English Language & Linguistics MA

English Language students

English Language & Linguistics combines the study of the history, structure and meaning of the English language, to see what all this tells us about our culture, our society and ourselves.

Over 50 years, we created the world-leading Historical Thesaurus of English. You will also have access to dedicated laboratories for analysing spoken and written language.

  • September start
  • Session dates
  • English Language & Linguistics MA (Hons): Q300 4 year degree

What our students say

“I had not originally planned to take English Language & Linguistics but the course content and incredible enthusiasm of the lecturers converted me very quickly to take it to Honours. The course is so broad and with fascinating content that there is something for everybody to get excited about.”

“Being in the English Language & Linguistics department at Glasgow is massively exciting. The opportunity to discover and pursue your interests, taught by such an enthusiastic and inspiring group of academics, is beyond compare.”

Programme structure

You will learn about the structure, meaning and history of the English language – how our language both now and in the past influences our interactions with each other and with the world.

Year 1

In Year 1, we give you a taster of every part of language study:

  • how we get meaning through manipulating sounds, words and sentences
  • how different varieties of English and Scots can convey identity across Scotland and the world
  • how English as a language developed from its earliest roots to its current form

In the second semester you will learn how pronunciation can be analysed systematically and scientifically, and how our identity shapes what we say and how we are perceived. We will also do a deep dive into the history and current stage of Scots, a particular speciality at Glasgow. Finally, you will trace the second half of our language’s history, from the middle English of Chaucer, through Shakespeare, and into its modern form.


In year 1, you will study two courses from English Language & Linguistics with courses from two other subjects. See flexible degrees.

If you intend to study English Language as a Single Honours degree, you will need to study Level 1 Scottish Literature in Year 1 or Level 1 English Literature in Years 1 or 2.

Year 2

In Year 2 you will delve more deeply into the study of English Language & Linguistics, focusing especially on our areas of research expertise. You will learn to analyse techniques used in speech and consider how the histories of words themselves can shed light on the earliest stages of language. You will also learn about the process of transforming thought into words and about how proper names can reveal historical influences on the labels we assign to the world.


In Year Two, you will study two courses from English Language & Linguistics with courses from two other subjects. See flexible degrees.

If you intend to study English Language as a Single Honours degree, you will need to study Level 1 Scottish Literature in Year 1 or Level 1 English Literature in Years 1 or 2.

Years 3 and 4

If you progress to Honours (Years 3 and 4) you choose from a variety of advanced courses.

You will complete a dissertation on a topic of your choice in your final year of English Language & Linguistics.

You will take courses making up 120 credits each year in years 3 and 4 in Single Honours English Language & Linguistics.  For Joint Honours, you will take 60 credits in English Language & Linguistics each year, alongside 60 credits from your other degree subject.  See flexible degrees.

Example courses

These are examples of courses you may study in Years 3 and 4. Courses may not run every academic year due to staff research interests, student interest, timetabling etc.

Programme alteration or discontinuation
The University of Glasgow endeavours to run all programmes as advertised. In exceptional circumstances, however, the University may withdraw or alter a programme. For more information, please see: Student contract.

Our international links

We have a well-established exchange programme with opportunities to study for a year at universities including Alcalá, Groningen and Helsinki. Some of our students spend their third year in North America or Australasia, though special arrangements apply in these cases. Recent placements have been in Toronto, Auckland and Montreal.

Entry requirements

for entry in 2021

Applicants to subject-combinations with Psychology must meet the Psychology degree programme entry requirements.

Summary of entry requirements for English Language & Linguistics

SQA Higher Entry Requirements (by end of S6) 

  • AAAAA Higher or AAAA Higher+B Advanced Higher (BBBB S5 minimum for consideration)
  • Additional requirements: Higher English and a Higher Humanities subject.

SQA Higher Adjusted Entry Requirements* (by end of S6)

  • Additional requirements: Higher English and a Higher Humanities subject. Successful completion of Top-Up or one of our Summer Schools.

* See Access Glasgow for eligibility.

A-level Standard Entry Requirements

  • AAB – BBB
  • Additional requirements: one A-level Humanities subject.

IB Standard Entry Requirements

  • 36 (6,6,5 HL) – 32 (6,5,5 HL)
  • Additional requirements: HL English and HL Humanities subject.

2021 Admissions Policy and further information about entry requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • 6.5 with no sub-test under 6.0.
  • Tests must have been taken within 4 years 5 months of start date. Combined scores from two tests taken within 6 months of each other can be considered.

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission to this programme:

TOEFL (ib, my best or athome)

  • 90 with minimum R 20, L 19, S 19, W 23.
  • Tests must have been taken within 4 years 5 months of start date. Combined scores from two tests taken within 6 months of each other can be considered.

