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.
Covid-19 programme updates
Due to COVID-19, there may have been updates to this programme for the 2020 academic year. Where there has been an update, these are indicated with a red alert and a link which will provide further information.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2020/21)
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 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 (60 credits), two core modules chosen from a group of 3 modules (30 credits), two optional modules (30 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).
Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MA in Linguistics.
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 is subject to change.
First five modules are core, then you must choose 2 from the group of 3 modules.
- Semantics and Pragmatics I
- Phonetics and Phonology I
- Foundations of Linguistics
- choose 2:
- Semantics and Pragamatics II
- Interfaces in Syntax
- Phonetics and Phonology II
Students choose two of the following modules. Please note that not all option modules may be taught every year.
- Advanced Phonological Theory
- Advanced Semantic Theory
- Current Issues in Syntax
- Intermediate Generative Grammar
- Issues in Pragmatics
- Language Acquisition
- Linguistics of Sign Language
- Animal Communication and Human Langugage
- Readings in Syntax
- Semantic-Pragmatic Development
- Semantics and Pragmatics
- Chinese Linguistics
- Phonetic Theory
- Pragmatics and Cognition
- Issues in Pragmatics
More information about optional modules is available at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/pals/linguistics-plin-modules.
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.
Linguistics MA students acquire a wide range of transferable skills, which opens up opportunities in many different sectors include language teaching, translating and interpreting, speech, technology, 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.
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
What our students and staff say
"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."
Dr 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.
There is an application processing fee for this programme of £80 for online applications and £105 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.
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
- 11 August 2020
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.
UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.