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Linguistics - MA

Course Description

The Linguistics MA aims to give students a thorough grounding in modern theoretical linguistics. Students gain a basic understanding of the three core areas of linguistics: phonetics and phonology; syntax; and semantics and pragmatics, and are then able to tailor the programme to meet their personal linguistic interests.

Degree information

Students gain knowledge and understanding of current research in theoretical linguistics and are prepared for independent research. On completion of the programme, they will be able to formulate appropriate research questions, find and evaluate relevant literature, develop and test new hypotheses, and produce cogent, structured and professionally presented reports.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of four core modules (105 credits), one optional module (15 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).

Core modules
-Semantics and Pragmatics
-Phonetics and Phonology
-Foundations of Linguistics

Optional modules - students choose one of the following:
-Advanced Phonological Theory
-Advanced Semantic Theory
-Current Issues in Syntax
-Intermediate Generative Grammar
-Issues in Pragmatics
-Language Acquisition
-Linguistics of Sign Language
-Phonology of English
-Readings in Syntax
-Semantic-Pragmatic Development

All MA students undertake an independent research project in any area of linguistics which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words.

Teaching and learning
The teaching and assessment of this programme is strongly research-orientated. It is delivered through a combination of lectures, small-group teaching and a virtual learning environment. Some modules also involve workshops or practical classes. Assessment is through take-home and unseen examination, essays, presentations, assignments and the dissertation.


Many linguistics graduates from UCL carry on studying linguistics at MPhil/PhD level with a view to pursuing an academic career. Others go on to teach languages, especially English (as a first or foreign language) or embark on a range of other careers, from law, media, computing and speech and language therapy to all aspects of commerce and industry.

Top career destinations for this degree:
-Lecturer, University of Saudi Arabia
-Software Developer, OpenBet Ltd
-Investigations Specialist, Amazon
-Translator, Hunan University
-PhD in Linguistics, University of Cambridge

Linguistics MA students acquire a wide range of transferable skills, which opens up opportunities in many different sectors include language teaching, translating and interpreting, marketing, communication, journalism, management, and law.

Graduates who achieve good results are well-placed to go on to a research degree in Linguistics at top universities, often with a view to pursuing an academic career.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Division of Psychology & Language Sciences undertakes world-leading research and teaching in linguistics, language, mind, and behaviour. More specifically, UCL Linguistics is one of the leading departments for research in theoretical linguistics in the UK and its staff includes world leaders in theoretical syntax, semantics, pragmatics, phonology, and experimental linguistics.

Our work attracts staff and students from around the world. Together they create an outstanding and vibrant environment, taking advantage of cutting-edge resources such as a behavioural neuroscience laboratory, a centre for brain imaging, and extensive laboratories for research in speech and language, perception, and cognition.

Our world-class research is characterised by a tight integration of theoretical and experimental work spanning the full range of the linguistic enterprise and forms the bedrock of the department’s eminent reputation, which is also reflected in other markers of excellence, such as its editorial involvement with top journals in the field.

Visit the Linguistics - MA page on the University College London website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Bingying Cao

"UCL provides students with more advanced and up-to-date knowledge and information of the research fields. The online learning environment is a great success. The group projects is another aspect that makes learning at UCL more enjoyable and worthwhile."

(Student Profile)

Alina Konradt

"UCL has an excellent academic reputation, and if you aim to devote your life to the language research, there is really no better place to start this journey than here.The support I received from my supervisor was amazing. It really made me feel like I'm part of the future research community. In addition, I was very impressed with some methods of teaching, for example, the "flipped classroom" approach, where the students watch a lecture prepared by the teacher in advance and come to the session with their own questions prepared. The ability to view the lectures online is an excellent facility, it is an irreplaceable revision tool."


Entry Requirements

Normally a minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard is required.

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