Developmental Linguistics at The University of Edinburgh - UCAS

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Course summary

This programme will develop your understanding of how language knowledge is acquired and how it changes as people acquire or lose language at various points in their life. The programme places equal emphasis on first language acquisition, second language acquisition and bilingualism, making it an ideal choice for those who wish to have a broad knowledge in language development studies with a particular focus on empirical/experimental research. Our skills-oriented training means graduates of the programme will be equipped with cutting-edge research skills in developmental linguistic and other related areas. Key research areas This programme will help you gain intellectual and practical skills to engage in developmental linguistics research, either for its own sake, or as part of cross-disciplinary research. This highly flexible MSc draws on the University of Edinburgh’s unparalleled research expertise in linguistics. Linguistics and English language at Edinburgh has access to a wide breadth of research themes, with the greatest theoretical depth that you will find anywhere. This programme gives you the flexibility to choose courses and research topics to suit your academic interests and goals. The department has multiple overlapping research groups, covering everything from meaning and grammar to language evolution. Linguistics & English Language is rated 3rd in the UK by Times Higher Education for the quality and breadth of the research using the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021). What will I learn? The programme offers knowledge and research skills in understanding how our linguistic competence changes as we acquire or lose language at various points in our lifespan. Joining a vibrant research community of developmental linguists, you will have the opportunity to carry out advanced research to try to answer questions related to the area of language development and bilingualism. Some of the central topics you will learn about are:

  • How do children learn language?
  • How do adults learn a second language?
  • How do bilinguals accommodate two languages in their mind?
  • What happens when we forget a language?
You can also take advantage of the interdisciplinary department and draw on teaching and research both elsewhere in the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences and within other relevant Schools. Is this MSc for me? The programme is designed primarily for graduates with a background related to linguistics and/or psychology who wish to develop their knowledge of current research on language acquisition - first, second, bilingual, and impaired. You will also look at language change from a cognitive perspective and from the point of view of current linguistic theories. You will benefit from the programme's strengths in:
  • Scope - which places equal emphasis on first and second language acquisition and bilingualism, making it an ideal choice for those looking to gain a broad knowledge in language development studies with focus on empirical/experimental research
  • Interdisciplinary teaching - allowing you to tailor your studies to your interests
  • Skill-oriented training - through methodology courses, lab sessions and project work, you will be equipped with cutting-edge research skills
Reputation, relevance and employability Edinburgh has a proud and distinguished place in the teaching in Linguistics and you will be taught by world-leading experts. Our Linguistics and English Language department is home to academics leading research into a wide range of topics. You will also have the opportunity to select option courses and attend research seminars across different disciplines. Our students’ research projects are often published in academic or professional journals. We have an excellent reputation amongst employers and further research opportunities. Many of our graduates have gone onto PhD training and we have a high academic job placement record.


See our website for detailed programme information.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for individual programmes vary, so please check the details for the specific programme you wish to apply for on our website. You will also need to meet the University’s language requirements.

Fees and funding

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Developmental Linguistics at The University of Edinburgh - UCAS