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.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2017/18)
- £9,840 (FT) £4,915 (PT)
- £19,010 (FT) £9,560 (PT)
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.
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.
English language requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.
The English language level for this programme is: Good
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
About this degree
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).
- Semantics and Pragmatics
- Phonetics and Phonology
- Foundations of Linguistics
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
More information about optional modules is available on the department website
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.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
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.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012–2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
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.
Department: Division of Psychology & Language Sciences
Student / staff numbers
› 185 staff
including 129 postdocs
› 635 taught students
› 477 research students
Staff/student numbers information correct as of 1 August 2017.
Research Excellence Framework (REF)
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Division of Psychology & Language Sciences
83% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
What our students and staff say
"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."
Bingying CaoLinguistics MA
"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."
Alina KonradtLinguistics MA
"UCL is one of the leading institutions in the world. In addition, the linguistics department is embedded in a research environment that has unparalleled scope for interdisciplinary collaborations, particularly in experimental and clinical domains. Studying at UCL allows unparalleled access to a wide variety of research related to your own interests. From philosophy to neuroscience, there is always a fantastic range of events and workshops going on which are relevant to your research."
Richard BrehenyLinguistics MA
UCL Psychology & Language Sciences
Application and next steps
Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.
Who can apply?
The programme is particularly suitable for students whose undergraduate degree included a minority of linguistic course units, or who have studied linguistics of a more traditional type elsewhere. It is also suitable for good graduates who have encountered linguistics only indirectly, for instance through psychology, philosophy, or foreign language teaching.
- All applicants
- 28 July 2017
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now
What are we looking for?
When we assess your application we would like to learn:
- why you want to study Linguistics at graduate level
- why you want to study Linguistics at UCL
- what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
- how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this rigorous programme
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.