Postgraduate study

Applied Linguistics MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Applied Linguistics

With a strong emphasis on developing skills and knowledge that can be applied in professional settings, this intensive programme draws on knowledge about language, how it works and how it affects real-life issues.

We were the first in the UK to offer a programme in applied linguistics, so you will benefit from a long-established tradition of teaching in this area, much of which is delivered by world-leading experts.

The programme offers a linguistic perspective on real-world problems of language in use, with relevance to a wide range of professional interests. You will explore how language is used in a variety of social settings, compare language variability with social diversity and examine how knowledge about language as it is actually used can impact on people’s lives.

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:

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

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
MScApplied Linguistics1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2019/20

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, such as 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

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

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 23 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: total 67 (at least 61 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)

  • 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, PTE Academic 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
MScApplied Linguistics1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScApplied Linguistics2 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, 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

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.

Round Application deadline Places awarded
1 24 October 2019 21 December 2019
2 1 February 2020 31 March 2020
3 1 April 2020 31 May 2020

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