UCAS code: Q100
Duration: 4 years
School: Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
Introducing MA Linguistics
Linguistics examines how language works, describing how sounds, words, sentences and conversations combine to express and create meaning. It studies the uses of language in everyday life, the ways in which it varies across society and evolves over time, and how it is mastered by children.
Linguistics has a long history at the University of Edinburgh and our teaching staff have an excellent reputation for research in this area.
Linguistics is a new subject for nearly all undergraduates so you will require no prior knowledge at the beginning of the programme.
You will take two semester-long introductory courses.
Linguistics and English Language 1A offers a brief introduction to the study of language in general and of English in particular.
Linguistics and English Language 1B will help you develop the tools and knowledge needed to investigate in a systematic way the different subsystems of language.
In this year, you will also be introduced to the study of aspects of regional and social variations of language in general, and of the English language in particular, and to the study of semantics and pragmatics.
In addition, you will choose from a wide range of option courses outside your primary subject.
You will take four further semester-long courses.
Three courses are compulsory. These courses look at linguistic theory and the structure of English, the speech sounds of the world's languages and empirical methods, and variation in the languages of the world.
For the fourth course, you will choose between the history of English and the structure and history of the major European languages.
As in Year 1, you will choose from a wide range of option courses outside your primary subject.
Over the two honours years, you take 10 courses (six in Year 3 and four in Year 4), and write a dissertation in Year 4. Courses you can take may include:
- Child Bilingualism
- Origins and Evolution of Language
- Speech Production & Perception
- History of Linguistics
- Phonological Theory
- Language Variation and Change
You will continue to choose advanced courses according to your interests (see Year 3). You will also work on your honours dissertation. The dissertation is a substantial piece of your own work and is regarded by many as the most formative experience of their undergraduate studies.
Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.
To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.
Lectures and seminars will be held within the University's Central Area. Other teaching will take place in the linguistics computer labs and other facilities located within the University's Central Area.
You may also use the School's recording studios, perception experiment laboratory and the eye tracking laboratory, which is run jointly with the School of Informatics. You will have access to the University's libraries and computer facilities.
LingSoc, the Linguistics and English Language Society, is a society for appreciation, study and conversation of language. The society was created by students who wanted to provide a forum for Linguistics and English Language to provide support, friendship and a community. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people and get involved in your subject outside of the classroom.
There are opportunities to study abroad in Year 3 through international exchange programmes.
How will I learn?
Most courses are taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials and some small-group project work. You will also do some independent practical work in Year 2 and more independent study in Year 3 and Year 4.
How will I be assessed?
During Years 1 and 2 you will undergo continuous assessment through tests and assignments. In Years 3 and 4, you will be assessed through coursework, exams, projects and your dissertation.
Find out more about this programme's aims, what you will learn, how you will be assessed and what skills and knowledge you will develop.
To give you an idea of what to expect from this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.
Linguistics graduates work in a wide range of fields such as journalism, international relations, translation, marketing and social research. Recent graduates have taken up funded places on MSc programmes or have found employment in speech technology research.
A linguistics qualification is also a good foundation for careers in professions such as speech and language therapy, adult literacy, or for teaching English as a foreign language.
Standard entry requirement
The standard entry requirement is:
- SQA Highers: AAAB-ABBB by end of S5 or AAAA-AABB/ABBBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
- A Levels: AAB - ABB.
- IB: 39 points with 666 at HL - 34 points with 655 at HL.
Minimum entry requirement
The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:
- SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
- A Levels: ABB.
- IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.
The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:
- SQA: Highers: no specific Higher subjects required. National 5s: English at C.
- A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
- IB: HL: no specific subjects required. SL: English at 5.
We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
International Foundation Programme
If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.
We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.
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.
SQA, GCSE and IB
For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:
- SQA National 5 at C
- SQA Standard Grade at 3
- SQA Intermediate 1 at A
- SQA Intermediate 2 at C
- GCSE/IGSCE at C or 4
- Level 2 Certificate Grade C
- IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)
English language tests
We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified*:
- IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component.
- TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition) 92 or above with 20 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
- Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component.
- Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components.
We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.
English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the degree 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.
*(Revised 27 April 2020 to include TOEFL-iBT Special Home Edition.)
This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.
It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.
Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.
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3 degrees in Linguistics
- Linguistics (MA) Q100
- Linguistics and English Language (MA) QQ31
- Linguistics and Social Anthropology (MA) QL16
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