as problem-based workshops allowing students to engage with linguistic data and theory. You also have the opportunity to attend subject-related conferences and talks by visiting speakers.

You can study the programme on a 12-month full-time or a 24-month part-time basis.

Assessment

Assessment consists of a combination of written coursework, practical/experimental work (where appropriate) and seminar presentations.

On successful completion of the taught modules, students write a 15,000-word research dissertation (included in their final grade) on a topic agreed with their supervisor.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • enable you to obtain a postgraduate qualification (MA) in one year, and provide a smooth transition to doctoral work if you wish to pursue your studies further
  • develop your critical awareness of research methodologies in linguistics
  • offer a learning experience which is informed by the latest research and scholarship, and which requires you to engage with aspects of the discipline at the frontiers of knowledge
  • provide further development of critical, analytical and other transferable skills acquired at first degree level.

Careers

Postgraduate work in English Language and Linguistics prepares you for a range of careers where an in-depth understanding of how language functions is essential. These include speech and language theory, audiology, teaching, publishing, advertising, journalism, public relations, company training, broadcasting, forensic and computational work, and the civil or diplomatic services.


Visit the Linguistics - MA page on the University of Kent website for more details!

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