Postgraduate study

Applied Linguistics MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Applied Linguistics

This programme offers a linguistic perspective on real-world problems of language in use, with a strong emphasis on developing skills and knowledge that can be applied in a wide range of professional settings.

What will I study?

You will explore how language is used in a variety of social situations; for example, language use in everyday conversation, or in educational setting.

You will compare language variability - for example, bilingualism, accents, dialects - with social diversity such as gender, class, or ethnicity.

You will examine how knowledge and uses of language can impact people’s lives.

World-leading experts

Edinburgh was the first university in the UK to offer a programme in applied linguistics, so you will benefit from a long-established academic tradition of teaching, delivered by world-leading experts.

Research

In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), Linguistics research at Edinburgh is ranked 1st in Scotland and 2nd in the UK (Times Higher Education, Modern Languages and Linguistics, Rank order by GPA).

Interested in teaching?

Please note, unlike other programmes in applied linguistics, one topic that we do not concentrate on is teaching pedagogy.

If you are primarily interested in the teaching side of applied linguistics, please see:

Interested in English language?

Similarly, this MSc programme focuses on linguistics, not English language. If you are primarily interested in English language, please see:

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

Four compulsory courses provide a solid foundation in the fundamentals of applied linguistics, while the option courses offer you the opportunity to explore your areas of interest.

Compulsory courses

  • Sociolinguistic Research Design
  • Introduction to Discourse Analysis
  • Issues in Applied Linguistics
  • Introduction to Language Research

Optional courses

  • Special Topics in Sociolinguistics
  • Applied Linguistics & Language Teaching
  • Language and Identity in Bilingual Settings
  • Discourse Studies
  • Second Language Acquisition
  • Introduction to Phonology and Phonetics
  • Global Englishes
  • Introduction to Syntax
  • Language Variation and Change
  • Introduction to Phonology
  • Introduction to Semantics and Pragmatics

The programme aims to:

  • develop your relevant critical and analytical skills
  • prepare you for employment in the various spheres of social life where linguistics knowledge and skills play a significant part
  • help you develop interest and skills in working at the interface between linguistics and other disciplines
  • prepare you for further study (PhD) in applied linguistics

At the end of the programme, you will be able to discuss issues of language description and use the knowledge you have acquired to address real-life problems. This might include the teaching of languages and the use of language in specific institutional contexts.

This programme has been designed to help progress your career as a linguist in academia or as a language and communication expert in a variety of industries.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in linguistics. We may also consider students without a linguistics degree if you if you have substantial practical experience as a language professional.

Entry to this programme is extremely competitive.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

For 2021 entry we will accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 23 in each module). We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MSc1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MSc2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • PPLS Postgraduate Office
  • Dugald Stewart Building
  • 3 Charles Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AD
Programme start date Application deadline
13 September 2021 1 April 2021

MSc Applied Linguistics operates 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 held until the deadline, at which point applications will be ranked and offers made to the top candidates.

Applications are processed in batches:

Round Application deadline Places awarded
1 23 October 2020 21 December 2020
2 01 February 2021 31 March 2021
3 01 April 2021 31 May 2021

You must submit one reference with your application.

You will be asked to add contact details for your referee, the application system will email them with information on how to upload their reference directly to your online application. Alternatively, the referee can email their comments to:

In addition to the supporting documents requested on the application form, you should include a personal statement detailing the background of your interest and why you are attracted to the programme.

Applications rejected based on research interests not matching the programme remit can be revised for reapplication but no more than once per admission year.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • PPLS Postgraduate Office
  • Dugald Stewart Building
  • 3 Charles Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AD