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Linguistics (MSc)

Course Description

Programme description

This MSc gives students all of the intellectual and practical skills to engage in linguistics research, either for its own sake, or as part of cross-disciplinary research.

Students graduating from our programme will understand how to analyse key data in syntax, semantics, phonology, and morphology, how to theorise such data, and how to exploit empirical methods to test their theories.

The key aims of the programme are to:

provide specialist knowledge within the fields of phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics
integrate relevant knowledge in those fields
establish a foundation for advanced research within phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics
provide a comprehensive understanding of the basic principles of research in theoretical and descriptive linguistics
develop the students’ analytical skills in an interdisciplinary context

We offer a strong focus on theoretical understanding: students will learn how to analyse data in the context of current theoretical understanding of linguistic structure at all levels, drawing on the expertise of the department, which is particularly strong in theory development, and will be well placed to compare and evaluate competing proposals, both from within the same theoretical model, and from competing models. Additionally, students will acquire the necessary data-elicitation skills, and skills in naturally occurring data in corpora.

All of these skills provide a firm foundation for further PhD study, either in Linguistics or in a related discipline that makes heavy use of core Linguistics (e.g. Developmental Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, etc.).

The programme is best suited to applicants whose academic background is in Linguistics, English Language, Philology or Cognitive Science.

Programme structure

The programme (a total of 180 credit points) requires students without a background in Linguistics to take the following five core courses totalling 50 credits:

Introduction to Morphology
Introduction to Phonology
Introduction to Semantics
Introduction to Syntax

Students with a background in Linguistics may be exempted from any or all of the courses at the Programme Director’s discretion.

Students will also need to choose, under the guidance of the programme director, additional course options (totalling 70 credits for students with no background) from an approved list of level 11 courses; students who are exempted from any of the courses listed will have to choose courses to ensure that their total number of credits excluding the dissertation comes to 120.

All students are expected to take Introduction to Language Research.

It is possible for students to take up to 20 credits of their optional courses from other MSc options offered within the School subject to the Programme Director’s approval.

All students will be required to write a dissertation of approximately 8,000-10,000 words.

Learning outcomes

Students graduating from this new programme will understand how contemporary research approaches the study of language.

Students will acquire and enhance the following professional/subject-specific/practical skills:

-general analytical (ability to construct, re-construct, critically evaluate an argument)
-organisational (ability to complete a project, setting up research goals, identifying necessary means and ways to completion)
-team- or group-work (presentations, in-class discussions)
-critical thinking (ability to select and evaluate the relevant data, such as experimental evidence or evidence from secondary sources)
-writing (how to convey purpose, motivation, method, results, and interpretation in written form)

Visit the Linguistics (MSc) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent.

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