PTE (Academic)

  • 60 with minimum 59 in all sub-tests.
  • Tests must have been taken within 4 years 5 months of start date. Combined scores from two tests taken within 6 months of each other can be considered.


  • 120 with 120 in two or more sub-scores including literacy and no sub-score below 110 for direct entry, in-sessional support requirement available for those with 120, 100 for 5 week PSE, 100 for 10 week PSE.
  • Tests must have been taken within 1 year of start date.

Glasgow International College English Language (and other foundation providers)

  • 65%.
  • Tests are accepted for academic year following sitting.

University of Glasgow Pre-sessional courses

  • Tests are accepted for academic year following sitting.

Alternatives to English Language qualification

  • Undergraduate degree from English speaking country (including Canada if taught in English)
  • Undergraduate 2+2 degree from English speaking country
  • Undergraduate 2+2 TNE degree taught in English in non-English speaking country
  • Masters degree from English speaking country
  • Masters degree (equivalent on NARIC to UK masters degree) taught in English in non-English speaking country.

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:


What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's School of Modern Languages and Cultures offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact External Relations

If you require a Tier 4 student visa, your qualification must be one of the secure English language tests accepted by UK Border Agency:

Visa requirements and proof of English language level

It is a visa requirement to provide information on your level of English based on an internationally recognised and secure English language test. All test reports must be no more than 2 years old. A list of these can be found on the UK Border Agency website. If you have never taken one of these tests before, you can get an initial idea of your level by using the Common European Framework self-assessment grid which gives you a level for each skill (e.g. listening B1/writing B2 etc.) However, please note that this is not a secure English language test and it is not sufficient evidence of your level of English for visa requirements.

For further information about English language, please see School of Modern Languages and Cultures: English for Academic Study.

Career prospects

As a graduate in English Language & Linguistics you will be an expert in language, communication and the rigorous analysis of texts and events in the real world. You will have a broad range of career opportunities, drawing on your research skills and knowledge. Our graduates find jobs in traditional and new media, publishing, marketing, speech therapy and dictionary-making, and many of them teach English as a foreign language, often in Europe, Asia or South America.

Degrees and UCAS codes

When applying you will need to know the UCAS code for the subject or subject-combination that you wish to apply to:

MA (Hons)

English Language & Linguistics: Q300 (4 years)
English Language & Linguistics/Archaeology: V4Q3 (4 years)
English Language & Linguistics/Celtic Civilisation: QQM3 (4 years)
English Language & Linguistics/Celtic Studies: QQ3N (4 years)
English Language & Linguistics/Comparative Literature: QQF3 (4 years)
English Language & Linguistics/Computing Science: GQ4J (4 years)
English Language & Linguistics/Digital Media & Information Studies: GQ5J (4 years)
English Language & Linguistics/Economics: LQ1H (4 years)
English Language & Linguistics/English Literature: Q304 (4 years)
English Language & Linguistics/French: QR3D (5 years)
English Language & Linguistics/Gaelic: QQ53 (4 years)
English Language & Linguistics/German: QR3G (5 years)
English Language & Linguistics/Greek: Q3Q7 (4 years)
English Language & Linguistics/History: QV3D (4 years)
English Language & Linguistics/Italian: QR3J (5 years)
English Language & Linguistics/Latin: QQ3Q (4 years)
English Language & Linguistics/Mathematics: QG3D (4 years)
English Language & Linguistics/Music: QW3J (4 years)
English Language & Linguistics/Philosophy: QV3N (4 years)
English Language & Linguistics/Politics: LQ2J (4 years)
English Language & Linguistics/Portuguese: 4W7V (5 years)
English Language & Linguistics/Psychology: CQ8J (4 years)
Apply via UCAS
Applicants must meet the Psychology requirements
English Language & Linguistics/Russian: QRHT (5 years)
English Language & Linguistics/Scottish History: QV3F (4 years)
English Language & Linguistics/Scottish Literature: QQ2J (4 years)
English Language & Linguistics/Social & Public Policy: QL3L (4 years)
English Language & Linguistics/Sociology: LQ63 (4 years)
English Language & Linguistics/Theatre Studies: WQ4J (4 years)
English Language & Linguistics/Theology & Religious Studies: QV36 (4 years)

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

How and when you pay tuition fees depends on where you’re from: see Tuition fees for details.


The University is committed to supporting students and rewarding academic excellence. That's why we've invested more than £1m in additional scholarship funding in recent years.

Undergraduate Excellence Scholarship

The University of Glasgow has a number of Undergraduate Excellence Scholarships available to new International and EU students for 2021 entry. The scholarship is awarded as a tuition fee discount of £5,000 per year of study and is subject to satisfactory progress for consecutive years of study.  

