Postgraduate study

English Language MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: English Language

This intensive programme will enable you to delve deeper into the structure of the English language’s:

  • phonology
  • syntax and semantics
  • modern and historical development

Joining an internationally-acclaimed centre for research and teaching in the linguistic study of English, you will explore in depth a global language with a rich history and great social and geographical variation.

You will be taught by world-leading experts who will give you a detailed awareness of the ways in which English is used in Britain and around the world.

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

The programme focuses initially on the structure of English, and also offers option courses on aspects of the history of English, on current varieties of the language and on a good number of approaches to the study of the language and English linguistics.

Compulsory courses

  • Introduction to Language Research OR Statistics and Experimental Design
  • Introduction to Phonology OR Introduction to Phonology and Phonetics
  • Introduction to Syntax

Optional courses

Select 40 credits from an English Language shortlist*, such as:

  • Reading Old English
  • Scots and Scottish English
  • Dialects of English in Britain and Ireland
  • Language Variation and Change
  • Historical Linguistics
  • Early Germanic Dialects
  • Global Englishes
  • Cognitive Linguistics
  • Middle English
  • Historical Phonology
  • Stylistics

*Can vary slightly from year to year

Select a further 50 credits from Level 11 courses in the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences.

You may be able to take a course from other degree programmes in the School of Philosophy, Psychology & Language Sciences, and in some cases, from elsewhere in the University.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MSc1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2021/22

You will understand how contemporary research approaches the linguistic study of English.

You will gain and enhance the following professional/subject-specific/practical skills:

  • analytical skills (ability to construct, re-construct, critically evaluate an argument)
  • organisational skills (ability to complete a project, setting up research goals, identifying necessary means and ways to completion)
  • critical thinking (ability to select and evaluate the relevant data and theories)
  • writing (how to convey purpose, motivation, method, results, and interpretation in written form)

The programme will also prepare students for further study (PhD) in English Language.

This programme has been designed to help you progress your career as an English language specialist.

Many graduates go on to complete a PhD and become academics, or work in archives, or English language related publishing.

The programme is popular with teachers of English language who wish to strengthen their knowledge and skills in the structure and history of English, and return to education.

The analytical skills you develop and the research training you receive will be valuable in a wide range of careers.

These entry requirements are for the 2022/23 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2023/24 academic year will be published on 3 October 2022.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in linguistics or English Language with linguistics.

We will also consider honours degrees in modern or classical languages or in humanities such as English literature or history if your application demonstrates a particular interest in the linguistics of English.

Students from China

This degree is Band B.

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

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • 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
12 September 2022 1 June 2022

We operate a gathered field approach to applications for the MSc English Language.

This means that all complete applications that satisfy our minimum entry requirements will be held until the nearest deadline. The admissions panel will meet to consider all applications received together after that date.

Applications are held for processing over the following deadlines:

Round Application deadline Places awarded
1 25 October 22 December
2 01 December 31 January
3 01 February 31 March
4 01 April 31 May
5 01 June 1st August

To be considered, your application must include transcripts and an academic reference by the set deadline.

Applications will not be accepted after the final deadline.

Supporting documentation and referees

Applications must be complete with all supporting documentation to be passed on for consideration, this includes references.

Please ensure that you inform referees of any deadline you wish to meet.

You must submit one reference with your application.

References

You will be asked to add contact details for your referees. We will email them with information on how to upload their reference directly to your online application.

Alternatively, they can email their comments to:

Personal statement

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.

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