In what way does society influence the way that we use language? And conversely, how far does the way we use language influence society? Can language use impact the class system? Sexism? Mental health?
On our MA Sociolinguistics, you address questions like these through exploration of the stylistic, cognitive and functional aspects of language variation and change. We familiarise you with the foundations of contemporary sociolinguistics, including: -Language variation and change -Ethnography of speaking -Multilingualism -Discourse
We additionally offer modules in some of the most prominent sub-disciplines in linguistics such as variation theory, socio-pragmatics, conversation analysis, language contact, language and gender, and language rights.
You also gain first-hand experience of interview, questionnaire and observation data and learn quantitative and qualitative methodologies for coding and analysing sociolinguistic interview and questionnaire data.
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’ (REF 2014), 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  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 sociolinguistics, Peter Patrick, Rebecca Clift, Enam Al Wer and Vineeta Chand all work on different aspects of how language varies, and investigate which factors cause such variation. Peter is also involved in language rights, and offers expert opinions in asylum cases where language is used to determine origin.
-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
Our course can lead to careers in areas such as academic research, publishing, journalism, administration, public service and teaching. You develop key employability skills including research design, data analysis, thinking analytically, report writing and public speaking.
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.
-Variationist Sociolinguistic Theory -Sociolinguistic Methods 1: Data Collection -Sociolinguistic Methods: Data Coding and Analysis -MA Dissertation -Assignment Writing and Dissertation Preparation -Sociocultural Linguistics -Advanced Phonology (optional) -First Language Acquisition (optional) -Phonological Development (optional) -Second Language Acquisition and Linguistics Theory (optional) -American Languages (optional) -Varieties of English (optional) -Sentence Processing (optional) -Language Rights (optional) -Semantics (optional) -Language Learning (optional) -English Syntax 1 (optional) -Individual Differences in L2 Learning (optional) -Syntactic Theory I (optional) -Experimental Design and Analysis (optional) -Research Methods I (optional) -English Syntax 2 (optional) -Syntactic Theory II (optional) -The Role of Age in Bilingual Development (optional) -Variation in English II (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)
“Although I decided to study within the Department of Language and Linguistics at Essex to stay close to home, once I started I realised what a great decision I had made. I decided to study linguistics-based courses as I have always had a fascination with accents and dialects.
I really liked the campus layout of the University which helped contribute to the feeling of it being a close-knit community. Also the department was quite small and this again helped with my integration. The departmental staff were very friendly and this gave me more confidence when studying as I knew I could contact them for support any time.
My favourite place at the University was the lake. The grounds are really beautiful and it was really soothing to sit and relax with my friends. One of my best memories of the University was a barbeque event that I helped host, and amongst my group of friends there were seven different nationalities represented. I was very proud at this range of diversity and have the University to thank for bringing us all together.
My ambition once I leave is to become a lecturer and researcher, and I feel that my experiences at Essex have fully prepared me for my intended occupation. I would recommend the University to anyone and especially the Department of Language and Linguistics as their staff were exceptional.”
Ariel Vazquez Carranza
"After doing my first degree in Mexico, I came to Essex for my Masters because the modules offered as part of my course were very appealing and I knew staff in the Department of Language and Linguistics had worldwide recognition for their work.
During my Masters at Essex, I learnt about the methodology of conversation analysis and became hooked on this and its findings on the organisation of talk, so decided to pursue a PhD and investigate Spanish conversation with this methodology, as this has not been done before. I received a grant, the Overseas Research Award’s Scheme, as well as a University of Essex postgraduate scholarship. Without this funding I would not have been able to do my PhD.
Essex was the perfect university for my PhD studies since my supervisor is an outstanding conversation analyst, as well as very helpful and supportive of my work. What I enjoy most about being here is the opportunity to learn new transferable skills and improve my academic skills, as this will help me in my future career. I find there is a good atmosphere for study at the Colchester Campus, particularly because of the beautiful park in which the University is located.
After graduating, I would like to find a job in academia and continue my research in conversation analysis in Mexican Spanish, as well as promote the importance of doing a postgraduate degree."
ESRC Doctoral Training Centre scholarships
For 2011-12, our ESRC Doctoral Training Centre will offer 16-fully funded ESRC studentships, most worth £18,000 per year, across over 20 doctoral pathways. The University of Essex has become one of only 21 Doctoral Training Centres accredited by the UK Economic and Social Research Council following a highly competitive selection process. Our Doctoral Training Centre will fund 16 doctoral students each year across many different social science disciplines. It also offers excellent training opportunities and a highly stimulating research environment to hundreds of postgraduate students, researchers, professionals, practitioners and users.For more information, please visit our website: http://www.essex.ac.uk/studentfinance/pg/government_support/esrc.aspx
Value of Scholarship(s)
Up to £18,000
We encourage applications from top students seeking to research over a range of social science areas, including: criminology and socio-legal research; economic and social research; economics and econometrics; environmental governance; finance; health and organisational research; human rights; language and linguistics; management and accounting; politics and international relations; political economy; psychoanalytic studies; sociology and social change.
We will consider applications with an overall grade of 2:2 and above. We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Email [email protected] for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the undergraduate qualification you have already completed or are currently taking.
06 December 2016
Recipient: University of Essex
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