RUK Excellence Scholarship

The RUK Excellence Scholarship of £1,000 for each year of study will be awarded to first degree entrants who have attained AAA or better in one sitting at A Level (or equivalent). 

James McCune Smith Scholarship

The University of Glasgow has 30 undergraduate scholarships available for students of African/African-Caribbean backgrounds. The scholarship supports students who could face financial difficulties taking up their place to study at the University. The value of the scholarship is £2,000, paid in instalments for one year of undergraduate study. The scholarship is open to new applicants to the University. Current students who have previously been in receipt of the award may reapply, however, preference will be given to applicants entering their first year of study.

RUK Access Bursary

The bursary supports talented students who might not be able to take a place at University for reasons of financial hardship. It is available to new entrant full-time, undergraduate students of the University of Glasgow who are fully registered for Session 2021/22, as being domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and paying annual tuition fees of £9,250 per annum.

Undergraduate Talent Scholarships

The University of Glasgow awards c.50 undergraduate Talent Scholarships each academic year to support students who could face financial difficulties in taking up their place to study at the University. The value of each scholarship is typically £1,500 p.a. for each year of the degree programme, subject to satisfactory progress. Talent Scholarships are available to students entering any of the University's Colleges.

Dental School students are eligible for a Talent Scholarship in their first year of study only. They are eligible for the NHS Dental Student Support Grant in the following years.

Scholarship application deadline is 5PM on SUNDAY, 23rd MAY.

Beaconhouse Schools

The University of Glasgow offer a 15% discount on the first year of tuition fee to students from Beaconhouse Schools and who enrol on an undergraduate programme at the University of Glasgow. The discount does not apply to Veterinary Medicine, Medicine and Dentistry programmes.

Cowrie Foundation Scholarship

The University of Glasgow and The Cowrie Scholarship Foundation (CSF) will offer a scholarship to support Black African and Caribbean heritage applicants from socio-economically challenged backgrounds.  Applicants must be ordinarily resident in the UK and commencing an undergraduate study in the academic year 2021-2022.

The Cowrie Scholarship Foundation wants to fund 100 Black British students through UK universities in the next decade. More information on the Foundation can be found here.

Humanitarian Scholarships

The University of Glasgow is offering four scholarships (one per college) for applicants to the University who are staying in the UK on humanitarian grounds and are facing challenges in progressing onto Higher Education. The scholarship is open to prospective undergraduate and postgraduate taught students of the University of Glasgow applying for entry in 2021/22. The scholarship meets the full cost of tuition fees for the duration of your programme as well providing an additional £5,000 per year stipend, if the eligibility criteria for university accommodation is met this will also be provided for the duration of your degree. For more information on the accommodation criteria, please see the Accommodation Services section on the website.

We are also offering eight scholarships to students who hold refugee status. This scholarship is awarded as a £2,500 stipend towards study costs, per year of study.

The scholarships above are specific to this programme. For more funding opportunities search the scholarships database

How to apply

Full-time students must apply through the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). The University will accept Centre or Teacher Assessed Grades in lieu of exam results.

SQA applicants who are eligible for our Widening Participation programmes are encouraged to participate in one or more of these programmes, including Summer School, to support your application and the transition to higher education.

International students to Arts, Engineering, Law, Nursing, Science, and Social Sciences can also apply using The Common Application: however, if applying to more than one UK university, we recommend using UCAS. Applications to Dentistry, Education, Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine must be made through UCAS.

Application deadlines

  • 15 October: if including Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine or also applying to Oxford or Cambridge
  • 29 January: all other UK/EU applicants (unless otherwise stated on the UCAS website): this has been extended from 15 January 2021 due to covid restrictions.
  • 30 June: international (non-EU) students

We do not usually accept any applications after these deadlines.

It's your responsibility to ensure the accuracy of your application before submission. Requests to correct application content, change degree programme or change college of entry, will not be accepted after these deadlines. This policy is in place to ensure fairness and consistency to all applicants, and no exceptions will be made.

How to apply for Advanced Entry

Apply for year 2 (Y2) on your UCAS application. If the specific subject is unavailable for Advanced Entry or your application for year 2 entry is unsuccessful, you will be automatically considered for year 1 entry. You do not have to submit a separate UCAS application.

Apply via UCAS

More information about this programme

7th in UK

Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide [English]

Times Good university guide

Helen: Entrepreneur

Helen used the skills she gained in writing, marketing and design through her English Literature/English Language degree to launch her own distillery company from her family farm in Pitlochry.

Times Good university guide

7th in UK

Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide [English]