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MA|Postgraduate Taught


Entry year
Entry requirements
2.2 (minimum 55%)
1 year (Full-time)
2 years (Part-time)
Places available
tbc (Full Time)
tbc (Part Time)

The Linguistics Master’s programme at QUB enables you to acquire the research skills and subject-specific knowledge that are essential for driving forward your interest in language-focused research. Our Programme is based in the School of Arts, English and Languages and will be taught by specialists who work on English, French, Irish, Breton and community languages. You are welcome to follow either a broad-based programme encompassing, for example, structural and formal aspects of linguistic organisation (e.g. phonetics/phonology, morpho-syntax, lexis, discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, variation and change) and their effects on communication; or you may choose to concentrate on areas such as particular linguistic features in English, French, Irish or Breton, or the role of language policies in relation to minoritised languages or particular types of speech. You will undertake training in research methods so that you can make informed and judicious choices about how to identify, select, capture and analyse linguistic data, and you will learn how to make sense of your data and the results of your analysis. You will choose modules which address key variables in language organisation from theoretical and practical perspectives, and you will have the option to choose modules which complement and enhance your own emerging research interests and focus on the language(s) in which you are interested. In the dissertation, you will explore a specialist topic of your choice using the skills and knowledge you have acquired in the taught components of the Programme. Throughout the Programme, you will have access to scholars who are experts in their respective fields and whose work is internationally recognised in research rankings and impact, and who work collaboratively to provide you with the academic support and guidance to help you make a success of your work with us. Your MA in Linguistics from QUB will equip you with a range of subject-specific and transferable skills which enable you to consider employment in diverse areas, including research in speech and language, education, language policy and heritage, marketing and communication, journalism, translation and interpreting and law.

In the School of Arts, English and Languages at QUB the work undertaken in Linguistics is strongly-focused on social, behavioural, human and economic facets of language and language variation.

Linguistics highlights

Internationally Renowned Experts

External partnerships are key to research and impact by linguists in AEL with, for example: Co-operation Ireland, for research (within the MEITS project) on language and identity in NI; National Museums NI, for an ongoing project on digitised speech corpora and associated impact activities; the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum (via the Marie Curie Fellowship held by Carruthers), in a collaboration for the Festival of Storytelling in Eight Languages; the Department of Communities, as a partner (in MEITS and the NI Place-names Project) investigating toponymy, language and identity in NI; local councils in NI, regarding provision of authoritative forms (established by the Place-names project) of place-names for signage; East Belfast Mission in a partnership which explores issues of language and identity in NI (within MEITS), particularly with regard to the Irish language. Through the OS200 project with Lilley, the Place-names Project has external links with the Royal Irish Academy, the Digital Repository of Ireland, the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland, the interdisciplinary Fiontar and Scoil na Gaeilge (Dublin City University), and the Irish Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

Linguistics staff in AEL regularly participate in public engagement events: with CCEA (NI’s Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment) regarding provision for English language curricula in schools, and CPD for teachers regarding English Language curricula; with speech clinicians, with the Alzheimer’s Society and Dementia NI, with heritage organisations, at events which explore the social provenance of language data and the linguistic origins of place-names. In 2018, the Modern Languages research group was awarded the QUB Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Research Culture.

You will be taught by staff with research profiles of international standing, with a wide range of interests within the broad field of linguistics.

Student Experience

The QUB MA in Linguistics is distinctive in its coverage of linguistics and language issues in English, French and Irish.

Course Structure

Master’s students will take the compulsory Research Methods 1 and 2, four optional taught modules, and the dissertation; equalling 180 CATS points. Diploma students take all modules except the dissertation (120 CATS points), and Certificate students choose three optional modules (60 CATS points).

Students may enrol on a full-time (1 year) or part-time (usually 2 years) basis. Part-time students typically complete one or two modules per semester. Full-time students typically complete three modules per semester.

The MA is awarded to students who successfully complete six taught modules (120 CATS points) and a 15,000 word research dissertation (60 CATS points).

