Undergraduate study - 2025 entry
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MA Linguistics and Social Anthropology

UCAS code: QL16

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Linguistics and Social Anthropology

MA (Hons) Linguistics and Social Anthropology is a joint programme where you will examine human culture and communication through time.

Linguistics explores how language works. It describes how we create meaning through:

  • sounds
  • words
  • sentences
  • conversations

It also studies:

  • the uses of language in everyday life
  • ways in which language varies across society and evolves over time
  • how language is mastered by children

Social anthropology

Social anthropology is the study of human behaviour in living societies.

Understanding a living society and its members involves participant observation. This means spending many months, or even years, living with and sharing the experiences of the people being studied.

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 different subsystems of language

In this year, you will also study:

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

Social anthropology

In Social Anthropology 1A and 1B, you will learn introductory themes and structures in the field of anthropology.

Option courses

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

Year 2


You will take two semester-long courses. These courses look at:

  • linguistic theory and the structure of English
  • variation in the languages of the world

Social anthropology

In anthropology, you will take:

  • Social Anthropology 2: Key Concepts
  • Ethnography: Theory and Practice

These courses provide a historical overview of anthropology with a thematic approach and also introduce the practice of ethnography.

Option courses

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

Year 3

You will choose from a range of advanced linguistics and social anthropology courses.


In linguistics, option courses may include:

  • Child Bilingualism
  • Origins and Evolution of Language
  • Speech Production and Perception
  • Pragmatics

Social anthropology

In social anthropology, option courses may include:

  • Anthropological Theory
  • Kinship
  • Culture and Power
  • Ritual and Religion

Year 4

You will continue to choose advanced courses according to your interests.

You will also take a specialised research training course before starting your honours dissertation (in either linguistics or social anthropology).

The dissertation 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. Other teaching will take place in the linguistics computer labs and other facilities in the University's Central Area.

You may also use the School's:

  • recording studios
  • perception experiment laboratory
  • eye tracking laboratory

You will also have access to the University's libraries and computer facilities.

Take a virtual tour

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

Take a virtual tour of the Central Area

Linguistics 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

There are opportunities to study abroad in Year 3 through international exchange programmes.

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 complete continuous assessment through tests and assignments.

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

  • coursework
  • exams
  • projects
  • your dissertation


Linguistics graduates work in a range of fields, such as:

  • journalism
  • international relations
  • translation
  • marketing
  • social research

Recent graduates have taken up funded places on MSc programmes or 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
  • teaching English as a foreign language

Social anthropology

Previous graduates have chosen careers in:

  • social development
  • healthcare
  • journalism
  • film

Others have gained employment with international organisations, such as Oxfam.

Many choose to continue with postgraduate study in anthropology, leading to careers as anthropological researchers for:

  • universities
  • public bodies, such as the NHS
  • private sector companies

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: AAB.
  • IB: 36 points with 665 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 Linguistics and Social Anthropology

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