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.

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

English language requirements

Important information for entry in Autumn 2020 and January 2021

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

  • overall score 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)

Common equivalent English language qualifications:

  • ibTOEFL*: 90; no sub-test less than: Reading: 20; Listening: 19; Speaking: 19; Writing: 23
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall: no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 176 overall: no sub-test less than 169
  • PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59
  • IGCSE: English as a First Language (0500/0522): C in Reading and Writing, plus 1 in Listening, 2 in Speaking, where applicable. All four components (listening, writing, speaking, reading) must be examined and detailed on results slip
  • IGCSE: English as a Second Language (0510/0511): A in Reading and Writing, plus A in Listening, 2/B in Speaking, where applicable. All four components (listening, writing, speaking, reading) must be examined and detailed on results slip
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII at Distinction with Distinction in all sub-tests

* Please note that TOEFL is still acceptable for admission to this programme for both home/EU and international students.

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use TOEFL to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level courses. We therefore still accept TOEFL tests taken in the last two years 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.

RUK Access Bursary 2020 Entry

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 2020/21, as being domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and paying annual tuition fees of £9,250 per annum.

RUK Excellence Scholarship 2020

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). 

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.

The Martin Niemöller Scholarship (College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences)

The German Speaking Congregation in Glasgow are pleased to offer one scholarship award of £500 for students originating from German speaking countries. The scholarship will support those students in need of financial support at any stage of their degree programme.

All students awarded a Martin Niemöller Scholarship will be asked to submit a short letter of thanks to the Development and Alumni Office for onward transmissions to the donors of the award.

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). 

International students can also apply using The Common Application: however, if applying to more than one UK university, we recommend using UCAS.

Application deadlines

  • 15 October: if including Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine or also applying to Oxford or Cambridge
  • 15 January: all other UK/EU applicants (unless otherwise stated on the UCAS website)
  • 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


English Language students satisfied

Discover Uni, January 2020
study abroad plane


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.

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World top 40: QS World University Rankings [English Language & Literature]

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