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Course content

Study languages from across the world, from their sounds and structures to their social functions. You explore what features are shared across all languages, and what the significance of their differences are.

Compared to our MA courses, our MRes programmes offer more flexibility and fewer taught modules, as the emphasis of your course is on your dissertation and individual research assignments. You must have a draft research proposal at your application stage, and a supervisor is assigned to you to guide your choice of modules and work on your dissertation.

Our course should interest you if you want to continue your study of linguistics while developing strong research skills. Our MRes Linguistics provides tailored support for the researcher-in-training, in any of our areas, with a range of subject-specific and research-support graduate modules available.

Your taught modules may include:
-Theoretical and descriptive phonology
-Syntactic theory
-Phonetics
-Semantics
-Pragmatics

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’, 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 are internationally renowned. Their books dominate the reading lists at other universities. We maintain excellent student-staff ratios, and we integrate language learning with linguistics wherever there is synergy.

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

On our course you develop key employability skills including thinking analytically, research design, data collection using quantitative and qualitative methods, data analysis and essay writing. Our course can lead to a career in areas such as academia, secondary school teaching, forensics, publishing, administration, and public service.

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.

Our graduates are successful in a wide variety of career paths. They leave Essex with a unique set of skills and experience that are in demand by employers.

Example structure

-Dissertation (Research)
-Advanced Phonology
-Phonological Development
-Sentence Processing
-Semantics
-Pragmatics: Discourse and Rhetoric
-CA I - Conversation and Social Interaction
-English Syntax 1
-Syntactic Theory I
-English Syntax 2
-Syntactic Theory II
-Graduate Research Assignment

Visit the Linguistics - MRes page on the University of Essex website for more details!

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