MA Linguistics

Year of entry: 2023


Degree awarded
Master of Arts (MA)
1 year
Entry requirements

We normally expect students to have a First or Upper Second class honours degree or its overseas equivalent, typically in a subject relevant to Linguistics or in Linguistics.

The application form includes a personal statement section in which you must demonstrate your knowledge of and interest in the subject (between 500 and 1,500 words).

Full entry requirements

Number of places/applicants
There is no limit on the number of places available.
How to apply
Apply online

Course options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning

Course overview

  • Gain a thorough grounding in the full breadth and depth of linguistic theory.
  • Access innovative resources, including psycholinguistics and phonetics laboratories with facilities for signal analysis, speech synthesis, laryngography and electropalatography.
  • Build the necessary intellectual skills to plan and carry out independent research.

Open days

Find out what it's like to study at Manchester by visiting us on one of our open days .


For entry in the academic year beginning September 2023, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • MA (full-time)
    UK students (per annum): £11,000
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £23,500
  • MA (part-time)
    UK students (per annum): £5,500
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £11,750
  • PGDip (full-time)
    UK students (per annum): £7,333
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £15,666

Further information for EU students can be found on our dedicated EU page.

The fees quoted above will be fully inclusive for the course tuition, administration and computational costs during your studies.

All fees for entry will be subject to yearly review and incremental rises per annum are also likely over the duration of courses lasting more than a year for UK/EU students (fees are typically fixed for International students, for the course duration at the year of entry). For general fees information please visit: postgraduate fees . Always contact the department if you are unsure which fee applies to your qualification award and method of attendance.

Self-funded international applicants for this course will be required to pay a deposit of £1000 towards their tuition fees before a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) is issued. This deposit will only be refunded if immigration permission is refused. We will notify you about how and when to make this payment.

Policy on additional costs

All students should normally be able to complete their programme of study without incurring additional study costs over and above the tuition fee for that programme. Any unavoidable additional compulsory costs totalling more than 1% of the annual home undergraduate fee per annum, regardless of whether the programme in question is undergraduate or postgraduate taught, will be made clear to you at the point of application. Further information can be found in the University's Policy on additional costs incurred by students on undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes (PDF document, 91KB).


Each year the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures offer a number of School awards and Subject-specific bursaries (the values of which are usually set at Home/EU fees level), open to both Home/EU and international students. The deadline for these is early February each year. Details of all funding opportunities, including deadlines, eligibility and how to apply, can be found on the School's funding page  where you can also find details of the Government Postgraduate Loan Scheme.

See also the University's postgraduate funding database  to see if you are eligible for any other funding opportunities.

For University of Manchester graduates, the Manchester Alumni Bursary offers a £3,000 reduction in tuition fees to University of Manchester alumni who achieved a First within the last three years and are progressing to a postgraduate taught master's course.

The Manchester Master's Bursary is a University-wide scheme that offers 100 bursaries worth £3,000 in funding for students from underrepresented groups.

Postgraduate 1+3 funding is available from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for students to pursue postgraduate study through a master's (one year) leading into a PhD (3 years). It requires a project proposal as part of the application. Information is available here:

Contact details

School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Contact name
PG Taught Admissions

See: About us

Courses in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of courses in related subject areas.

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

We normally expect students to have a First or Upper Second class honours degree or its overseas equivalent, typically in a subject relevant to Linguistics or in Linguistics.

The application form includes a personal statement section in which you must demonstrate your knowledge of and interest in the subject (between 500 and 1,500 words).

English language

We will only consider a minimum overall grade of 7.0 in IELTS with 7.0 in writing and no skill below 6.5 or 100+ in the TOEFL iBT with a minimum writing score of 25 and no skill below 22.

If you have obtained a different qualification, please check our English language requirements to ensure that it is accepted and equivalent to the required standard.

Please note that this course does not make conditional offers on completing a pre-sessional course. You must already meet the minimum requirements as outlined above or your application will be rejected.

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Other international entry requirements

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries. For these and general requirements including English language see entry requirements from your country .

Application and selection

How to apply

Advice to applicants

As there is a high demand for our courses, please ensure you submit all supporting documentation with your application and ensure that you already meet the English language requirements.

Please note: We operate a wait list for this course.

How your application is considered

If you do not have a degree in Linguistics, the programme director will assess your application on a case by case basis, particularly the compulsory personal statement.

Overseas (non-UK) applicants

The University will take into account the academic standing of a candidate's University, as advised by our international office using published world and country rankings.


If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry.  In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved.  We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course.If you are applying for a place for the same year of entry through UCAS Extra, you should provide additional evidence of your suitability for the course. If you are applying through clearing you are required to meet the clearing requirements. In both UCAS Extra and clearing the places will be subject to availability.

Course details

Course description

Our MA Linguistics master's course is a flexible programme that aims to explore the breadth and the depth of linguistics.

