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Department of Linguistics

MA Linguistics

Duration: One calendar year (full-time), two or three years (part-time, daytime only)

Overview

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Minimum Entry Requirements: Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent)

Interview Policy: Candidates with ‘non-standard’ qualifications usually invited

Start of programme: September intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time

Modern linguistics is the scientific study of all aspects of the world’s 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).

For more information about the MA Linguistics, please download the 2012/13 Linguistics MA Handbook.

Structure

The MA Linguistics consists of three components: core courses, option courses and dissertation research.

MA Linguistics

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 as follows:

  • Phonology (Masters) (0.5 unit) is 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) addresses 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.

 

In addition to these required courses of 1 unit in Term 1, students on the MA Linguistics programme also choose optional courses to the value of 2 units and complete a 10,000 word Dissertation in Linguistics. At least one 0.5 unit optional course should be chosen from the list of Core Optional Courses. Students also attend the Research Foundations Seminar.

Core Compulsory Courses
Core Optional Course

Students must choose one 0.5 unit course from the following list.

Dissertation
Optional Course

Any courses to the value of 1.5 units from the list of running Linguistics PG Courses; or any 0.5 unit course from the list of running Linguistics PG Courses and a 1 unit language course taken in other departments.

Programme Specification

Teaching & Learning

Destinations

An MA in Linguistics from SOAS equips students with essential skills such as competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Postgraduate students gain linguistic and cultural expertise enabling them to continue in the field of research or to seek professional and management careers.

MA Linguistics graduates leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek, including written and oral communication skills; attention to detail; analytical and problem solving skills; and the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources.  A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.

A Student's Perspective

It is a quirky university making it stand out from all the rest, being extremely culturally diverse and welcoming towards students from all backgrounds.

Emma Young