Entry and exit qualifications are available: students may exit with a Postgraduate Diploma by successfully completing 120 CATS points from taught modules or a Postgraduate Certificate by successfully completing 60 CATS points from taught modules.

Course Details

***Please note that modules are reviewed on an annual basis and may be subject to future changes – revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ( ahead of each academic year.***

Research Methods 1: Research Design in Linguistics
This research preparation module focuses on core research design issues in linguistics (particularly the formulation of research questions and the collection of data). Students are trained to identify gaps in linguistic knowledge, to formulate sound discipline-specific research questions, and to explore the diverse linguistic approaches which might fruitfully be applied to these questions. They will be introduced to practical issues in data collection, considering, for example, the medium, size and representativeness of data samples, and the ethical considerations involved in collecting data from different sources. The module will lead into the more analytically focused research methods module in Semester 2 and will lay the groundwork for the dissertation module in Semester 3.

The module begins with an audit of students’ exposure to linguistic sub-fields, and of their skills and interests. Weekly readings of published studies allow students to compare different theoretical and sub-disciplinary approaches to a similar topic. Class discussion centres on an evaluation of the merits of different approaches for the studies’ stated aims and on the data-collection processes suggested by those approaches.

Research Methods 2: Skills in Linguistic Research and Data Analysis
This second research preparation module builds on the core semester 1 module on Research Design by providing students with the knowledge and skills to select and apply data analysis methods. Following the stages of the research process from the organisation of data (into, for example, a corpus or database) to annotation and analysis, it exposes students to a range of linguistic data drawn from various subfields of linguistics and encourages them to reflect on appropriate analytical techniques. Drawing on tutors’ diverse range of expertise, the module will cover quantitative approaches including statistical testing, as well as qualitative approaches such as thematic and discourse analysis, and train students in the use of relevant software. Students will be encouraged to consider the application of these approaches to their own upcoming dissertation research and it is intended that the final few weeks of the module will be flexible in terms of content, allowing students to deepen their knowledge in areas identified as of high priority according to the cohort.

Discourse Analysis: Traditional to Digital
This module introduces students to various ways of approaching Discourse Analysis, a broad sub-discipline of Linguistics which understands language as socially and culturally situated and therefore studies it in contexts of use. It explores key principles in Discourse Analysis which equip the analyst to appreciate context and society in discourse production and reception. It integrates approaches from other sub-disciplines of linguistics which can be employed in Discourse Analysis, such as Pragmatics, Conversation Analysis and Sociolinguistics. Students are equipped with different methods of collecting and analysing discourse in spoken, written and digital contexts. The module teaches students to understand and interpret the findings of Discourse Analysis in light of contextual, cultural and societal factors.

Phonetics and Phonology: Concepts and methods
This module provides a thorough grounding in the concepts and practices on which current work in phonetics and phonology is built, and it provides students with a critical perspective on dominant trends in the discipline. It shows students how theoretical and applied strands in accounts of speech variation can complement one another in order to produce a comprehensive profile of the particular variety of speech under investigation. The module begins by introducing core concepts in phonetics and phonology, and moves on to apply phonetic and phonological analytic methods to speech samples chosen by students, beginning with a group transcription task. Once students have completed a transcription and identified key features therein, the module invites them to select a range of journal articles and existing research sources which deal with the feature(s) in question, and provide a written critical review of the articles they have chosen. The module is assessed by means of (i) performance in the transcription task, (ii) performance in the mini-conference in which students provide an overview of the key phonological elements of their transcribed sample, and (iii) the critical review task.

This module trains students in the discipline of sociolinguistics, taking an approach that focuses on the development of the field over the past sixty years. Acquainting students with different quantitative and qualitative approaches taken in sociolinguistics, it encourages them to assess these approaches and consider the advantages and drawbacks of applying them to their own research projects, and to reflect on how sociolinguistic schools of thought have evolved in tandem with our understanding of language in society.

