The Linguistics MA with a 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.
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 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 (75 credits), three optional modules (45 credits) and a dissertation/report (60 credits).
Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MA in Linguistics with a specialisation in Phonology.
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.
Module information can be found at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/pals/linguistics-plin-modules. Please note that not all modules are taught every year. Students select three from the list below:
- Intermediate Phonology
- Principles of Phonetic Science
- Advanced Phonology Theory A
- Advanced Phonology Theory B
- Phonology of English
- In addition, and in consultation with the programme director, students choose two further modules from a range of options:
- Phonetic Theory
- Studies in Syntax
- Intermediate Generative Grammar: Locality
- Current Issues in Syntax
- Readings in Syntax
- Second Language Speech Learning
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
- Issues in Pragmatics
- Language Acquisition
- Pragmatic Theory
- Semantic-Pragmatic Development
- Semantics Research Seminar
- The Linguistics of Sign Languages
- Topics in Semantics and Pragmatics
Students may be able to take statistical training outside the department, in consultation with the programme director. Please note that the selection of optional modules may vary from year to year.
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 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
What our students and staff say
"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 NevinsLinguistics 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.
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 designed for students with a background in linguistics, speech and phonetic sciences, or cognitive science who wish to pursue an interest in phonology.
- 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 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.
UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.