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MA in Linguistics

MA in Linguistics

Application Code: Z028 (full-time) & Z224 (part-time)

The MA in Linguistics gives students a solid grounding in current research, approaches, methods and theories in core areas of linguistics and encourages their effective application to a wide range of language-based phenomena in areas such as language technology, language learning and teaching, the psychology of language, language planning and development. The MA in Linguistics does not focus on any specific language, but explores phenomena across a range of languages.

Who is the MA in Linguistics for?

The MA in Linguistics is open to graduates (BA or equivalent) from all disciplines. It is suitable for those with some prior knowledge of Linguistics as well as those with little or no prior knowledge of Linguistics.

What will students learn?

The programme nurtures core academic values such as the importance of systematic and empirically-based investigation of language phenomena based on critical consideration of existing theories and approaches and the analysis and collection of primary data. It promotes the importance of multi-method approaches to exploring language phenomena and emphasizes the relevance of interdisciplinary and inter-cultural perspectives. Students receive ample training in research and further enhance their research skills when carrying out independent research for their dissertation.

Students develop a range of transferrable skills such as critical analysis, pattern recognition and evaluation, academic communication skills, autonomous individual and group learning and research skills. The programme also enhances empirical study design skills.

How will learning be facilitated?

Learning takes place through a variety of teaching and learning approaches. They include critical assessment of existing studies, methods and theories, hands-on group and individual project work, problem-based research approaches, group discussions, and oral presentations.

The program provides a flexible learning environment. It encourages students to identify and pursue their own research interests through a wide range of option modules, while at the same time acquiring in-depth subject knowledge and competence as well as indispensable transferrable skills.

If you are looking to acquire a deeper understanding of English language teaching and the classroom implications of teaching applied language skills, you might be intersted in the MA TESOL (Applied Language Center).

If you are more interested in analysing practical, everyday problems related to language and communication as well as second language teaching and learning, you might apply to the MA Applied Linguistics.

Students are liable to pay programme fees to the University which is in line with fees for other MA programmes. For information on fees for Graduate programmes please consult: http://www.ucd.ie/students/fees/index.html

The University and the School offer a number of fellowships for applicants. For information, please go to http://www.ucd.ie/international/study-at-ucd-global/coming-to-ireland/scholarships-and-funding/gt-scholarships-and-funding/ or contact staff in the international office.

What are the requirements for admission?

No prior knowledge of Linguistics is required for admission to the MA programme.

Applicants must have a BA or equivalent, having ideally reached a 2H1 or better. Applications with a 2H2 average are considered on a case-by-case basis.

All students must normally supply references from two academic referees who are able to provide details about the applicant’s academic abilities and motivations.

Students whose first language is not English and who did not complete their prior education through English (or Irish) must take an IELTS test to provide proof of their English language skills. Students are expected to reach a minimum overall score of 6.5 with no band below 6.5 (particularly in writing and speaking).

Students who fall a bit short (0.5 in one band) of the required scores may consider attending a five-week pre-sessional Academic English course in the Applied Language Center prior to the start of the MA programme.[1]

[1] In order to be admitted to the programme, students have to reach a C overall and no band below C- for the final assessment of the course.

Linguistics interfaces with a range of areas. It can lead to careers in:

  • language teaching
  • computer science
  • cognitive science
  • education
  • speech and language therapy
  • speech processing
  • artificial intelligence
  • publishing  and media

Core modules

Students must register for the following core modules (70 credits):

Trimester 1
LING 40090 Sociolinguistics (7.5 credits)
LING 40050 Phonology (7.5 credits)
LING 40230 Literature Review (5 credits)

Trimester 2
LING 40110 Syntax (7.5 credits)
LING 40320 Corpus Linguistics (7.5 credits)
LING 40230 Literature Review (5 credits)

Trimester 3
LING 40240 MA Thesis (30 credits)

Note: Core modules are scheduled on Wednesday, one 2-hour session in the morning (usually 9-11 or 10-12), one 2-hour session in the afternoon (usually 2-4): Trimester 1: Sociolinguistics (am), Phonology (pm), Trimester 2: Corpus Linguistics (am), Syntax (pm).