MML7033 Meaning, Sense, Translation
This module offers practical training in text analysis and translation by applying insights from the broad areas of semiotics and linguistics (including semantics, syntax, pragmatics, and discourse analysis). It is aimed at raising the students’ awareness of the processes of meaning-making and improving their analytical, linguistic, and hermeneutical skills. It draws on the insights from Cognitive Linguistics and its central concept of grammar as imagery, exploring it in the following dimensions: selection (domain, scale and scope), abstraction, perspective, relative salience, and figure/ground alignment.

CEL7025 Name Studies
This module provides an introduction to onomastics with particular reference to place-names in Ireland and Scotland. While the emphasis will be on names as linguistic items, there will be some discussion of other disciplines to which onomastics is relevant (literature, history, archaeology, ethnography, geography, cartography). Topics to be studied include the linguistic structure of names (including generic and specific elements); linguistic strata, language contact, and multilingualism; place-names as a resource for dialectology and historical linguistics; sources and the exploitation of names for literary and socio-political purposes; place-names and the linguistic landscape. Some task-based learning will be involved as Queen’s is home to the Northern Ireland Place-Name Project and houses a large amount of archival material.

Language Revitalisation, Policy and Planning
This module explores issues in language planning and policy, with a specific focus on minoritised languages and cases of language revival and revitalisation. Beginning with an overview of topics in language planning and policy, including standardisation, it demonstrates how sociolinguistic factors are relevant in the consideration of how languages are framed within institutional contexts. The module will allow students to assess examples of real language policy to investigate how this is put into practice.

In later weeks the module moves on to the consideration of minoritised languages specifically, covering a range of case studies that draw on tutors’ expertise in Celtic languages (Breton, Irish, and Cornish, drawing comparisons with Hebrew), on other minoritised languages of France including Occitan, and on indigenous languages further afield. Focusing on speakers’ and activists’ attempts to reverse language shift, it examines these cases as examples of language revitalisation and revival, investigating the linguistic and social consequences of these processes, the role of new speakers, and how voluntary efforts integrate into, or conflict with, language planning processes that occur on a more official level. Students will be encouraged to carry out independent research on cases of language revitalisation around the world and compare these with those discussed in class.

LIB7004 Discourses of Crime and Deviance
This module will analyse crime and deviance in a range of fictional and non-fictional narrative forms, including literary fiction, traditional media, social media, and television and film. Core themes will interrogate questions of crime and deviance in society, addressing key topics such as the status of crime (looking at the reproductive rights campaign in Ireland, for example) and how different contexts of crime interact (investigating how trial by media operates in representations of sexual assault, for instance). We will consider processes such as adaptation and novelisation – thinking about crime fiction in text and on screen – and issues of gender, race, and class. A broad critical language studies (CLS) approach will be taken, new models for textual analysis will be fully explained, and the module will also draw on insights from literary linguistics, cultural criminology and legal studies.

Corpus Linguistics
This module introduces students to the theories, applications and methods of analysis used in corpus linguistics. It enables students to collect their own corpora and use corpus software to undertake analyses based on their own interests. The module gives a comprehensive overview of core practical and theoretical aspects of corpus linguistics and allows students to engage in critical examination of a range of areas of study. Indicative content includes: corpus creation (ethical data selection and acquisition, issues in representativeness and size); corpus analysis tools and techniques (frequency lists, concordances, collocation, data annotation); interpretation and analysis of results (morphology, semantics, pragmatics, discourse, genre, language variation and change); applications: lexicography, pedagogy, translation, stylistics, discourse analysis.

Directed Study in Irish/English/French Linguistics
This module allows students to focus on a language of their choice, in an area selected by the student in consultation with the tutor, by way of directed readings and student discussion groups. Students will be assigned core reading material which they will use as a basis for their own explorations in the given area. Specialist knowledge will be acquired, with reference to Irish or French or English, on specific issues within tutor specialisms.

