You’ll study the sociocultural, historical and structural complexities of the English language with the possibility to study other modern languages as well, if you choose.
There are four pathways to choose from: Literary Linguistics, Social and Historical Approaches, Structural and Theoretical Linguistics, and Modern Languages (co-run with the School of Modern Languages and Cultures). You can follow one exclusively or combine the four.
The Literary Linguistics pathway examines a range of approaches to literary linguistic study including cognitive poetics, corpus stylistics and narratology; Social and Historical Approaches investigates complex real-world language problems in different social and historical contexts; Structural and Theoretical Linguistics explores the foundational mental structures and processes underlying language; and Modern Languages offers students the opportunity to study similar aspects of Slavic, Germanic and/or Romance languages.
As your understanding of theory develops, you’ll learn how to analyse language and how to carry out research projects. If you choose a work placement, you might also develop skills in marketing, archiving, teaching or publishing.
Our graduates are working in teaching (primary, secondary, FE, HE and TESOL), publishing, marketing, libraries, fundraising, charities and the public sector. A masters from Sheffield is a sound basis for a PhD at any leading university.
How we teach
Our expertise covers all aspects of the subject, so whatever you’re interested in you’ll get the best possible advice and support. We provide training in research methods and you can choose to go on a work placement as part of your course.
You’ll be taught by academics whose work is published internationally. Their specialisms include language acquisition, historical language studies, applied linguistics, literary linguistics, discourse analysis and sociolinguistics.
We have a lively research culture. Through lectures and weekly seminars we’ll introduce you to the latest ideas. You’ll have the opportunity to explore these ideas in your own research.
With the School of Languages and Cultures, we established the new University Centre for Linguistic Research to gather and support postgraduate linguistics research across the University.
We have specialist recording equipment for fieldwork and experimental work. Interactive computer-based workshops will introduce you to corpus-linguistic technology.
The University library subscribes to several electronic databases including JStor, Early English Texts online and Eighteenth-century Collections online. For more advanced reading, there’s a regular free minibus service to the British Library at Boston Spa.
Examples of optional modules
Linguistics in Context; Linguistics in Practice; Research Practice; Literary Language: narrative and cognition; Literary Language: history and culture; Work Placement with Research Project.
Teaching and assessment
The MA offers world-leading expertise in all areas of English language and linguistics, and is therefore capable of offering the best possible support for students’ interests on any topic. You’ll benefit from our expertise in many fields, from language variation and change, psycholinguistics and syntax to conversation analysis, dialectology and the language–literature interface. Our enthusiastic staff publish internationally. Within the School of English, we hold weekly research seminars which give you the chance to hear about the latest developments.
You’ll be taught through seminars and workshops. There are also work placement opportunities in schools, museums, libraries or local businesses. Assessment varies by module, but includes essays and presentations.