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Linguistics with a specialisation in Syntax - MA

Course Description

The Linguistics with specialisation in Syntax MA is a research-oriented programme designed for students looking for a concentrated, advanced course in theoretical syntax, couched broadly within the Principles and Parameters approach to syntax and its offshoot: the Minimalist Program.

Degree information

Students gain knowledge and understanding of current research in theoretical syntax 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 five compulsory pathway modules (75 credits), three optional modules (45 credits) and a dissertation/report (60 credits).

Pathway modules - students choose three from the list below:
-Current Issues in Syntax
-Intermediate Generative Grammar A
-Intermediate Generative Grammar B
-Readings in Syntax

In conjunction with the Programme Co-ordinator, students select two from a list which includes the following.
-Advanced Phonological Theory
-Topics in Semantics and Pragmatics

Optional modules - a further three modules are selected, either from the list of non-obligatory core modules above or from the list of optional modules below:
-Advanced Phonological Theory
-Advanced Semantic Theory
-Linguistics of Sign Languages
-Animal Communication and Human Language
-Issues in Pragmatics
-Language Acquisition
-Phonetic Theory
-Pragmatic Theory
-Semantic Pragmatic Development
-Topics in Semantics and Pragmatics
-Any statistical training 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 syntax. 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 syntax.

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, 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 Syntax - 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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