Linguistics and English Language

Programme Outline

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can you tell me more about the orientation of your programme?
  2. I'm interested in language teaching. Is this a good programme for me?
  3. What types of dissertation projects do students carry out?
  4. What are the entrance requirements?
  5. Are there English language requirements?
  6. When exactly does the programme begin and end?
  7. Can I do the degree part-time?
  8. Can I do some tutoring in the department?
  9. Can I work part time while on the programme?
  10. What do graduates of the programme typically do?

1. Can you tell me more about the orientation of your programme?

We study how we acquire, lose or change knowledge of our native or second language(s). Although there are many ways to approach this topic, our perspective is that of theoretical linguistics and cognitive psychology. That is, we investigate language acquisition, loss and change by analysing the speaker's knowledge state of the structure of the language (the organisation of sounds, words, sentences and meanings) and the way in which these structural properties are mentally processed.

2. I'm interested in language teaching. Is this a good programme for me?

No, developmental linguistics is not about language teaching or language education. If you are interested in these areas, we suggest the MSc in Language Teaching, MSc in Applied Linguistics, or MEd in TESOL.

3. What types of dissertation projects do students carry out?

Here are the titles of some recent dissertations:

4. What are the entrance requirements?

Candidates should normally possess at least a good undergraduate degree (equivalent to a first or upper second class honours in the UK system) in linguistics, psychology or a related subject. However, we do consider applications from candidates with a very good degree in other areas.

5. Are there English language requirements?

Yes, for students whose first language is not English, documentary evidence of competence in both written and spoken English must be provided. It is extremely important that you have a good command of spoken and written English. In particular, if you are not comfortable with writing academic reports in English, we recommend you to try to improve your skills before arrival in Edinburgh. There are courses offered by the university that run a few weeks before the term starts.

6. When exactly does the programme begin and end?

It begins in mid-September and runs until the end of August the following calendar year.

7. Can I do the degree part-time?

Yes. We offer the option of completing the degree over two years. The coursework should be completed in 4 semesters, after which you work on your dissertation.

8. Can I do some tutoring in the department?

No. Departmental policy is for undergraduate tutoring only to be done by PhD students who have been a postgraduate member of the department for at least a year.

9. Can I work part time while on the programme?

This is discouraged, as the workload of the programme is quite intense.

10. What do graduates of the programme typically do?

Most graduates pursue a PhD in a related area either in or outside Edinburgh (recent destinations include: Cambridge, UCL, MPI, Georgetown). Some others have obtained a position in a research centre (e.g., the National Centre for Languages, Northwestern University's Centre for Technology & Social Behaviour).