Postgraduate menu


MA ( 1 year Full-time / 2 years Part-time )


This programme is designed to offer comprehensive training in the core subject areas of linguistics, while also offering you the flexibility to focus on formal linguistics, sociolinguistics or the exciting and emerging links between them. Classes are taught by world-leading researchers, providing you with an advanced understanding of methods and concepts across linguistics, from cutting-edge theory to practical research work.

This degree also offers you the opportunity to gain practical experience in both conducting and applying linguistics research. In addition to your dissertation, you will have the option to work as a Research Assistant on one of the department's ongoing research projects or to pursue an industry partnership with one of our private or public sector partners.

You will work with an academic advisor to tailor a programme of study that corresponds to your experience and research interests. We strongly encourage cross-disciplinary interaction and welcome students with diverse interests. You can aim for a cross-disciplinary programme or choose to specialise in formal linguistics or in sociolinguistics.

This programme will:

  • Allow you to develop the theoretical knowledge and analytical skills relevant to careers in linguistics, including PhD study
  • Give you the opportunity to do practical research based work experience in linguistics
  • Provide you with a broad experience of linguistic and sociolinguistic data, using London's cultural and linguistic environment as a resource

Why study your MA in Linguistics at Queen Mary?

Our Linguistics department was rated top in the last two Research Assessment Exercises (RAEs). This means that our students are taught by world leading experts.

In the Complete University Guide 2014, Linguistics at Queen Mary was ranked 6th in the UK. We consistently rank highly in the National Student Survey.

Masters programmes in the School of Languages, Linguistics and Film provide students with a grounding in research methods and skills, an introduction to the critical theories and approaches relevant to the area of study, and a choice of more specialised options. They offer excellent preparation if you wish to continue on to doctoral work.

  • Our academics publish influential papers and books, participate in conferences, work in the media and inform government policy - they are also friendly and approachable.
  • Our location in the heart of the East End, offers an incredibly rich and diverse cultural environment for linguistics research. Over 110 languages are spoken in the local borough.
  • We organise a range of stimulating events and talks. Recently, Noam Chomsky spoke at the College, and no wonder - he taught several members of our team! We’ve also had major figures such as Peter Trudgil, John Rickford, Naomi Nagy, Alex Marantz, Edwin Williams, LiinaPylkkanen.
  • The MA is linked to our accredited Economics and Social Research Council (ESRC) Doctoral Training Centre, run in partnership with Goldsmiths, University of London.


You will have access to postgraduate only facilities which include the Lock-keeper's Cottage Graduate Centre dedicated solely to the use of graduate students, with the use of a common room and interdisciplinary training workshops. The Learning Resource centre has 200 networked PCs and is open to students round the clock with dedicated workstations for postgraduate students.

You can also make use of Queen Mary's comprehensive libraries, including the Postgraduate Reading Room, and The British Library can also be accessed as a research resource.

Students have free access to the superb collections of the University of London Library at Senate House. The many other specialist libraries of the institution, such as the libraries of the British Film Institute, the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes or the social sciences library at the LSE, provide additional breadth. The incomparable resources of the British Library are close at hand, while London's cultural resources facilitate research in our specialist fields.

You will also have access to phonetics and experimental linguistics laboratories.

Graduate students attend interdisciplinary training workshops offered throughout the year by members of the School, including specialist linguistics training as well as general topics such as how to write journal articles, research ethics and knowledge transfer.


The MA in Linguistics is currently available for one year full-time study, or two years part time study.

You must undertake eight taught modules as well as a 12,000-word dissertation.

In addition to your dissertation, you can take our unique Research Practicum option, in which you undertake a research partnership either with a member of staff on an ongoing research project or with one of our private or public sector partners.

Core Modules

  • Concepts and consequences in grammatical theory
  • Sociolinguistic theory
  • Trends in linguistic theory
  • Dissertation proseminar
  • Dissertation

Optional modules

  • Bilingualism
  • Sex, Gender and Language
  • Sociophonetics
  • Language Policy and Language Planning
  • Advanced Syntactic Theory
  • Extensional Semantics
  • From Morpheme to Meaning
  • Formal Approaches to Variation

Research Practicum

The Research Practicum module is a unique opportunity for students on the MA to work in partnership with either a member of academic staff on one of their current projects or to work with an outside organisation which the department has an established partnership arrangement. In 2011-12, students did very successful Research Practicum projects in partnership with the British Library and the British Museum, and we also have arrangements for an MA thesis project linked to the BBC Pronunciation Unit. We aim to offer a range of such academic and non-academic partnership options to students each year, as these increase employability and help students apply their knowledge in real world contexts.

For more information

Visit the website the Department of Linguistics website.

Entry requirements

Upper second class honours (or overseas equivalent) in an undergraduate degree with a significant linguistics component is required. Proof of advanced proficiency in academic English will be required for applicants where English is not a native language (IELTS 7.0, with 7.0 in writing).

International applicants

Students from outside of the UK help form a global community here at Queen Mary. For detailed country specific entry requirements please visit the International section of our website. If your first language is not English, you must provide evidence of your English language proficiency. You can find details on our English language entry requirements pages.

If you do not meet language or scholarly requirements it might be possible for you to undertake foundation or pre-sessional programmes that will prepare you for the masters programme. For more information, please contact the Admissions Office.

If you are unable to find the information you require, please contact the Admissions Office for assistance.

Learning and teaching

As a student at Queen Mary, you will play an active part in your acquisition of skills and knowledge. Teaching is by a mixture of formal lectures and small group seminars. The seminars are designed to generate informed discussion around set topics, and may involve student presentations, group exercise and role-play as well as open discussion. We take pride in the close and friendly working relationship we have with our students. You are assigned an Academic Adviser who will guide you in both academic and pastoral matters throughout your time at Queen Mary.

Independent Study

For every hour spent in formal classes you will be expected to complete further hours of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; producing written work; completing projects; and revising for examinations.

The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study sessions you attend, along with your reading lists and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability.

Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.


A wide variety of assessment techniques will be used, tailored to the learning outcomes of the different modules. These will include poster presentations, technical exercises, critiques of theoretical and methodological proposals in the literature, research reports and essays and extended written analyses of data.


In addition to coursework, you will also be assessed on a 10,000–12,000-word dissertation. The dissertation is normally an original research project on a linguistic topic that has been agreed with an academic advisor from the department. The dissertation is written over the summer and submitted by mid-September.


Tuition fees for Home and EU students

2017 entry
Full time £8,200

Tuition fees for International students

2017 entry
Full time £14,850


There are a number of sources of funding available for Masters students.

These include a significant package of competitive Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas, as well as external sources of funding.

Queen Mary bursaries and scholarships

We offer a range of bursaries and scholarships for Masters students including competitive scholarships, bursaries and awards, some of which are for applicants studying specific subjects.

Find out more about QMUL bursaries and scholarships.

Alternative sources of funding

Home/EU students can apply for a range of other funding, such as Professional and Career Development Loans, and Employer Sponsorship, depending on their circumstances and the specific programme of study.

Overseas students may be eligible to apply for a range of external scholarships and we also provide information about relevant funding providers in your home country on our country web pages.

Download our Postgraduate Funding Guide [PDF] for detailed information about postgraduate funding options for Home/EU students.

Read more about alternative sources of funding for Home/EU students and for Overseas students.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5079

Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary

We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.

Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8717

Graduate Employment



Return to top