MSc Linguistics

Gain the skills needed to engage in linguistics research

This programme gives you all of the intellectual and practical skills to engage in linguistics research, either for its own sake, or as part of cross-disciplinary research.

Graduates from our programme will understand how to analyse key data in syntax, semantics, phonology, and morphology, how to theorise such data, and how to exploit empirical methods to test their theories.

We offer a strong focus on theoretical understanding: you will learn how to analyse data in the context of current theoretical understanding of linguistic structure at all levels, drawing on the expertise of the department, which is particularly strong in theory development, and will be well placed to compare and evaluate competing proposals, both from within the same theoretical model, and from competing models.

Video: LEL-What questions are we asking-animation
LEL-What questions are we asking-animation for Online Open Day 2020

Why study Linguistics at Edinburgh?

  • Linguistics & English Language is rated 3rd in the UK by Times Higher Education for the quality and breadth of the research using the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021).
  • We're ranked 3rd in the UK and 5th in the world for linguistics (QS World University Rankings by subject 2022).
  • You will be part of a learning community which includes one of the largest concentration of language scientists in the UK.

Programme structure

This programme comprises two semesters of taught compulsory and optional courses, followed by a dissertation.

You take three 10-credit introductory courses, which provide a grounding in linguistic research skills and core grammatical analysis (students with appropriate background can opt out of these courses). These core courses are supplemented by 90 credits of option courses, which you can choose from a range designed to reflect the breadth of linguistic research conducted at Edinburgh.

Course options

Compulsory courses:

  • Introduction to Phonology
  • Introduction to Language Research
  • Introduction to Syntax

When to apply

We operate a gathered field approach to applications. You may submit your application at any time.

All complete applications that satisfy our minimum entry requirements will be placed on a shortlist and held until the next batch processing deadline. Applications will then be ranked and offers made to the top candidates.

Applications deadlines:

  • 01 December 2021
  • 01 April 2022
  • 01 June 2022

Reflections from our alumni

Recent news

The Centre for Language Evolution in the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences has joined other research units to deliver workshops for primary school children during the Midlothian Science Festival Schools Programme 2021.

Dr Jenny Culbertson and Professor Kenny Smith from the Centre for Language Evolution are running their ‘Language Evolves’ workshops to introduce children to the scientific study of language evolution through fun activities.

Read full article

Recent news

The School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences is proud to announce that a recent report on the Bilingualism Matters Centre has revealed its considerable success in driving debate around the benefits of speaking more than one language through media and public engagement activity.

The Centre has generated over 90 media articles internationally and organised hundreds of engagements events, involving audiences over 11,000 participants, since its establishment in 2014.

Read full article

Dina Kucherbayeva (2015)

My MSc experience and degree at The University of Edinburgh helped me to get a job with a competitive salary at the University in Kazakhstan, get promoted to senior lecturer within three years, and obtain a very prestigious scholarship for my PhD studies in Hong Kong.

Studying at Edinburgh was very challenging, but all the hard work, long days and sleepless nights at the library paid off. I learned that time is priceless. I learned how to organise my time effectively and wisely, prioritise tasks and appreciate free time. I became even more organised and disciplined in handling my schedule and everyday routine activities.

Career paths

The MSc Linguistics has been designed to be a flexible programme. It is suitable for students with a strong background in Linguistics at undergraduate level wanting to take advantage of our wide range of course offerings to deepen their knowledge of the discipline.

It is also suitable for students from other academic backgrounds looking for a conversion course that will provide an intensive foundation in Linguistics. This MSc can therefore lead to a variety of career options depending upon the chosen focus.

Connect with us

If you have any programme-specific enquiries please get in touch with the programme director:

Dr Michael Ramsammy (Programme director)

Feel free to get in touch with our friendly Postgraduate Office with any questions you might have about academic or English language requirements, course information, enquiries about your application and information on arriving at the University.

Postgraduate Office enquiries:


Visit the MSc Linguistics webpage:

MSc Linguistics

How to apply and fees & funding information:

Degree Finder for MSc Linguistics

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