The Linguistics with a 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.
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 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).
Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MA in Linguistics with a specialisation in Syntax.
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.
Students choose three from the list below:
- Current Issues in Syntax
- Intermediate Generative Grammar: Word Order
- Intermediate Generative Grammar: Locality
- Readings in Syntax
- In addition, and in consultation with the programme director, students choose two further modules from a range of options (NB options offered may change year on year):
- Interfaces in Syntax
- Advanced Semantic Theory
- Advanced Phonological Theory A
- Semantic Theory
- Intermediate Phonetics
- Intermediate Phonology
- Semantic Research Seminar
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 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
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 syntax. Graduates from our specialised Linguistics Master's programmes 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.
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 include 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
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 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
- 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 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.
UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.