It builds on the widest range of teaching and research expertise, covering all aspects of theoretical and descriptive linguistics, including:

  • phonetics

  • phonology

  • morphology

  • syntax

  • semantics

  • pragmatics

  • discourse and conversation analysis

  • typology

  • historical linguistics

  • sociolinguistics

  • cognitive linguistics and psycholinguistics

  • computational and corpus linguistics

  • field linguistics

  • the documentation and description of endangered languages.

Our teaching staff work on various practical applications of linguistics (eg language codification and language policy, institutional language, language in the community, forensic linguistics).

Our internationally-recognised expertise encompasses a breadth of languages, including English and other Germanic languages, Romance languages, Polish, Amerindian languages, languages of South Asia, indigenous languages of Australia and historical languages such as Old English.

You will receive a solid foundation for linguistic study in four out of five core units: 

  • Grammatical Theory (compulsory);

  • Phonetics and Phonology (compulsory);

  • Semantics and Pragmatics;

  • Sociolinguistics;

  • Psycholinguistics.

The remainder of the course allows you to make the most of what our staff have to offer.

You can take a variety of course units in different areas, including Forensic Linguistics, Computational Linguistics, Language Development, Language Policy.


 We aim to:

  • give you a grounding in breadth and depth in Linguistics, by exploring the central features of linguistic theory: its history, objectives, principal theoretical frameworks, methodologies, contested areas and uncontested results;

  • give you an excellent teaching and learning experience at an advanced level, in an environment that is also home to world-leading research in Linguistics.

Teaching and learning

You will learn through a variety of teaching methods.

Course units are typically taught as seminars combining content-delivery with discussion and application, or as a combination of separate lectures and seminars. Many units also have practical tutorials that will help you prepare for individual research projects. 

The aim across all teaching forms is to create the opportunity for intensive scholarly work, with areas of focus determined by students and your individual interests, which can be investigated in considerable depth.

Linguistics staff

You can see a list of our academic staff on the  Linguistics and English Language website .

Coursework and assessment

Course units are assessed at the end of the semester during which they are offered.

Most course units are assessed by examined coursework.

All course units include formative assessments to ensure interim feedback during the semester.

Course unit details

You will undertake units totalling 180 credits. Mandatory, core and optional units combine to make 120 credits, with the remaining 60 credits allocated to the dissertation.

This MA consists of the following elements:

  • mandatory core course units - Research Methods (15 credits); Introduction to Grammatical Theory (15 credits), Phonetics and Phonology (15 credits),
  • and  at least  two of the following core course units: Semantics and Pragmatics (15 credits), Psycholinguistics (15 credits) and The Sociolinguistics of English (15 credits).

  • optional course units (45 credits altogether);

  • dissertation (60 credits).

Subject to Programme Director approval at the beginning of the academic year, it might be possible to waive some of the mandatory course unit requirements and replace them with optional units, if you can provide evidence of relevant previous knowledge and competencies. In borderline cases, you may be asked to take a proficiency test in Welcome Week.

One or two optional course units may be taken from a list of enhanced Level 3 undergraduate course units in Linguistics and English Language, which supplement the MA-specific course units on offer or from a list of MA course units available in other related subject areas. Some optional course units may take the form of Directed Reading units, which are individual or small group seminars about set readings on a particular topic. These are available after consultation with an appropriate member of staff and the Programme Director. Please note that individual optional units that are part of our programme may not be available in any given year. 

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Research Methods (Linguistics) LELA60000 15 Mandatory
Dissertation LELA70000 60 Mandatory
Introduction to Grammatical Theory LELA70041 15 Mandatory
Phonetics and Phonology I LELA70061 15 Mandatory
Psycholinguistics LELA60082 15 Optional
Experimental Phonetics LELA60222 15 Optional
Topics in Language Development LELA60671 15 Optional
Topics in Romance Linguistics LELA62001 15 Optional
Semantics and Pragmatics LELA62021 15 Optional
The Sociolinguistics of English LELA70232 15 Optional
Directed Reading LELA70502 15 Optional
The Study of the Speech Community: Manchester English LELA70522 15 Optional
Directed Reading LELA71121 15 Optional
Forensic Linguistics LELA71632 15 Optional
Language Acquisition and Language Learners LELA74012 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 15 course units


You will have access to innovative resources, including our psycholinguistics and phonetics laboratories, with facilities for signal analysis, speech synthesis, laryngography and electropalatography, computing facilities for speech analysis and one of the largest collections of linguistics texts in the UK.

Find out more on the Facilities page.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email:


Career opportunities

Studying Linguistics will equip you with a range of sought-after transferable skills, including written and oral communication skills, computing skills, intercultural awareness and research methods.

This course will also develop skills that will be useful in undertaking postgraduate research.

Career destinations for our graduates include language teaching, language policy, speech and language therapy, publishing and communications.

The University has its own dedicated Careers Service that you would have full access to as a student and for two years after you graduate. At Manchester you will have access to a number of opportunities to help boost your employability .