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Course overview

(MA) Master of Arts
University of Essex
University of Essex
Language and Linguistics
Colchester Campus
Full-time or part-time
MA Q10012

A 2:2 degree (or international equivalent) in the following disciplines: English Language studies – including education, English language and Literature, Teaching(English),Linguistics or Modern Languages.

We will accept applicants with a degree in an unrelated area but which contains a substantial element of education, Linguistics, Language studies and Teaching .

IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5 except for 6.0 in writing

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.

External Examiners

Dr Louise Jane Mycock
University of Oxford
Associate Professor in Linguistics

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 21 October 2019 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study
Compulsory You must take this module There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study
Optional You can choose which module to study

Year 1 - 2019/20

Exit Award Status
Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits PG Diploma PG Certificate
01 LG981-7-FY MA Dissertation Core 60 Compulsory Optional
02 LG514-7-AU Syntactic Theory I Compulsory 15 Optional Optional
03 LG option Optional 15 Optional Optional
04 LG option Optional 15 Optional Optional
05 LG699-7-SP and/or Linguistics option(s) from list Optional 15 Optional Optional
06 Linguistics option(s) from list Optional 30 Optional Optional
07 LG option Optional 15 Optional Optional
08 LG620-7-SP Phonology Compulsory 15 Optional Optional
09 LG592-7-AP Assignment Writing and Dissertation Preparation Compulsory 0 Optional Optional

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

This graduate programme provides students with the opportunity to:

Acquire systematic understanding and knowledge of approaches to the study of language adopted in contemporary work in Linguistics, and especially of approaches to the study of syntax and phonology.

Acquire advanced training in methods used to formulate, test and critically evaluate research hypotheses about of syntax, phonology and other areas of language, and in data collection, analysis and presentation techniques used in relevant empirical research.

Acquire a systematic understanding of styles of argumentation and evaluation criteria used in research into syntax, phonology and other areas of language, and of methodological, theoretical and descriptive issues arising out of that research.

Develop a critical appreciation of a selection of recent research in syntax, phonology and other areas of language.

Undertake (one or more small-scale pieces of) advanced research, showing originality and creativity.

Acquire a wide range of advanced cognitive skills, practical skills and key skills.

Acquire a foundation for further study, employment and lifelong learning.

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

A1 Systematic understanding and knowledge of approaches to the study of language adopted in contemporary work in Linguistics
A2 comprehensive understanding of key concepts, issues, ideas, theories, styles of argumentation and evaluation criteria used in contemporary linguistics, and of associated methodological, theoretical and descriptive issues
A3 advanced training in methods and tools employed in contemporary linguistics to collect, analyse and present data with the goal of formulating and testing research hypotheses
Learning Methods: A1-3 are addressed in lectures, as well as seminar, class and tutorial discussion.
Web and instructional course materials, including library and internet materials are used to achieve A1 and 2.

There is also office and email consultation with staff as well as written and oral feedback on work.
Assessment Methods: A1-3 are assessed by written coursework in the form of essays (usually a 3000 word essay per course) and exercises.

The dissertation is instrumental in the achievement of A3, being the most significant form of assessment with respect to knowledge and understanding acquired in the taught part of the course.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1 Critically evaluate theories, accounts, explanations, approaches, demonstrating a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between theory and data
B2 Abstract and synthesise complex information from a range of sources (lectures, seminars, classes, journals, books, internet etc.), making a critical assessment of its significance
B3 Make systematic observations and insightful generalisations about complex behaviour (or data, or other materials), and analyse the relevant material using advanced specialised techniques
Learning Methods: B1 - B3 are developed in seminars, classes and tutorials.

B2 is developed in directed reading of library and internet materials, as well as printed instructional course materials.

There is also office and email consultation with staff, as well as written and oral feedback on work.
Assessment Methods: B1-3 are assessed by written coursework in the form of essays (usually a 3000 word essay per module) and exercises.

In its development of advanced intellectual and cognitive skills, the dissertation is central in assessing B2 and B3.

C: Practical skills

C1 Retrieve information from a variety of sources (e.g. Library, WWW, CD-rom)
C2 Utilise advanced techniques and tools relevant to the collection, analysis or presentation of linguistic data, with a minimum of guidance
C3 Plan, undertake and present an original piece of advanced work (e.g. on a topic researched individually or in collaboration with others), with a minimum of guidance
Learning Methods: Throughout the scheme practical skills C1 - 3 are developed through independent learning in preparation for classes, seminars, essays and presentations.

In particular, these skills are mobilised in preparation for tutorials for the dissertation.
Office and email consultation with staff, as well as written/oral feedback on work is provided through both the coursework and dissertation phases of the degree.
Assessment Methods: Coursework and essays play an important part in the assessment of all skills C1-3.

It is in marking of the dissertation, however, that these skills - particular C2 and C3 - become particularly salient.

D: Key skills

D1 Communicating complex ideas effectively in writing, writing essays, reports and reviews using the appropriate register and style
D2 Using advanced computational tools and software packages to obtain, store and process information stored in electronic form (e.g. from the Library, WWW or CD-rom), and (where appropriate) to analyse data and results
D3 Analysing complex data-sets or behaviour, abstracting insightful generalisations and testing abstract hypotheses
D4 Undertaking advanced work with others to achieve common goals e.g. in research planning, management and presentation
D6 Under guidance, working independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time-management in tackling and solving complex problems
Learning Methods: The key skills, D1, D2, D4 and D6 are taught throughout the scheme in preparation for lectures, seminars, tutorials and coursework assignments.

Oral presentation in class may be used to develop skills of oral communication in parallel with D1; students are also encouraged to collaborate with others to achieve common goals e.g.

In project planning, management and presentation.

Seminars and tutorials are used to develop D3 and D4.

There is also office and email consultation with staff, as well as written/oral feedback on work.
Assessment Methods: Coursework essays are used in the development of all key skills D1 to D4 and D6.
Coursework exercises specifically develop D3 and D4.

The dissertation constitutes an overall assessment of these skills in judging communication, problem solving and independent learning.


The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

Should you have any questions about programme specifications, please contact Course Records, Quality and Academic Development; email: