English Language and Linguistics

MLitt, Postgraduate Certificate


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.


Key information

EU Applicants
EU students enrolling for a postgraduate taught degree in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 academic year will be admitted as Scottish/EU fee status students and will be eligible for the same tuition support as Scottish domiciled students.

  • Qualification: MLitt, Postgraduate Certificate
  • Study methods: Part-time, Full-time, Campus based
  • Duration: Full-time: MLitt-12 months, PG Diploma-9 months, PG Certificate-3 months Part-time: MLitt-27 months, PG Diploma-21 months, PG Certificate-9 months
  • Start date:


  • Course Director: Dr Bethan Benwell | Dr Andrew Smith
Download postgraduate prospectus

Dr Andrew Smith or Dr Bethan Benwell


Division of Literature and Languages
Faculty of Arts and Humanities
University of Stirling
Stirling FK9 4LA
Scotland, UK

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, 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.


What makes us different?

World-class library and teaching facilities

Studying for a degree means learning in different ways; managing your own time; conducting research; mastering new computer skills. We have the facilities and advice on hand to help you do all this - and do it well.

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Entry requirements

Academic 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 have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS: 6.0 with 5.5 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade C
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 54 with 51 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 80 with no subtest less than 17

For more information go to English language requirements

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. View our range of pre-sessional courses.

Flexible Learning

If you are interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email graduate.admissions@stir.ac.uk to discuss your course of study.

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 the Faculty of Arts and Humanities office.

Fees and costs


2018/19 Overseas £13,650
2018/19 Home/EU £4,700

Fees for all new applicants to postgraduate taught courses are held at the level set upon entry.

Please note there is an additional charge should you choose to attend a graduation ceremony. View more information

Cost of Living

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

Find information on paying fees by instalments

Scholarships & funding

SAAS Postgraduate Loans

The Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) is now offering a generous loan scheme to assist eligible Scottish and EU-domiciled students pursuing a Masters at the University of Stirling during 2018/19. Find out more about SAAS Postgraduate Loans

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 »

Financial information

Find out more about funding your studies and meeting your living costs while working towards another degree.

Scholarship finder

Structure and teaching

Delivery and assessment

Teaching takes place in the form of small group tutorials, occasional lectures, and sometimes lab sessions, depending on the module taken. 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. 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, written during the Summer under supervision.


Full time

SemesterModule 1Module 2Module 3
Autumn LINPP07:
Linguistic Structures (20)
LINPP08: Linguistics Contexts (20) 20 credits of:
LINPP02: Language and Cognition (20)
LINPP05: Historical Linguistics and the History of English (20)
TESP004: Grammar for TESOL (20)
Spring 40 credits of:
LINPP03: Old English (20)
LINPP04: Sociolinguistics and Varieties of English (20)
TESP009: Corpora in English Language Research and Teaching (20)
ARTPP02 Training for Masters in the Arts and Humanities 2 (20)
Summer ENGPP03: Dissertation (60)

Part time

Autumn Year 1 LINPP07:
Linguistic Structures (20)
Linguistic Contexts (20) 
Spring Year 1 40 credits of:
LINPP03: Old English (20)
LINPP04: Sociolinguistics and Varieties of English (20) 
TESP009: Corpora in English Language Research and Teaching (20) 
Autumn Year 2 20 credits of:
LINPP02: Language and Cognition (20)
LINPP05: Historical Linguistics and the History of English (20)
TESP004: Grammar for TESOL (20)
ARTPP01: Training for Masters in the Arts and Humanities 1 (20)
Spring and Summer Year 2 ENGPPP3: Dissertation (60)


Recommended reading


Preliminary Reading List:

Any general popular-science books on language, such as those by David Crystal,

Jean Aitchison, Steven Pinker or Guy Deutscher.


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

Modes of study

Face-to-face, campus-based seminars and lectures; one-to-one guidance and supervision with tutors. Online content (in the form of study resources, lecture slides, discussion boards) is available via Succeed, the University of Stirling's chosen online learning environment.

Study method

Part-time; Full-time

Example timetable

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:

LINPP02 Language and Cognition

Thur: 16.00-17.30

LINPP05 Historical Linguistics and the History of English

Thur: 15.00-16.00

TESP004 Grammar for TESOL (20)


ARTPP02 Training for Masters in the Arts and Humanities

Two of:

LINPP03 Old English

Mon: 14.00-15.00

LINPP04 Sociolinguistics and Varieties of English

Thur: 13.00-15.00

TESP009 Corpora in English Language Research and Teaching 


Please note this is an illustrative timetable and not the timetable for 2017/18.

Why Stirling?



In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.


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

More details on the research interests and publications of staff can be found here: http://www.ell.stir.ac.uk/English_Language_and_Linguistics_at_Stirling/Staff.html

International Students

The University of Stirling welcomes students from around the world. Find out what studying here could be like for you .


The English language grouping at Stirling (and staff in the cognate discipline of English Language Teaching in the Faculty of Social Sciences) offers between them a strong and varied set of expertise in linguistic topics, from Historical Linguistics to Evolutionary Linguistics and from Sociolinguistics to Corpus Linguistics. The breadth and range of topics make this an ideal introductory Masters to the subject of Linguistics.  

Our students

Beth HarveyAs a UK Linguistic Consultant for an American healthcare research company, I analyse pre-recorded and transcribed conversations of patient-doctor interactions. Each study involves collecting conversational data from around 30 medical appointments, all of which are focused around the same particular condition, for example asthma. The aim of this data collection is to access ‘real-life’ natural conversation between patients and doctors.

Working alongside the main project team who are based in the United States, I analyse linguistic concepts such as the lexicon (which is used to describe symptoms and specific treatments), turn-taking, power-relationships, conceptual metaphors, and figurative language. I also comment upon British cultural references used by both patients and doctors to ensure these are understood fully by the international team and clients. I turn this analysis into a report with actionable insights, which is then presented to the client (pharmaceutical companies) who uses this research to support the marketing and commercialization of pharmaceutical brands in the UK.

The MLitt in English Language and Linguistics at Stirling provided me with the range of critical skills that I need to be able to carry out this work. Having graduated with an undergraduate degree in Linguistics from the University of Aberdeen, 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. Language and Cognition heightened my awareness of the widespread conceptual metaphors that exist in medical discourse to describe illnesses and treatments whilst from Sociolinguistics I gained the practical research skills to carry out qualitative and quantitative analysis of spoken and written language.

Beth Harvey, 2013 graduate


Our staff

Dr Bethan Benwell is the co-author of the best-selling Discourse and Identity which was shortlisted for the BAAL book prize in 2007.

Dr Andrew Smith was the recipient of the university’s RATE teaching award in 2012 for ‘most inspiring tutor’.

Careers and employability

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 and research, marketing and advertising, government administration, journalism, banking and finance, speech therapy.

Former graduates from the MLitt have gone on to, for instance, Linguistics Research (in the Healthcare sector) and further study in Speech Therapy (for which a Masters in Linguistics was a prerequisite).

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.


98% of our postgraduate leavers are in employment or further study withing six months of graduating - Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey 2015/16


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.

We’re here to help

We offer a comprehensive employability and skills programme to help you maximise your time at university and develop the graduate attributes required by employers. We have a dedicated Faculty Employability and Skills Officer and a Career and Employability Service who work in partnership with academic staff to ensure you get the best out of your University experience and are given the right opportunities to make you ready for the world of work.

Students have access to advice, information and career opportunities not only in the UK, but worldwide.


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