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Course content

Discover how insights from linguistics help to explain how humans learn, understand and use languages. Our MA Psycholinguistics provides you with a thorough grounding in research from the perspective of linguistics on human language processing, the representation of language in the brain, and first and second language acquisition.

You cover the processing and acquisition of sounds, words and sentences, look at different kinds of language disorders, and investigate the relevance of data from human language processing to our understanding of the nature of language. You also learn how to design and conduct experiments, and analyse the results from them.

Our researchers are using experimental techniques to understand how children learn language, how adults process language, and what happens when language ability is impaired by brain disorders. We combine a wide range of methodologies: corpora, infant behavioural studies at the babylab, response time and eye movement measures for adults

You can choose areas of special study including:
-How words are represented and accessed in the mind
-How speakers understand sentences in real time
-Music, language and the brain
-Children’s English

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 maintain excellent student-staff ratios with capped language-specific seminars.

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

Our MA Psycholinguistics can lead to further research in the form of a PhD, or can lead you to a career in areas such as speech therapy, teaching, publishing, journalism, 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.

Several of our MA Psycholinguistics graduates have taken up academic posts at top universities including the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and the Universities of Tübingen, Hamburg, Kobe, and Thessaloniki.

Example structure

-Phonological Development
-Sentence Processing
-Experimental Design and Analysis
-Assignment Writing and Dissertation Preparation
-The Role of Age in Bilingual Development
-MA Dissertation
-Advanced Phonology (optional)
-First Language Acquisition (optional)
-Second Language Acquisition and Linguistics Theory (optional)
-American Languages (optional)
-Varieties of English (optional)
-Language Rights (optional)
-Semantics (optional)
-Language Learning (optional)
-English Syntax 1 (optional)
-Individual Differences in L2 Learning (optional)
-Syntactic Theory I (optional)
-Variationist Sociolinguistic Theory (optional)
-Sociolinguistic Methods 1: Data Collection (optional)
-Research Methods I (optional)
-English Syntax 2 (optional)
-Syntactic Theory II (optional)
-Sociocultural Linguistics (optional)
-Variation in English II (optional)
-Sociolinguistic Methods: Data Coding and Analysis (optional)
-Research Methods II (optional)
-Graduate Research Assignment (optional)
-Language Attrition (optional)
-Language in Context: From Pragmatics to Conversation Analysis (optional)
-Intercultural Communication: communicating across languages and cultures (optional)

Visit the Psycholinguistics - MA page on the University of Essex website for more details!

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