Linguistics MA

London, Bloomsbury

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. They are then able to tailor the programme to meet their personal linguistic interests.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
Applicants who require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 05 Apr 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Applicants who do not require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 30 Aug 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Entry requirements

Normally a minimum of a second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard is required.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

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.

Who this course is for

The programme is particularly suitable for students whose undergraduate degree included a minority of linguistic course-units, who have studied linguistics of a more traditional type elsewhere, or who have encountered linguistics only indirectly (through studying, e.g., psychology, philosophy, English language, or foreign language teaching). The programme is also suitable for good graduates who have an interest in linguistics but have little or no prior experience with formal linguistics study.

Students with an extensive background in theoretical linguistics (e.g., those who completed a full undergraduate degree in pure Linguistics) might be better suited in one of our specialisation MA Linguistics programmes or our MPhil Linguistics programme.

What this course will give you

The UCL Division of Psychology and 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.

You can find further information at

The foundation of your career

MA Linguistics graduate with the necessary skills to carry out research in linguistics. 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. 

It additionally provides transferable skills that prepare students for a wide range of careers within and outside of academia, including analytical thinking, problem solving, project management, and writing and oral presentation skills. These skills open up opportunities in many different sectors, including language teaching, translating and interpreting, speech, technology, marketing, communication, journalism, management, and law.


Many linguistics graduates from UCL carry on studying linguistics at MPhil/PhD level with a view to pursuing an academic career. Our students have a good success rate at acquiring places to study for a PhD in Linguistics at top programmes around the world.  Other students have gone on to teach languages, especially English (as a first or foreign language), or have embarked on a range of other careers in industry, including law, media, technology, speech and language therapy, and marketing.


Students have ample opportunity to interact with world-renowned researchers in linguistics and other areas within the Division of Psychology and Langauge Sciences; they will serve as your teachers, mentors, and research supervisors throughout the programme. The department also runs a number of research seminars and invited lectures throughout they year, allowing students to engage with prominent researchers from other universities. Finally, students have the opportunity to engage with UCL’s Career support service and to connect to UCL’s extensive alumni network.

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 a research dissertation.

Each 15-credit taught module has approximately 30 hours of contact time with staff (including lectures, seminars, and tutorials). Students are expected to supplement these contact hours with additional time spent reading, studying, and preparing for assessments, for a total of 150 hours of work per 15-credit module. Additional contact time will be offered during the year in the form of staff office hours, optional workshops, and research seminars.


The Linguistics MA programme consists of four compulsory core modules, a selection of two further option modules out of a group of three choices, two elective modules, and the dissertation. In the first term, you will take three compulsory modules focused on the core areas of linguistics: phonetics/phonology, syntax, and semantics/pragmatics. The fourth compulsory module (Foundations of Linguistics) focuses on the intellectual foundations of linguistics and the connection between linguistics and other related fields, and it runs over term 1 and term 2. In the second term, you will take two further core option modules from a selection of three choices: phonology, syntax, or semantics/pragmatics. In addition, you will take two elective modules from a range of choices (visit for current modules which may change from year to year). These can be taken in term 1 or term 2, but they are mostly taken in term 2. You will begin working on the dissertation in May and continue to work on it over the summer months. The due date for the dissertation is in late August or early September.

Part-time students take the same modules as full-time students but spread over two years. They take the dissertation in Year 2 of their studies.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MA in Linguistics.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £15,100 £7,550
Tuition fees (2024/25) £28,100 £14,050

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website:

Additional costs

This programme has no additional costs.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

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

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.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

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.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.