English Language and Linguistics (MLitt)

Study English Language and Linguistics and graduate with a university degree

MLitt, Postgraduate Certificate

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English Language and Linguistics (MLitt)
  • Type Part-time, Full-time
  • Duration Full-time: MLitt-12 months, PG Diploma-9 months, PG Certificate-3 months/br / Part-time: MLitt-27 months, PG Diploma-21 months, PG Certificate-9 months
  • Start date September

Dr Bethan Benwell or Dr Andrew Smith School of Arts & Humanities
Division of Literature & Languages
University of Stirling
+44 (0) 1786 467976 or 467516 www.stir.ac.uk/arts-humanities/

The MLitt English Language and Linguistics offers students the opportunity to study the intricate workings of language and explore its central role in society.

We investigate how language works, how people use it, what people use it for, where it came from and how it changes. The range of research expertise represented by the three dedicated members of staff teaching on the course are reflected in a comprehensive suite of modules that include cognitive, sociolinguistic, historical, evolutionary, and discourse analytical topics.


Course objectives

Students will be expected to graduate with a knowledge of contemporary linguistic theories, including both generative and cognitive approaches to linguistic description, and the contexts in which these theories arose. They will also acquire knowledge and understanding in specialist selected areas of study (e.g. Old and Middle English, historical, social and regional varieties of English, language and cognition, discourse analysis and evolutionary linguistics), including critical understanding of research in these areas.

They will be able to apply a variety of descriptive linguistic tools to language data, and linguistic theories to selected specialist areas of study within English Language and Linguistics, according to their areas of interest.

They will learn to plan and manage a Research Project under supervision, undertaking independent research, including keeping track of relevant developments in the chosen field(s), and being able to set them in an appropriate context; they will be able to structure and communicate ideas effectively; gather, evaluate and organise information from multiple sources; and engage with other researchers by writing, debating, and delivering oral and written presentations.

Entrance requirements

A minimum of a second class honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject.  Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

Sample of work (e.g. English Essay) is required.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 (5.5 in all bands).

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard.

Our range of pre-sessional courses.

Modes of study

Small group seminars and lab sessions (depending on module)

Course start date


Application procedure

Use the online enquiry service to find out more or to request a prospectus.

If you are ready to apply you can fill out an online application form now.

For more information, contact Dr Andrew Smith or Dr. Bethan Benwell in Literature and Languages. For general enquiries and information on application deadlines, contact Alison Scott.

Structure and content

The MLitt English Language and Linguistics consists of: the core course module, Structures of Language, which provides a thorough grounding in theoretical linguistics; four option modules from the following: Language and Cognition, Sociolinguistics and Varieties of English, Historical Linguistics and the History of English, Evolutionary Linguistics, Discourse Analysis, Old and Middle English, Language Learning: Theories and Research and Corpus Linguistics, all of which will allow you to develop your expertise in specific areas of English Language and Linguistics; and two modules on Research Training in the Arts and Humanities.

The dissertation is completed over the summer and will be on a subject of your choosing, in consultation with a member of the course team. You may choose to develop work initiated on one of the modules you have studied. Those who do not embark on the dissertation may be awarded a Diploma. The work of the best students completing the course may be deemed worthy of an MLitt with Distinction.

Delivery and assessment

Teaching takes place in the form of regular lectures and small group tutorials. All modules offer close and careful supervision, but students are expected to take proper responsibility for their studies.

Assessment is via module coursework and the dissertation. The core Structures of Language module is assessed by two equally weighted pieces of work; the individual option modules are more usually assessed by means of one assignment, some of which may involve practical research investigations. The most significant piece of work on the course will be a 15,000 word dissertation, written during the summer under supervision.

Recommended reading

You will be given detailed set reading lists at the start of each Semester by each module convenor.

Module titles

The specific option modules offered each year will vary, depending on the availability of teaching staff, but are likely to include the following:

Why study English Language and Linguistics (MLitt) at Stirling?

