Undergraduate study - 2025 entry
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MA English Language

UCAS code: Q302

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA English Language

The English language has a well-recorded history of more than 1,000 years. Its changes can be traced through:

  • medieval manuscripts
  • text messages
  • recordings of spoken English

Using techniques from modern linguistics, you will analyse the structure of written and spoken English and explore how the language has changed in the course of its history.

As well as the study of change in English, we have a strong tradition of investigating variations of the language, including:

  • Scots
  • distinct dialects of English
  • international variations

You will study modern-day English and Scots and identify the similarities and differences between English and other languages.

Year 1

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 the different subsystems of language

In this year, you will also study

  • regional and social variations of language (especially in the English language)
  • semantics and pragmatics

You will also choose from a range of option courses outside your primary subject.

Year 2

You will take four semester-long courses in Linguistics and English Language. They look at:

  • linguistic theory and the structure of English
  • the speech sounds of the world's languages and empirical methods
  • variation in the languages of the world
  • the history of English

As in Year 1, you will choose from a range of option courses, including those outside your primary subject.

Year 3

Over the two honours years, you will take 10 courses (six in Year 3 and four in Year 4) and write a dissertation in Year 4.

Courses may include:

  • Cognitive Linguistics
  • English Historical Syntax
  • Global Englishes
  • Stylistics
  • Scots and Scottish English
  • Middle English

Year 4

You will continue to choose advanced courses based on your interests (see Year 3).

You will also work on your honours dissertation. The dissertation is a piece of your own work and is an important part of your undergraduate studies.

Programme structure

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.

Programme structure (2024/25)

Our facilities

Lectures and seminars take place in the University's Central Area. You will have access to a range of world-class equipment within the School, as well as the University's libraries and computing facilities.

Take a virtual tour

You can take a closer look at the University’s Central Area and explore our facilities on the Virtual Visit site.

Take a virtual tour of the Central Area

English Language Society

LingSoc, the Linguistics and English Language Society, is a society for the appreciation and study of language.

The society was created by students who wanted to provide a supportive and friendly community for Linguistics and English Language students. It is a great way to meet like-minded people and get involved in your subject outside the classroom.

Study abroad

Opportunities to study abroad are available in this subject area.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

Most courses are taught through a combination of:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • 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 have continuous assessment through tests and assignments.

In Years 3 and 4, you will be assessed through:

  • coursework
  • exams
  • projects
  • your dissertation

Popular career paths for English language graduates include:

  • journalism
  • publishing
  • public relations
  • advertising
  • speech and language therapy (with additional training)

You can also train to teach English in the UK or abroad.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5 or AABB/ABBBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 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.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

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.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

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.

International Foundation Programme

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.


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
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at 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: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 65 with at least 54 in each component. We do not accept PTE Academic Online.*

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

Unless you are a national of a majority English speaking country, your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start of the month in which the degree you are applying to study begins. If you are using an IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE test, it must be no more than two years old on the first of the month in which the degree begins, regardless of your nationality.

English language requirements

(*Revised 24 May 2024 to change PTE Academic requirement from total 62 with at least 54 in each component, and to clarify that we do not accept PTE Academic online.)

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.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA English Language

Additional costs



For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding