Linguistics and English Language

Why study linguistics and English language at Edinburgh?

We have a reputation for excellence in research and teaching

Did you know?


  • We're ranked 3rd in the UK and 5th in the world for linguistics (QS World University Rankings by subject 2022).
  • 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 achieve high student satisfaction, with 100 per cent of students finding the MA Linguistics programme intellectually stimulating (National Student Survey 2017).
  • We have one of the largest concentration of university language scientists in the UK.

English Language

  • We're ranked 3rd in the UK and 8th in the world for English language and literature (QS World University Rankings by subject 2022).
  • 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 offer an unusually wide range of courses in English language, so you can choose options that fit your particular interests and skills.
  • Students can also study the Scots language, which has its own rich linguistic and literary tradition.

Ten reasons to study Linguistics and English Language at Edinburgh

1. Flexible programmes

Edinburgh offers flexibility. Along with your core subject courses, you have the choice of option courses in first and second year, allowing you to develop your interests widely. In the third year and fourth years choose from a range of optional courses in areas that interest you. For linguistics students choices include; phonological theory, child bilingualism and historical linguistics. For English language students choices include; lexical semantics, middle English and figurative language.

2. A four-year degree structure:

The benefits of a four-year degree structure allows you to experience new subjects without committing long-term. We know that it can be difficult to choose a subject that will be right for you, and the four year structure takes the pressure off; giving you time to try out a programme and change subject (which approximately 30% of students do) should you wish to.

It helps you to gain good results, as you can discover which subjects are best suited to you and tailor your degree accordingly.

It gives you more time to grow intellectually and academically providing an extra year to develop your confidence and perfect your essay writing style. The majority of our students gain better marks in their 4th year, than they did in their third year.

It provides you with a breadth of academic experience, which is both enriching and attractive to employers.

3. Support at every step of your programme

You will have a Personal Tutor assigned to you, who is a member of the teaching staff and will provide you with academic guidance and support.

Your tutor will work with you to help you:

  • review your academic progress;
  • reflect on how your learning can help you pursue your future development;
  • engage with a community of learners; and
  • address any concerns or problems that might affect your studies.

4. Enhance your employability

Your degree at Edinburgh offers you the opportunity to take option courses in subjects that complement your degree and allow you to develop skills that enhance your employability.

The School has a dedicated careers consultant who runs a series of careers seminars throughout the year inviting graduates to share their experiences of life and work post-university.

5. Vibrant student community

Benefit from being part of a large and vibrant undergraduate and graduate community.  We have over 60 countries represented, with students coming from all corners of the globe to study at the School.

6. Experience what the world has to offer

The University of Edinburgh has more than 200 student exchange arrangements with Universities in Europe, Asia, North America, and South America.

7. You get to study in the beautiful city of Edinburgh

The University has a 400-year heritage and is consistently rated as one of the world's best. Located in the centre of Scotland's capital city, one of the cultural capitals of Europe, Linguistics and English Language at Edinburgh can offer a student experience that few others can rival.

8. Easy access to the UK and beyond

Edinburgh is well connected with very accessible travel within the UK and beyond. Edinburgh is just a 4.5 hour train journey from London, and just over an hour on the plane. Getting out to Edinburgh airport from the city centre is a hassle-free 30 minute bus or tram ride. Edinburgh airport has direct flights across most of Europe and to many international destinations.

9. Rich and rewarding experience

There are lots of societies, clubs and groups to get involved with at one of the UK’s largest universities and linguistics and English language have some exciting opportunities for students who want to immerse themselves in their subject, meet like-minded people and enhance their development.

10. Part of a supportive school environment

As a linguistics and/or English language student, you will be part of the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences which is locally known as PPLS. Being part of the School opens up your network and provides a supportive environment in which to thrive as a student. The School offers a range of welcome events for new students and many of our students consider other PPLS courses when choosing ‘option courses’ as they can complement language sciences in many ways.