Linguistics and English Language

Why study linguistics and English language at Edinburgh?

We have a reputation for excellence in research and teaching

  • We're ranked 3rd in the UK and 5th in the world for linguistics (QS World University Rankings by subject 2022).

  • We're ranked 3rd in the UK and 8th in the world for English language and literature (QS World University Rankings by subject 2022).

English language offers an unusually large number of course options. As well as gaining a comprehensive grounding in linguistic concepts and ideas, you will look at the development of English from pre-history and the language or early Britain, to modern English and its status as the global language of the 21s century.

At undergraduate level, teaching is mostly conducted in lectures and small group meetings called tutorials during your first two years. Tutorials typically comprise around 10 students and provide you with an opportunity to discuss topics in greater detail. Lectures can comprise up to 200 students. You will typically have around four or five contact hours per week in linguistics and/or English language courses. In years 3 and 4 the emphasis shifts to more specialised, seminar based courses and independent study. 

Our teaching staff are highly research-active, sharing their enthusiasm and knowledge for the subject through a variety of innovative teaching methods.  Our staff regularly deliver public lectures and workshops throughout the year as well as publish articles and books on their research. We also welcome academic staff from institutions across the world during term-time for a variety of events, talks and conferences. This allows our students to connect with staff interested in a range of research areas and get involved in discussions and debates.

We have one of the largest concentration of university language scientists in the UK and with a cohort of over 350 students currently studying linguistics and/or English language you’ll find an intellectual and welcoming community offering you a wide choice of courses and the chance to develop your skills in a supportive environment.

Find out more about the student experience