Course Director

Dr Bethan Benwell | Dr Andrew Smith

RAE rating

Over half of our submissions in the latest Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) were found to be ‘Internationally Excellent’ or ‘World-leading’.

Career opportunities

Postgraduate degrees in English Language and Linguistics are much sought-after by students across the world, providing a grounding in theories and methods essential for a range of research and teaching careers in disciplines including English Studies, Education, English as a Foreign Language and English for Specific Purposes.

Students with postgraduate degrees in English Language and Linguistics are prized for their excellent communication and problem-solving skills, and their ability to analyse and synthesise information rapidly and accurately. They are generally very adaptable and go on to a wide range of careers in all sectors of the economy, such as: private and public sector management, marketing and advertising, government administration, journalism, banking and finance.

Your MLitt in English Language and Linguistics will provide you with important transferable skills which you will be able to make use of throughout your career. Our course will help you develop your oral and written communication skills so that you can engage in confident and informed debate with a range of audiences. You will be able to design, plan and manage your own independent research projects; you will develop your skills in collecting, analysing and interpreting information, and will be able to structure, contextualise and communicate your ideas and findings effectively.

You will play an active part in our regular Language Research Group meetings, which discuss articles on important and controversial linguistic topics. You will have the opportunity to introduce articles of your choice to the Group, and will develop important skills in leading and managing open-ended discussions.

Skills you can develop through this course

An MLitt in English Language and Linguistics is acknowledged by potential employers as providing important skills, such as motivation, intelligence, and the ability to meet deadlines. Although English is not a specifically vocational degree it offers a number of important transferable skills, such as the ability to write clearly, effectively, accurately and persuasively.

Seminar discussion and oral presentations (required by many of our modules) help to develop your spoken communication skills. The critical and reflexive study of a variety of texts (literary and non-literary) teaches you how to analyse and interpret complex information and to apply abstract concepts and theories. Our criteria for assessment also require students to be able to synthesise conclusions, to assimilate existing research and to construct and defend an argument clearly and cogently.

Throughout their degrees, our students are also trained to use library and bibliographic resources effectively and appropriately, to reference accurately, and to present their work professionally. All of these skills are essential to many kinds of work, which is why so many employers recognise the value of a MLitt in English Language and Linguistics.

In a recent report, graduates of English were as likely (if not more) to be in professional or managerial jobs three to three and a half years after graduation than graduates in other subjects (including science and social science subjects). Almost fifty percent of English graduates pursue further education within three years of graduating from their undergraduate degree, often as a route to a professional career, such as teaching or law. 

Chances to expand your horizons

During the semester we run a number of lively literary seminars for students and staff alike, in which writers, staff members, postgraduate students and distinguished visiting scholars give papers on their work and special interests.

We are fortunate that the MacRobert Arts Centre is at the centre of the University, presenting a widely varied programme of film, drama and music throughout the year. Small magazines are published on campus and the Literary Society organizes visits from distinguished creative writers each year, along with theatre trips to Glasgow and Edinburgh. Finally, the University Drama Society is very active, producing about seven plays a year, including performances at the Edinburgh Festival. 

Where are our graduates now?

Graduates of Stirling’s MLitt in English Language and Linguistics have gone on to further research, teaching and many professional and managerial careers. Postgraduate degrees in English Language and Linguistics are much sought after by students across the world, as they provide a thorough grounding in theories and methods essential for a range of research and teaching careers in disciplines such as English Studies and English as a Foreign Language.

Students with postgraduate degrees in English Language and Linguistics are especially prized for their excellent communication and problem-solving skills, and their ability to analyse and synthesise information rapidly and accurately. They go on to a wide range of careers in all sectors of the economy, including: private and public sector management, marketing and advertising, government administration, journalism, banking and finance.

Find out more about the sorts of careers available to English graduates at http://www.afterenglish.ac.uk/



You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.


information on possible sources of funding

The University of Stirling is offering any UK or European Union student with a First Class Honours degree (or equivalent) a £2,000 scholarship to study full-time on any taught Masters course or £1,000 for part-time study.  Further information on the scholarships is available here.