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.
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 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).
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
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
Further details are available at www.ucl.ac.uk/pals/current-students/masters/linguistics-options-pgt.
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.
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 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.
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, 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.
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.
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 or cognitive science, who wish to pursue an interest in theoretical syntax. Applicants will usually have taken at least a one-year course in generative syntax or equivalent.
- 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 Syntax at graduate level
- why you want to study Linguistics with a specialisation in Syntax 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 cognitive science and you should refer to these in your personal statement.