Option modules

Students must also choose option modules (10 credits in both Trimesters 1 and 2). The following modules in Linguistics and cognate areas are available:

[Other allied/related modules are also available; students should discuss potential choices with the MA Coordinator first.]

Trimester 1

LING 40250 Graduate Language Impairment (10 credits)
Tues, Thurs 10-11

LING 40220 Minority Languages (10 credits)
Mon 11-12, Wed 12-1

LING 40330 Intercultural Communication (10 credits)
Mon 12-1, Wed 11-12

PSY 30050 Behavioural Neuroscience (5 credits)
Mon 9-11

Trimester 2

LING 40260 Global English (10 credits)
Tues, Thurs 10-11

SLL 40290 Second Language Acquisition (10 credits)
Wed 11-1

PSY 20060 Psychology of Language (5 credits)
Mon 11-12, Wed 12-1 + weekly tutorial

COMP 40020 Human Language Technologies (5 credits)
Mon 12-1, Wed 11-12

Module descriptors are available at

The part-time option (Z224) runs for two years (or five semesters). Students take taught modules in Semesters 1 and 2 in year one and in Semesters 1 and 2 in year two, and complete their thesis in Semester 3 of year two.

Please see the full-time option for all core and option modules.

Who teaches on the MA in Linguistics?

The core modules and some of the option modules are taught by staff in Linguistics.

Prof Bettina Migge Room A312 bettinamigge@ucd.ie

Mr Feargal Murphy Room A321 feargal.murphy@ucd.ie

Dr Máire Ní Chiosáin Room D308 maire.nichiosain@ucd.ie

Prof Jamal Ouhalla Room A315 j.ouhalla@ucd.ie

Sandrine Peraldi Room D313 sandrine.peraldi@ucd.ie

Option modules are offered by Prof Rosario Hernandez, Prof Vera Regan, Julie Bernsdsen, and Prof Tina Hickey among others.

How are applications processed?

Applications must be made online at: http://www.ucd.ie/apply/. Once the complete application has been received, it is reviewed by the international office and/or the School. Applications are accepted throughout the year and are reviewed on a rolling basis generally until early August.

Non-EU students should try to apply as early as possible – between January and March, and ideally no later than early May – as most of the scholarship competitions take place between February and April and the issuing of visas may take up to three months, particularly during the summer when there is usually a high volume of applications. For details, please contact the UCD international office.

For any technical and administrative help with the application, please contact slcl@ucd.ie.

For any additional information about academic issues relating to the programme, please contact bettinamigge@ucd.ie.

Find further information on the MA in Linguistics HERE.


Alharbi, Wasmiah (2019) The Social Motivation for Code-Switching of Saudi Bilingual Children
(Bettina Migge)

Duke, Oisin (2019) Irish English /juː/:  An analysis of the effects of Yod Dropping (Maire Ni Chiosain)

Lai, Jianping (2019) An intercultural analysis of hedges in Chinese and American research articles (Sandrine Perladi)

O'Flaherty, Edelle (2019) Language Variation in Dublin: An investigation into the use of the –ing variable to construct identity in Dublin (Bettina Migge)

Wang, Bin (2019) Observation of Irish Language on YouTube (Maire Ni Chiosain)

Zhao, Rui (2019) A Sociolinguistic Study of Language Ideologies in an Irish Linguistic Landscape: the Case of University College Dublin (Bettina Migge)


Fleming, Daragh (2018) The Portrayal of Mental Illness in Irish Newspapers Does language contribute to stigma?

Zhao, Xixiang (2018) Emoji Use in Social Media

Hardjopranoto, Jonathan Cornelis Zefanya (2018) Plurality, Classifiers, and Reduplication in Indonesian Nominal Structure and Their Implications for the Mass Count Distinction and Definiteness

Ying, Zhou (2018) English in China

Hopkins, Tony (2018) The Investigation of Sources of Ulster English using Corpus Linguistic Techniques

School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

University College Dublin Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 8302