Postgraduate study

Psychology of Language MSc

Awards: MSc

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Psychology of Language

This programme provides an opportunity for intensive advanced training in psychology of language. The teaching and supervision is conducted by internationally recognised researchers from our Language, Cognition & Communication Research Group.

The group’s expertise covers the broad scope of psycholinguistics, as well as connections to other areas of social and cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience, and members use a wide range of experimental, observational, computational, and neuroscience methods. The group is part of one of the largest collections of natural language researchers in Europe, with links to computer scientists, linguists, and philosophers.

You will take courses on the core mechanisms of human language processing, and conduct an original research dissertation in this area. You will also receive a thorough training in advanced academic and research skills, including a comprehensive coverage of statistical modelling and research design using the R statistical language.

The programme comprises two semesters of taught courses totalling 120 credits (60 ECTS). 20 credits are dedicated to advanced academic and research skills; 40 credits to methodology and statistical modelling. 40 credits cover core topics in the psychology of language. The final 20 credits can be selected from a range of options, to tailor the programme to your interests (if you wish, you may choose options from areas such as cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, linguistics, individual differences, or social psychology).

The capstone of the programme is a 60-credit research dissertation, conducted in close collaboration with an expert supervisor over the spring and summer months.

Core courses

  • Psychological Research Skills - General advanced research methodology
  • Univariate Statistics and Methodology using R - Introduction to R and statistical models
  • Multivariate Statistics and Methodology using R - Advanced statistical modelling
  • Psychology of Language 1 (semester 1) and Psychology of Language 2 (human language processing; semester 2)

Option courses include:

  • Neuroscience of Language (taught by the Language, Cognition, and Communication research group)
  • Contemporary Topics in Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Brain Imaging in Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Specialist Techniques in Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neuropsychology
  • Atypical Development
  • Applied Psychological Testing
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Or any other Edinburgh course open to MSc students, as agreed by the programme director


The dissertation, submitted in August, involves conducting an empirical research project in close collaboration with an expert supervisor, sometimes also working with other graduate students. The research can be based on data collected by the student (e.g., using questionnaires, eye-tracking, EEG) or on existing datasets (e.g., from large cohort studies, biobanks or other projects). You will produce a written report, similar to an academic journal article; indeed, some dissertations are published as journal articles.

On successful completion of this programme, you will gain:

  • Specialist knowledge of the mechanisms of human language processing, from perceptual and articulatory aspects of speech processing to discourse processing and dialogue
  • Training in research methods relevant for psycholinguistic research
  • An understanding of basic and advanced principles of research design and application
  • Competency in applying a range of methods and research tools, including statistical models and programming
  • Skills in research management, including managing data and conducting and disseminating research, in ways consistent with both professional practice and the normal principles of research ethics

The programme is primarily designed for students who aspire to pursue a research-oriented career in psychology of language. However, students interested in careers outside research will obtain a broad range of highly desirable transferable skills, in areas such as research design, data science, critical evaluation and synthesis of scientific literature, and written and oral communication.

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 psychology, linguistics, cognitive science or a related subject.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

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.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 62 in each component.

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, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

(*Revised 17 November 2021 to add accepted PTE Academic qualifications.)

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:

Read our general information on tuition fees and studying costs:

Featured funding

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, and your residency 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

Applications are held for processing over three deadlines:

Round Application deadline Places awarded
1 1 December 31 January
2 1 February 31 March
3 1 April 31 May

We operate a gathered field approach to applications for MSc Psychology of Language. This means that all complete applications that satisfy our minimum entry requirements will be held until the nearest deadline and the admissions panel will meet to consider all applications received together after that date. To be considered as having met the deadline, your application must include transcripts and an academic reference.

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 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. We expect you to have a good understanding of the field you propose to study.

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