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MSc English Language and Linguistics

Study the intricate workings of language, explore its central role in society and gain expert knowledge of contemporary linguistic theories.

English Language and Linguistics

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
  • Start date September
  • Duration MSc full-time: 12 months, MSc part-time: 27 months
  • Mode of study Part-time, Full-time, Stand-alone modules

Our English Language and Linguistics postgraduate degree gives you an excellent opportunity to study the complex workings of language and explore its central role in society. With the guidance of expert staff, you’ll explore how language works, how people use it, what people use it for, where it came from and how it changes.

You’ll learn to carry out independent research and engage with other researchers by writing, debating and delivering oral and written presentations.

The course also provides a grounding in theories and methods that are essential for a range of careers. You’ll graduate with an expert knowledge of contemporary linguistic theories and their application in a wider cultural context – including both generative and cognitive approaches to linguistic description, as well as the contexts in which these theories operate.

  • Top reasons to study with us
  • Course objectives

    You’ll gain knowledge and understanding in specialist selected areas of study, such as:

    • Historical, social and regional varieties of English
    • Language and cognition
    • Evolutionary linguistics

    You’ll 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 your areas of interest.

    You’ll plan and manage a research project under supervision. This involves independent research, including keeping track of relevant developments in your chosen field(s), and being able to set them in an appropriate context. By the end of the course, you’ll be able to:

    • structure and communicate ideas effectively
    • gather, evaluate and organise information from multiple sources
    • engage with other researchers by writing, debating, and delivering oral and written presentations
  • Flexible learning

    If you’re interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email Graduate Admissions to discuss your course of study.

  • Research

    Research in the Division of Literature and Languages scored impressively in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, with 81 percent of our research viewed as world leading or internationally excellent. In the 'Research Impact' category of the assessment, almost 90% of our work was considered internationally excellent.

  • Academic requirements

    A minimum of a second class Honours degree (2:1 preferred) or equivalent. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

  • English language requirements

    If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

    • IELTS 6.0 with 5.5 in each skill
    • Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) 169 overall with a minimum of 162 in each sub-skill
    • Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE) 180 overall with a minimum of 162 in each sub-skill
    • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 54 overall with a minimum of 51 in each sub-skill
    • IBT TOEFL 78 overall with a minimum of 17 in listening, 18 in reading, 20 in speaking and 17 in writing
    • Trinity ISE II Pass overall with a Pass in each sub-skill, ISE III Pass overall and in all sub-skills, ISE IV Pass overall and in all sub-skills

    Last updated: 5 December 2019

    For more information on ways that you can meet our English language requirements, including options to waive the requirement, please read our information on English language requirements.

  • Pre-sessional English language courses

    If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

    Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses.

The full-time teaching year at Stirling is divided into two semesters – which run from mid-September to late December, and from January to the end of May.



The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery in the next academic intake of this course. These may be subject to change as the University regularly revises and refreshes the curriculum of our taught programmes.

Course Details

  • Teaching

    Teaching takes place in the form of small group tutorials, seminars and lectures. Lab sessions could also be included, depending on the modules you’re taking. All modules offer close and careful supervision from tutors, but you’re also expected to take responsibility for your own studies. You’ll be able to access online course content such as study resources, lecture slides and discussion boards via the University’s online learning platform.

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

  • Assessment

    Assessment is via module coursework and your dissertation. Each module is 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 that you’ll write under supervision during the summer.

  • Classroom hours

    The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.



    Linguistic Structures

    Mon: 14.00 - 16.00 (weeks 1 - 6)


    Linguistic Contexts

    Mon: 14.00 - 16.00 (weeks 8 - 11)

    One of:

    PRMP142 Bilingualism

    Thur: 16.00 - 18.00

    LINPP05 Historical Linguistics and the History of English

    Thur: 10.00 - 12.00

    TESP004 Grammar for TESOL

    Fri: 10:00 - 13:00


    ARTPP02 Training for Masters in the Arts and Humanities 

    (one to one meetings with tutor and lectures from module convener)

    Two of:

    LINPP02 Language and Cognition

    Mon: 10:00 - 12:00

    LINPP03 Old English

    Mon: 14.00 - 16.00

    LINPP04 Sociolinguistics and Varieties of English

    Thur: 13:00 - 15:00

    TESP009 Corpora in English Language Research and Teaching

    Fri: 10:00 - 13:00

    Please note this is an illustrative timetable and not the timetable for 2020/21.