This dissertation module provides students with the opportunity to conduct a programme of independent and original research into a topic in Linguistics approved by the programme team. Preparatory work on principles of dissertation planning and the consolidation of skills required to complete the dissertation will be covered in RM 1 and RM2 respectively, thereby laying the foundation for progression to the specific dissertation work undertaken by individual students. The dissertation module requires students to identify a viable research issue in Linguistics, design an appropriate methodology for investigating and analysing the issue in question, interpret the findings with reference to relevant existing work in the area, explain the benefits and limitations of the completed work, and outline its implications for future research on the topic. Depending on the particular orientation of the dissertation, students may choose to collect original data or use existing datasets. Where the project requires research with human subjects, students must apply for and be granted ethical approval before commencing fieldwork.

People teaching you

Lecturer (Education) in French

School of AEL

Senior Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics

School of AEL

Lecturer in French Linguistics

School of AEL

Senior Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics

School of AEL

Professor of French Linguistics

School of AEL

Professor of Phonetics and Linguistics

School of AEL

Professor of Irish

School of AEL

Professor in Translation

School of AEL

Contact Teaching Hours

Small Group Teaching/Personal Tutorial

6 (hours maximum)
6 hours per week (seminar-based)

Teaching Times

Teaching times are distributed throughout the working week.

Learning and Teaching

Learning opportunities associated with this course are outlined below:

  • Learning and Teaching

    Your modules in Linguistics will enable you to work with tutors and other students in the context of small, interactive classes. You will be part of the School’s Centre for Research in Linguistics, and you will be invited to attend seminars and activities organised by the Centre.


Assessments associated with the course are outlined below:

  • Awarding of the qualifications is based on continuous assessment of coursework, performance in practical tasks and in-class presentations, depending on the module. Assessment tasks are undertaken at various points throughout the relevant academic semester.

    The MS will be awarded with Distinction to a student who achieves a dissertation and average mark both exceeding 70 per cent.




The information below is intended as an example only, featuring module details for the current year of study (2023/24). Modules are reviewed on an annual basis and may be subject to future changes – revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year.

  • Year 1

    Core Modules

    Dissertation (60 credits)

    Optional Modules

    Name Studies (20 credits)
    Sociolinguistics (20 credits)
    Corpus Linguistics (20 credits)

Entrance requirements


Normally a strong 2.2 Honours degree (with minimum of 55%) or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in English, French or Irish Language and/or Linguistics or related discipline.

The University's Recognition of Prior Learning Policy provides guidance on the assessment of experiential learning (RPEL). Please visit for more information.

Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible and ideally no later than 16th August 2024 for courses which commence in late September. In the event that any programme receives a high number of applications, the University reserves the right to close the application portal. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Application Portal against the programme application page.

International Students

Our country/region pages include information on entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, student profiles, upcoming events and contacts for your country/region. Use the dropdown list below for specific information for your country/region.

English Language Requirements

Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

  • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
  • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.



Career Prospects


Those who graduate from Linguistics programmes routinely enter careers in academia, school-teaching, speech and language therapy, translation, forensic linguistics, language planning and policy, government administration, and museums, cultural and heritage organisations. This MA will equip you with the knowledge and skills required for a successful career in these areas, and for further study in your preferred area within linguistics.

Employment after the Course

Your MA in Linguistics from QUB will equip you with a range of subject-specific and transferable skills which enable you to consider employment in diverse areas, including research in speech and language, education, language policy and heritage, marketing and communication, journalism, translation and interpreting and law. The MA will also establish a firm foundation for progress to Doctoral-level study.

Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award for extra-curricular skills

In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £7,300
Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £7,300
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £9,250
EU Other 3 £21,500
International £21,500

1EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled status, will be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB will be charged the GB fee.

2 EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI are eligible for NI tuition fees.

3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.

All tuition fees quoted relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

Additional course costs

All Students

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.

Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

How do I fund my study?

The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £6,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £11,836 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

More information on funding options and financial assistance - please check this link regularly, even after you have submitted an application, as new scholarships may become available to you.

International Scholarships

Information on scholarships for international students, is available at



How to Apply

Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

Apply now

When to Apply

The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2021. In the event that any programme receives a high volume of applications, the university reserves the right to close the application portal earlier than 30th June deadline. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Entry Portal (DAP) against the programme application page.

Terms and Conditions

The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.
Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.

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