UCL English


MA in English Linguistics

Programme Convenor: Dr Rachele de Felice



Explore how the English language works and grow as a researcher on the UCL MA in English Linguistics. Students on our MA programme are taught by experts in the fields of grammar, morphology and semantics, phonetics and phonology, pragmatics and discourse analysis, and corpus linguistics. We focus on developing your research skills, with plenty of opportunities to discuss your work, from class presentations to regular one-to-one tutorials. You'll be based in Bloomsbury, the heart of London, just minutes away from the British Library and the British Museum. 

The 2017/18 programme consists of four main units (Modern English Grammar, English Corpus Linguistics OR English in Use, Research Methodology, and a range of Options), and a dissertation.

Modern English Grammar
Research Methodology
Pathways: English Corpus Linguistics and English in Use
Topics in English Linguistics

Curriculum and Assessment


Students are principally taught through seminars and tutorials. Over the year they write a number of essays, and they do presentations during the spring term. They have access to the Survey of English Usage (see below), and are taught how to make use of its resources for their dissertations.

Forms of assessment for each module are given above.

Further Information

For further information about this course, or about anything else UCL-related, please email the Admissions and Postgraduate Administrator, Dr Clare Stainthorp: c.stainthorp@ucl.ac.uk

Apply Online

A link to the application form, as well as more detailed information about entry requirements, can be found at the bottom of this page: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/degrees/english-linguistics-ma

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the application requirements?
Can I do the course part-time?
What is the difference between the MA in English Linguistics and the MA in Linguistics (MAL)?
What opportunities are there for further research?

Student Testimonials

"I started my MAEL programme in 2014, which was also the starting point of my lifelong ambition. I attended all compulsory and optional courses since they are so interesting and are never a waste of time! As a non-native, I also gained excellent experience in academic research and developed great writing skills (many thanks to all tutors who gave me tutorials). I like the subject, the courses, the staff, the department, the school, the city, so I further my study here for a PhD degree! Legendary!"

Ai Zhong (MAEL 2014-15)

"I did the UCL MA in English Linguistics part-time over two years and lectures on semantics, phonetics and grammar were the highlight of my week! It impacted my work in two ways; I became much more aware of the language choices we make, often inadvertently, and this improved my communication in general. Since graduating, I have also set up a new division of my PR business, Word Savvy, which helps business people to think about their written and spoken communication. I would definitely recommend this MA to others. It’s fascinating and has brought great benefits to my working life."

Kate Warwick, Director, PR Savvy (MAEL 2013-15)

Academic Staff Participating in the Programme

  • Professor Bas Aarts, Professor of English Linguistics and Director of the Survey of English Usage, author of Small Clauses in English (1992), English Syntax and Argumentation (1997/2001/2008), Syntactic Gradience (2007), Exploring Natural Language (2002, with Gerald Nelson and Sean Wallis), Oxford Modern English Grammar (2011), and the Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar (2014); co-editor of The Verb in Contemporary English: Theory and Description (1995, with Charles F. Meyer), of Fuzzy Grammar: a Reader (2004, with David Denison, Evelien Keizer and Gergana Popova), The Handbook of English Linguistics (2006, with April McMahon), and of The Verb Phrase in English: Investigating Recent Language Change with Corpora (2013). Aarts is a Founding Editor of the Cambridge University Press journal English Language and Linguistics.
  • Dr Kathryn Allan, Senior Lecturer in English, author of Metaphor and Metonymy: a Diachronic Approach (2009), editor (with M. Winters and H. Tissari) of Contributions to Historical Cognitive Linguistics: Syntax and Semantics (2010), editor of Current Methods in Historical Semantics (2011, with J. Robinson), and a number of journal publications.
  • Dr Rachele De Felice, Teaching Fellow; author of Data-Driven Pragmatics: a Framework for Speech Acts (forthcoming 2014), and a number of journal articles. MA Convenor, MA English Linguistics.
  • Sean Wallis, Senior Research Fellow, Survey of English Usage, programmer of the ICECUP corpus exploration software, technical supervisor of ICE-GB and DCPSE, co-author, with Gerald Nelson and Bas Aarts, of Exploring Natural Language (2002), co-editor, with Bas Aarts, Geoffrey Leech and Joanne Close, of The Verb Phrase in English: Investigating Recent Language Change with Corpora (2013), and author of many journal articles and book chapters on Corpus Linguistics methodology and statistics.

The Survey of English Usage

The Department of English Language and Literature houses the Survey of English Usage (SEU), an unparalleled resource for research into the grammatical repertoire of mature educated native speakers of English. The SEU houses several corpora (large collections of authentic spoken and written texts). Among them are the British component of the International Corpus of English and the Diachronic Corpus of Present-Day English, both of which can be explored using innovative search software. Many important studies of the grammar, semantics and lexis of present-day English are based on SEU material. Among them are the Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (Quirk et al. 1985), which is recognised internationally as one of the standard reference grammars for English, and the Oxford Modern English Grammar (Aarts 2011).

Students at UCL have a wide range of library resources at their disposal both on campus and online. There are also several outstanding libraries in the near vicinity of UCL, including the British Library and the University of London Library.