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Linguistics with a specialisation in Semantics - MA

Course Description

The Linguistics MA with specialisation in Semantics is a research-oriented programme in formal semantics. The programme can prepare students for potential PhD research in semantics or overlapping disciplines, such as the syntax-semantics interface, pragmatic theory, psycholinguistics, and philosophy of language.

Degree information

Students will gain knowledge and critical understanding of current research in semantics and of the formal tools it employs, preparing them for independent research. On completion of the programme they will be able to formulate appropriate research questions, evaluate current literature, and develop and test new hypotheses using appropriate formalisms.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of two obligatory core modules (30 credits), two pathway modules (30 credits), four optional modules (60 credits) and a dissertation (60 credits).

Core modules
-Advanced Semantic Theory
-Semantics Research Seminar

Pathway modules (students select two from the list below):
-Current Issues in Syntax
-Formal Methods in Philosophy
-Semantic Pragmatic Development
-Topics in Semantics and Pragmatics

Optional modules - a further four modules are selected, either from the list of non-compulsory core modules above or from the list of optional modules below:
-Advanced Phonological Theory A
-Animal Communication and Human Language
-Intermediate Generative Grammar A
-Issues in Pragmatics
-Language Acquisition
-Readings in Syntax
-Syntax Research Seminar
-The Linguistics of Sign Languages
-Or any statistical training outside the department.

Research project
All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation in linguistics (advanced level) 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 semantics. 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 formal semantics.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Division of Psychology & Language Sciences undertakes world-leading research and teaching in mind, behaviour, and language. UCL Linguistics is a leading department for research in the UK in semantics, with strengths at the interfaces with syntax, pragmatics and philosophy of language. Uniquely, our staff includes three experimental linguists with interests in semantics.

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

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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