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Course content

Who is this programme for?:

The programme is run on a modular basis to suit students with little or no training in linguistics who:

- Wish to acquire a more profound knowledge of the discipline or take the degree as a conversion course before proceeding to a research degree.

- Are looking to gain a working knowledge of an Asian, Middle Eastern or African language.

This two-year programme is meant for students who wish to combine rigorous training in the discipline of linguistics, with the intensive study of one or more African or Asian languages. At the end of the programme students will be able to embark on professional careers in language-related fields with emphasis on the region in which the language chosen for the programme is spoken. They will also be able to undertake further study, e.g. for a research degree in linguistics.

The programme is built on the MA Linguistics and includes all parts of this programme (4 units). It may be combined with Intensive Language (Japanese), Intensive Language (Korean) and Intensive Language (Arabic). Relevant departments deliver 4 units of language study, which may include a summer abroad in a country where the language is spoken. Please click on the links to view their webpages for further information.

Visit the website http://www.soas.ac.uk/linguistics/programmes/ma-lingandlang/


The MA Linguistics and Intensive Language consists of three components: core courses, optional courses and dissertation research.

Students take seven full units of taught courses and write a 10,000 word dissertation on the topic of their choice in linguistics in consultation with the supervisor. Three units are taken in the Linguistics department, and four units are taken in other SOAS departments and involve the practical study of a language at any level. Students also attend the weekly Research Training Seminar in Year 1.

Programme Specification

MA Linguistics and Intensive Language - Programme Specifications 2015/16 (pdf; 334kb) - http://www.soas.ac.uk/linguistics/programmes/ma-lingandlang/file91061.pdf

Teaching & Learning

Programme Aims:

- To provide students with knowledge of the discipline of linguistics and research methodology in the study of language, both from a theoretical and practical viewpoint

- To provide students with sufficient transferable skills to enable them to function in other professional environments related to language

- To provide either a further qualification in linguistics or a preparation for research (MPhil/PhD) study. By the end of the course students are able to pursue further research or training, at either PhD or professional level

- To provide the opportunity of studying one or more Asian, Middle Eastern and African languages. By the end of the course students are able to have an intermediate-level command of at least one language

Learning Outcomes


1. Acquiring a solid foundation in the ‘core’ areas of theoretical linguistics, syntax, phonology and semantics

2. Familiarity with the basic concepts and assumptions of different theoretical frameworks in the discipline, and the ability to critically question and evaluate these assumptions

3. Familiarity with the relevant conventions and methodology applicable to working with both raw linguistic data and linguistic descriptions

4. Opportunity to specialise in the area of interest

5. The student will have the opportunity to gain knowledge (or further knowledge) of one or more Asian, Middle Eastern or African languages

Intellectual (thinking) skills:
Having completed the programme, students should have:

1. The ability to formulate appropriate linguistic problems, propose and evaluate analyses and present evidence (for and/or against) these analyses

2. Knowledge of how to assess data and evidence critically from the literature and original sources, how to formulate analyses and arguments within the system of concepts and assumptions in the discipline, how to solve problems of conflicting sources and conflicting interpretations

Subject-based practical skills:
Having completed the programme, students should be able to:

1. Practise research techniques in specialised research libraries and through consultant work

2. Retrieve and select information from a variety of linguistic sources such as specialised papers and reference grammars

3. Have strong practical language skills which will help them in any context where the language is used and which will also be of benefit if they need to learn another language in the future

Transferable skills:
Having completed the programme, students should be able to:

1. Locate materials and use research sources (library holdings, ‘raw’ language data, periodicals, internet)

2. Structure and communicate ideas effectively in writing

3. Question, understand and evaluate competing proposals


Many linguistics graduates continue their studies and go to do a PhD, either at SOAS or elsewhere. Others work in the domains of education, translation, information and media technology, journalism, publishing, consultancy for law and medicine, product-naming companies, as well as governmental organisations concerned with language planning, language policy and foreign affairs.

Find out how to apply here - http://www.soas.ac.uk/admissions/pg/howtoapply/

Visit the MA Linguistics and Intensive Language page on the SOAS University of London website for more details!






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