Postgraduate study

Phonetics MSc, Diploma, Certificate

Awards: MSc, Diploma, Certificate

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Phonetics

This programme will give you a comprehensive grounding in the theory and practice of phonetics.


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).

What will I learn?

You will learn the core phonetic topics of:

  • speech production
  • speech acoustics
  • speech perception

You will also learn how phonetics relates to many other language-related disciplines.

Key aims and skills

The programme has a strong practical emphasis. It is designed primarily for graduates wishing to continue studying phonetics at PhD level, and for those wishing to use phonetics as a tool for investigation in related fields, including historical linguistics, phonology, developmental linguistics, psychology and speech technology.

The taught MSc in Phonetics will provide you with an intensive grounding in:

  • phonetics and related disciplines
  • its methodologies
  • research questions
  • techniques of research

You will be required to take the core courses. If you do not have a strong background in phonetics and phonology, you may also be required to take an introductory course in Phonology & Phonetics.

You will take options from a wide range of courses offered in Linguistics & English Language and related subject areas, and will write a dissertation project.

Courses and assessment

Courses will include:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • lab practicals

Assessment is by:

  • coursework
  • project and/or exams
  • a dissertation project

At the dissertation stage, you are assigned a supervisor with whom you meet to plan your reading and to discuss your work.

The taught MSc in Phonetics will give you all of the intellectual and practical skills to engage in phonetics research, either for its own sake, or as part of research in another sub-area of linguistics, speech technology or speech pathology.

You will understand:

  • basic anatomy and physiology of speaking and hearing
  • phonetic typology
  • current theories of phonetics and its relationship to phonology and other parts of grammar
  • how to test these theories using empirical data

We offer a strong focus on practical skills. You will learn:

  • how to elicit and collect phonetic data
  • the mechanisms involved in recording sound
  • how to measure and analyse acoustic components of speech
  • how to create and analyse perceptual experiments
  • core elements of scripting and statistical analysis

This course is primarily as a conversion course if you are looking to do serious postgraduate work in:

  • phonetics
  • speech pathology
  • speech processing
  • forensic linguistics
  • related fields

You will also receive training in practical skills, for example statistics and computational techniques, which could be relevant for a variety of different fields.

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, psychology, computer science or a related field.

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:

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:

  • Programme Director, Professor Alice Turk
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5002
  • Contact:
  • PPLS Postgraduate Office
  • Dugald Stewart Building
  • 3 Charles Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AD

We operate a gathered field approach to applications for MSc Phonetics.

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 will not be accepted after the final deadline.

To be considered as having met the deadline, your application must include transcripts and an academic reference.

Applications are held for processing over the following deadlines:

Round Application deadline Places awarded
1 01 December 2021 31 January 2021
2 01 April 2022 31 May 2021

Supporting documents and references

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

  • Programme Director, Professor Alice Turk
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5002
  • Contact:
  • PPLS Postgraduate Office
  • Dugald Stewart Building
  • 3 Charles Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AD