M.A. Linguistics

SOAS, University of London

Application deadline: June 30
Tuition fee:
  • £ 6,600 / Year (EEA)
  • £ 15,320 / Year (Non-EEA)
Start date: September  2015
Duration full-time: 12 months
  • English
Delivery mode: On Campus
Educational variant: Part-time, Full-time

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Modern linguistics is the scientific study of all aspects of the worlds languages from their sound systems and grammatical structure through to the interaction of language with culture, the study of meaning in language, and the use of language in modern technology. Linguists try to establish what types of structures are shared by different languages and the extent to which language may differ from each other.

MA Linguistics at SOAS is a modular programme which combines the intensive study of the core areas of formal linguistics - phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics - with a choice of options in different areas of the discipline. The programme is run on a modular basis to suit the needs of the following four categories of students:

* Those with a degree in linguistics who wish to pursue more regional and language-based study;
* Those with a degree in linguistics who wish to pursue more research-oriented topics before proceeding to a research degree;
* Those with little or no previous training in linguistics who wish to acquire a knowledge of the discipline;
* Those with little or no previous training in linguistics who wish to take the degree as a conversion course before; proceeding to a research degree.

The course can be taken full time over one calendar year or part time over two or three years (daytime only.) The taught part of the course consists of core lectures which introduce basic concepts, theory and methodology; and additional seminars which extend the core material into other areas. A 10,000-word dissertation written over the summer offers students the opportunity to develop original research in an area of special interest.

MA Linguistics is for students who would like to acquire general postgraduate-level training in formal linguistics (perhaps as preparation for further training or research).


This track is for students who would like to acquire general postgraduate-level training in formal linguistics (perhaps as preparation for further training or research). The core courses are:

* Phonology (Masters) and Advanced Phonology (0.5 unit each), are intended to introduce students to the general principles and properties which characterise (i) possible sound systems in human languages and (ii) the structures and processes which build words and determine their realisation. Topics covered include: the scope of phonology and morphology; theoretical foundations; the nature of phonological and morphological representations units, constituents and structure; inflectional and derivational morphology; the phonology-lexical interface.
* Syntax (Masters) (0.5 unit) plus one more 0.5 unit course in syntax or semantics (see below). The syntax courses address questions of the nature of grammatical representations, the relationship between morphemes, words, grammatical structures and their corresponding semantic counterparts. Syntactic constructions across different languages are investigated, introducing the fundamental concepts of syntactic theory within the generative paradigm.
* Topics in Lexical Semantics (Masters) (0.5 unit). The course examines a range of core topics concerning word meaning and how this is related to sentence meaning in contemporary semantics, with the focus both on understanding the analytical issues and on the tools for their description. The course introduces basic concepts in semantics including sense, denotation and reference, and the kinds of meanings associated with predicates. With regard to the meaning of sentences, the topics of thematic roles, event structure, tense and aspect are introduced.
* One extra course in syntax or semantics: Advanced Syntax, Dynamic Syntax, or Issues in Semantics.

In addition to these required courses of 2.5 units, students on the MA Linguistics programme also choose the equivalent of a 0.5 option course and complete a 10,000 word Dissertation in Linguistics. Students also attend the Research Foundations Seminar.

For more information on each course, please click on the links below. * Phonology (Masters) - 15PLIH041 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
* Advanced Phonology - 15PLIH042 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
* Syntax (Masters) - 15PLIH040 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
* Topics in Lexical Semantics (MA) - 15PLIH003 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
* Advanced Syntax (Masters) - 15PLIH008 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
* Dynamic Syntax (Masters) - 15PLIH031 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
* Issues in Semantics (Masters) - 15PLIH012 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2


Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent)

Interview Policy: Candidates with non-standard qualifications usually invited

English language requirements
In order to ensure that SOAS students have a sufficient standard of English to study effectively, we require overseas students to submit evidence, during the application process, of their current level of proficiency.

Score for Unconditional Entry

* IELTS: Overall 7+ with at least 7 in all sub scores
* TOEFL: iBT105+ with at least 25 in all sub scores
* Pearson Test of English - Academic: Score of 75 or above with at least 70 in all sub scores

English Language Requirements

IELTS band: 7
TOEFL iBT® test: 105

IMPORTANT NOTE: Per 6 April 2015 only the English language tests from IELTS and Trinity College London are accepted for Tier 4 Visa applications to the United Kingdom. Other tests (including TOEFL, TOEIC, Pearson, City & Guilds) are no longer accepted for Tier 4 visa applications to the United Kingdom. The university might still accept these tests to admit you to the university, but if you require a Tier 4 visa to enter the UK and begin your degree programme, these tests will not be sufficient to obtain your Visa. Since the Trinity College London language tests must be taken in one of their exam centres in the UK, IELTS is now the only language test accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK that can be taken worldwide.

The IELTS test is most widely accepted by universities and is also accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK- learn more.


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