Modern linguistics is the scientific study of all aspects of the world’s languages from their sound systems and grammatical structure through to the interaction of language with culture, the study of meaning in language, and the use of language in modern technology. Linguists try to establish what types of structures are shared by different languages and the extent to which language may differ from each other.
MA Linguistics at SOAS is a modular programme which combines the intensive study of the core areas of formal linguistics - phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics - with a choice of options in different areas of the discipline. The programme is run on a modular basis to suit the needs of the following four categories of students:
- Those with a degree in linguistics who wish to pursue more regional and language-based study;
- Those with a degree in linguistics who wish to pursue more research-oriented topics before proceeding to a research degree;
- Those with little or no previous training in linguistics who wish to acquire a knowledge of the discipline;
- Those with little or no previous training in linguistics who wish to take the degree as a conversion course before; proceeding to a research degree.
The course can be taken full time over one calendar year or part time over two or three years (daytime only.) The taught part of the course consists of core lectures which introduce basic concepts, theory and methodology; and additional seminars which extend the core material into other areas. A 10,000-word dissertation written over the summer offers students the opportunity to develop original research in an area of special interest.
MA Linguistics is for students who would like to acquire general postgraduate-level training in formal linguistics (perhaps as preparation for further training or research).
The MA Linguistics consists of three components: core courses, option courses and dissertation research.
MA Linguistics: This track is for students who would like to acquire general postgraduate-level training in formal linguistics (perhaps as preparation for further training or research). The core courses are as follows:
- Phonology (Masters) (0.5 unit) is intended to introduce students to the general principles and properties which characterise (i) possible sound systems in human languages and (ii) the structures and processes which build words and determine their realisation. Topics covered include: the scope of phonology and morphology; theoretical foundations; the nature of phonological and morphological representations – units, constituents and structure; inflectional and derivational morphology; the phonology-lexical interface.
- Syntax (Masters) (0.5 unit) addresses questions of the nature of grammatical representations, the relationship between morphemes, words, grammatical structures and their corresponding semantic counterparts. Syntactic constructions across different languages are investigated, introducing the fundamental concepts of syntactic theory.
An MA in Linguistics from SOAS equips students with essential skills such as competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Postgraduate students gain linguistic and cultural expertise enabling them to continue in the field of research or to seek professional and management careers.
MA Linguistics graduates leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek, including written and oral communication skills; attention to detail; analytical and problem solving skills; and the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources. A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.