Home Menu


Linguistics with a specialisation in Phonology MA

The Linguistics MA with specialisation in Phonology is a research-oriented programme designed for students looking for concentrated study in phonology, with a focus on theoretically-driven empirical research. Students will use typological comparison, data collection, experimental methods, or modelling techniques and will receive extensive training in research methods and the scholarly presentation of ideas.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2017

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years

Tuition fees (2017/18)

£9,840 (FT) £4,915 (PT)
£19,010 (FT) £9,560 (PT)

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 3 October 2016
Close: 28 July 2017

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.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

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.

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.

International students

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:

Degree information

Students gain knowledge and understanding of current research in phonology 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 pathway modules (60 credits), three optional modules (30 credits) and a dissertation/report (60 credits).

Pathway modules

  • Students select three from the list below:
  • Intermediate Phonetics and Phonology A
  • Intermediate Phonetics and Phonology B
  • Advanced Phonology Theory A
  • Advanced Phonology Theory B
  • In conjunction with the Programme Co-ordinator, students select two from a list which includes the following:
  • Phonetic Theory
  • Phonology of English
  • Morphology
  • Intermediate Generative Grammar A
  • Current Issues in Syntax
  • Readings in Syntax

Optional modules

A further three modules are selected, either from the list of non-compulsory core modules above or from the list of optional modules below:

  • Advanced Semantic Theory
  • Advanced Semantic Theory B
  • Animal Communication and the Human Language
  • Communication and Human Language
  • Interfaces
  • Issues in Pragmatics
  • Language Acquisition
  • Neurolinguistics
  • Pragmatic Theory
  • Semantic-Pragmatic Development
  • Semantics Research Seminar
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Stuttering
  • The Linguistics of Sign Languages
  • Topics in Semantics and Pragmatics
  • Or 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.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Linguistics with a specialisation in Phonology MA


For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


Although the degree can be an end in itself, this advanced programme is an excellent preparation for independent doctoral research in phonology. Graduates from our specialised Master's programmes in linguistics have a very strong track record of securing funded doctoral studentships and have in recent years gone on to research at UCL, MIT, Cambridge, 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 subject of phonology.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Division of Psychology & Language Sciences undertakes world-leading research and teaching in mind, behaviour and language.

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 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.

Department: Division of Psychology & Language Sciences

Student / staff numbers › 185 staff including 129 postdocs › 635 taught students › 477 research students

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

Staff view

"I have two broad research areas related to the study of language within the cognitive sciences: (1) learning biases and the role of formal universals as constraints that can focus and filter the generalisations made over statistically evident patterns; (2) shared representations and 'reused' data structures that demonstrate isomorphisms among seemingly distinct linguistic components (e.g. sound structure and phrase structure). I also strive to create resources that will be useful for other researchers with different interests. A recent example is a 61-million word open corpus of Brazilian Portuguese developed from film subtitles. My current doctoral students are using tools such as Amazon Mechanical Turk to run large-scale online experiments and thereby collect linguistic data with a more robust empirical base."

Professor Andrew Nevins

Linguistics with a specialisation in Phonology MA

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 designed for students with a background in linguistics, speech and phonetic sciences, or cognitive science who wish to pursue an interest in phonology.

Application deadlines

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 with a specialisation in Phonology at graduate level
  • why you want to study Linguistics with a specialisation in Phonology at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this rigorous programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

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.

This programme is aimed at applicants whose undergraduate studies included a significant number of modules in theoretical linguistics, and/or speech or phonetic or cognitive sciences and you should refer to these in your personal statement.

Contact information

Page last modified on 20 October 2016 at 12:07 by UCL Publications & Marketing Services. Please contact us for content updates.


  • Register interest in your chosen subjects
  • Receive notice of graduate open days, events and more
Register now

Learning and living

At UCL we're proud of our pioneering history, our distinguished present and our exciting future. UCL is a great place to be a student.

  • World-leading reputation
  • Extensive connections that benefit your study and career
  • The best and brightest staff and students from over 150 countries
Find out more