Programme structure and assessment

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

Compulsory courses

All students on this programme take two courses that build the skills needed to undertake psychological research in this area.

Optional courses

A wide range of additional courses cover topics such as language disorders, language comprehension, language production, and the relation between language behaviour and the brain. You will also have the opportunity to take courses from across the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences and the School of Informatics. 


In addition to the taught courses, you will also need to complete a dissertation on a substantive issue in psycholinguistics, normally involving experimental work or occasionally, computational modelling. The majority of dissertation work takes place over the summer, and is worth 60 out of the 180 credits you need to qualify for an MSc.

Previous dissertation topics have included:

  • Effects of Linguistic Distance on Executive Functions in Bilinguals
  • Investigating sentence processing in children: Is there a priority of semantics over syntax?
  • The Phonology of Inner Speech
  • Sublexical Properties of Semantic Radicals in Relation to Semantic Processing in Chinese Characters: Evidence from Psycholinguistics and Neuropsychological Perspectives
  • Is collaborative reference concrete? Forging semantic entities in dialogue

Sample structure

On average, full-time students will spend about six hours per week in lectures/seminars, about three hours in tutorials and about three hours in practical classes. The number of contact hours and teaching format will depend to some extent on the option courses chosen.

The remainder of your time will be spent on independent study. After classes finish in April, you will spend all your time working independently on coursework and on your dissertation.


This programme comprises of two semesters of taught compulsory and optional courses followed by a dissertation. Most courses are taught by a combination of lectures, seminars/tutorials and practical sessions.

The content of seminars and tutorials varies, but often consists of presentations and discussions based on readings. Practical sessions typically involve learning research skills and are supported by homework tasks and other exercises.

The courses include individual and group work

When you carry out your supervised dissertation research, you will receive guidance from your supervisor through one-to-one meetings, comments on written work and email communication.

The assessments vary and are designed to support different aspects of your learning but will include research reports and proposals, essays, oral and poster presentations, methodological exercises, statistical and qualitative analyses, and an 8,000-10,000 word dissertation.