  • Course director
  • Fees and costs

    Fees shown are per year (fees are different for each course)


    Home/EU Students

    Fees shown are for full-time, one-year Masters course*

    If you’re domiciled in Scotland, you may be eligible to apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for a loan of up to £10,000 to cover your tuition fees and associated living costs. Students domiciled in the EU can also apply for tuition fee support, although may not be eligible to receive funding to support living costs.

    If you're domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, you should be eligible to apply for a loan from your regional body.

    English students apply for a loan of up to £10,609 per year as part of the UK Postgraduate Loan Scheme, Welsh students can apply for a non-means tested loan of up to £13,000 from the Welsh Government and Northern Irish students are eligible to apply for support of up to £5,500.

    *Fees for students who apply for a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate will be paid on a pro-rata basis.

    If the course is taken over two years then the fee will be split evenly over the two years. Fees are not pro-rated for students who enrol on a Masters course and decide to exit with a Postgraduate Diploma - the full fee is charged.


    Overseas (Non-EU) Students

    Fees shown are for full-time, one-year Masters course. Fees for students who apply for a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate will be paid on a pro-rata basis.

    If the course is taken over two years then the fee will be split evenly over the two years. Fees are not pro-rated for students who enrol on a Masters course and decide to exit with a Postgraduate Diploma - the full fee is charged.


    Please note: You will be liable to pay tuition fees for every year you’re in attendance, and your fees will be held level upon entry. If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.

  • Scholarships and funding
    University of Stirling Postgraduate Merit Scholarship

    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. Find out more about the Postgraduate Merit Scholarship.

    If you have the talent, ability and drive to study with us, we want to make sure you make the most of the opportunity – regardless of your financial circumstances.

    Learn more about available funding opportunities or use our scholarship finder to explore our range of scholarships.

  • Additional costs

    There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

  • Cost of living

    If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

    EU and overseas students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

    Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

  • Payment options

    We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay

Our Masters in English Language and Linguistics provides you with a solid grounding for a wide range of positions. Many of our graduates go on to careers in areas such as:

  • teaching
  • private and public sector management and research.
  • marketing and advertising
  • government administration
  • journalism
  • banking and finance

Others have gone into specialist areas like linguistic consultancy and speech therapy.

  • Testimonial quotes

    The MLitt helped me to build upon my previous understanding of language, allowing me to narrow down my research interests. In particular, the Sociolinguistics and Language and Cognition courses enabled me to gain the ability to apply abstract linguistic concepts to real-world applications.

    Beth Harvey (2013)

    The MLitt English Language and Linguistics course was essential in securing my new role as an Account Manager for a local language solutions company based in Stirling. My role requires that I educate international clients regarding their translation and interpretation needs and consequently coordinate their projects. I draw upon my knowledge from the Sociolinguistics module frequently to discuss cultural linguistic practices; this is most commonly exercised when I work on projects that require language localisation or transcription. Additionally, when clients require voiceover work, I discuss any dialectic preferences by applying my knowledge from the Linguistic Structures and Concepts introductory modules. The MLitt course at Stirling has equipped me with the foundations to engage in these types of conversations with my clients and ensure that they are matched with a linguist or interpreter who meets their language solution needs.

    Courtney Weisell (2017)

  • Employability skills

    We offer a comprehensive employability and skills programme to help you maximise your time at university and develop the graduate attributes that employers look for. In the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, we have a dedicated Employability and Skills Officer.

    The University of Stirling’s Career and Employability Service also works in partnership with academic staff to ensure you get the best out of your University experience, and are ready for the employment market.

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