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Linguistics with a specialisation in Pragmatics - MA

Course Description

The Linguistics with specialisation in Pragmatics MA is a research-oriented programme designed for students looking for a concentrated course in pragmatics, with particular, but by no means exclusive, focus on the relevance-theoretic approach developed by Dan Sperber, Deirdre Wilson and Robyn Carston.

Degree information

Students gain knowledge and understanding of current research in pragmatics 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 two obligatory core modules (30 credits), four pathway modules (60 credits), two optional modules (30 credits) and a dissertation/report (60 credits).

Core modules - compulsory:
-Pragmatics Research Seminar
-Dissertation in Linguistics - Advanced Level

Pathway modules (students select two from the list below):
-Pragmatic Theory
-Issues in Pragmatics
-Semantic-Pragmatic Development

In conjunction with the Programme Co-ordinator, students select two from a list which includes:
-Topics in Semantics and Pragmatics
-Advanced Semantic Theory
-Semantics Research Seminar

Optional modules - a further three modules are selected from the list of optional modules below:
-Syntax 1
-The Linguistics of Sign Languages
-Phonetic Theory
-Animal Communication and Human Language
-Language Acquisition
-Pragmatic Theory
-Issues in Pragmatics
-Readings in Syntax
-Advanced Phonological Theory
-Intermediate Phonetics and Phonology
-Advanced Semantic Theory
-Intermediate Generative Grammar
-Current Issues in Syntax
-Or any statistical training taken outside the department

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

Teaching and learning
The teaching and assessment of this programme is strongly research-oriented. 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.


Although the degree can be an end in itself, this advanced programme is an excellent preparation for independent doctoral research in pragmatics. Graduates from our specialised Master's programmes in Linguistics have a very strong track record of securing funded doctoral studentships at institutions and have in recent years gone on to research at MIT, Cambridge, UCL, University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona.

This Linguistics MA equips graduates with the necessary skills to carry out research in the specialised subject of pragmatics.

Why study this degree at UCL?

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

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, cognition, and communication.

Our world-class research is characterised by a tight integration of theoretical and experimental work spanning the full width 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 with a specialisation in Pragmatics - MA page on the University College London website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Maxine Corbeil

"During my year at UCL I acquired an extensive knowledge of pragmatics, becoming a better writer, presenter and researcher. This gave me the confidence necessary to continue my journey in pragmatics. Having a UCL degree is a pledge of quality and it has opened many doors in my continuing academic career."


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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