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Key information

Qualification type

MA - Master of Arts

Subject areas


Course type


Course Summary

In this course, you study the nuts and bolts of language: sound systems, word structure, sentence structure, and how meaning is conveyed. Learn about the different theories that have been proposed to account for human linguistic ability. In this degree you will learn what human languages share, and where they differ. Our course will interest you if you want a formal and empirical grounding in all core areas of linguistics, and are keen to evaluate the major theoretical approaches in these disciplines.

Our course can lead to careers in areas such as academic research, publishing, journalism, administration, public service and teaching. You develop key employability skills including research design, data analysis, thinking analytically, report writing and public speaking. We work with the University’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities. Within our Department of Language and Linguistics, we also offer supervision for PhD and MPhil. Our graduates are successful in a wide variety of career paths. They leave Essex with a unique set of skills and experience that are in demand by employers.

Different course options

Full time | Colchester Campus | 1 year | OCT-19

Study mode

Full time


1 year

Start date



This module offers an introduction to Dynamic Syntax (DS) – a grammar formalism which aims to reflect the real-time parsing/production process. There is a broad consensus that humans process linguistic input in real time. However, the dynamics of this process have traditionally not been reflected in most formal accounts of linguistic knowledge. Dynamic Syntax seeks to address this gap by providing a model of the way in which hearers incrementally build semantic representation (and interpretation) from information provided by words in context. The first part of this model will constitute an introduction to the basic tools and mechanisms employed by the DS framework. We will look at the Logic of Finite Trees and how trees grow, as well as the mechanisms used to represent underspecification. The second part of the course will be dedicated to exploring a range of cross-linguistic phenomena through the adoption of the tools provided by the framework. Topics will include clitic placement in Romance and Greek, auxiliary placement in Bantu languages, cleft constructions in Japanese and inversion constructions.

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


International fees
Course fees for non-UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


Entry requirements

Students need to have 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 discipline but which contains a substantial element of education, linguistics, language studies or teaching (English).