English Linguistics - MA

Course Overview

The essential course information

How to apply
Online Learning (2-7 years)
School of English
Distance Learning- This course is offered via distance learning.
English Linguistics Course graphic

New scholarships for 2015/16

Postgraduate Scholarships We're aiming to make a postgraduate qualification more affordable and can offer awards of up to £10,000 to selected students.

Find out more about scholarship opportunities for 2015/16

Take this flexible, online, distance-learning masters degree and you'll delve deep into the fascinating field of English linguistics.

You can start the course at any time of the year, from anywhere in the world, and develop the deep analytical and language skills necessary for the teaching of English and many other careers.

Incorporating both synchronic and diachronic perspectives and covering a wide range of linguistic methods and approaches, English Linguistics enables you to reflect critically on issues in the study of language and undertake independent research in the field.

Study online by distance learning

The course has been going strong for 20 years and was taught by distance from the outset.

It continues to evolve and is now delivered via the 'Moodle' virtual learning environment, with online study materials to guide you through the topics covered and provide links to other resources.

You will also need to use textbooks, and a full reading list is provided with each module syllabus.

Regular contact with your tutor

You will have regular contact with your module tutor by email, telephone, fax or post, or even in person if appropriate. An online discussion forum is available so that you can contact other students if you wish.

In addition, we offer periodic seminar talks where you can meet the course team and other students.

All distance learning students have the use of the facilities of the University’s library, including off-campus access to electronic databases and e-books.

For students in the UK, the library operates a postal loan service (postal charges apply; postal loan service not available to distance learners outside the UK - more details).

Key Facts

  • You will be fully supported throughout the course by a tutor assigned to you when you begin each module.
  • The course is taught by some of the leading authorities in the field.
  • We pride ourselves on the level of support we offer and have often been praised for the quality and promptness of our responses.
  • Each module takes around 200 hours to complete (including the assignments).
  • Although this is described as a 'part-time' course, you decide how much time to devote to your studies and you can study full-time if you wish. 
  • You have up to 8 months to complete a module, but it is possible to do so in around 4-5 months with 10-12 study hours each week. On this basis, the PG Diploma could be completed in 2-3 years. The maximum registration period is 7 years.

Download the Course Programme Specification

Entry Requirements

You would normally have a UK or internationally recognised honours degree, or its equivalent, in any relevant subject. An alternative would be an ordinary degree/teaching certificate and two to three years' teaching experience.

For anyone who has studied at undergraduate level in a non-English-speaking country, we also require an English Language qualification equivalent to a British Council IELTS score of 7.0.

How to Apply

To apply for MA English Linguistics, simply click on the Apply Online button below.

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our pdf application form instead.

If you have any questions about applying, please contact us.

Fees and Finance

Fees for students from the UK or EU countries?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Jan 2015 OL 2-7 years MA See below
Feb 2015 OL 2-7 years MA See below
Mar 2015 OL 2-7 years MA See below
Apr 2015 OL 2-7 years MA See below
May 2015 OL 2-7 years MA See below
Jun 2015 OL 2-7 years MA See below
Jul 2015 OL 2-7 years MA See below
Aug 2015 OL 2-7 years MA See below
Sep 2015 OL 2-7 years MA See below
Oct 2015 OL 2-7 years MA See below
Nov 2015 OL 2-7 years MA See below
Fees for students from non-EU countries (International)?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Jan 2015 OL 2-7 years MA See below
Feb 2015 OL 2-7 years MA See below
Mar 2015 OL 2-7 years MA See below
Apr 2015 OL 2-7 years MA See below
May 2015 OL 2-7 years MA See below
Jun 2015 OL 2-7 years MA See below
Jul 2015 OL 2-7 years MA See below
Aug 2015 OL 2-7 years MA See below
Sep 2015 OL 2-7 years MA See below
Oct 2015 OL 2-7 years MA See below
Nov 2015 OL 2-7 years MA See below

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

  • £450 per 15-credit module
  • £900 per 30-credit module
  • £1,800 for 60-credit dissertation

Fees are payable on a module by module basis as you progress through the course. You are not required to pay for the whole course upfront.

Please note that the above fees are for all students - Home, EU and International.

New scholarships for 2015/16

Postgraduate Scholarships We're aiming to make a postgraduate qualification more affordable and can offer awards of up to £10,000 to selected students.

Find out more about scholarship opportunities for 2015/16

International Students

International Students at BCU

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK. Our reputation for excellence is soaring globally, thanks to the superb links we forge with industry, our international alliances, and our focus on practical, vocational learning.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

University Approach to Employability

Birmingham City University is committed to preparing students for successful employability and professional careers. We have an innovative approach to employability that will help you obtain an interesting and well-paid graduate job.

Read our Employability Statement to find out more.

Further Studies

The School of English is very active in research, with excellent 2008 RAE results. MPhil and PhD opportunities may be available. Please get in touch for more information. For further information on courses contact Birmingham City University Choices. Tel: 0121 331 5595. Email: choices@bcu.ac.uk, or go direct to the courses section of the website.

Course Structure

The course is made up of two components: 'taught' modules and a dissertation. Successful completion of each module will gain you a number of credits. As you progress through the course, the accumulation of credits will enable you to gain a series of staged qualifications as follows:

Award: PgC

Language Description (15 credits) Core module

Language and Social Variation (30 credits) Core module

Option I (30 credits)

Award: PgD

Option II (30 credits)

Data, Theory & Method (15 credits) Core module

Award: MA

Dissertation: 15-20,000 words (60 credits)

Course Modules

For the PG Diploma, you will take five modules. There are three core modules and a further two optional modules. On successful completion of these modules, you can proceed to the dissertation.

Core modules:
Optional modules:

Assessment Methods

The course is assessed entirely by coursework. For each module you will have two assignments that count towards your overall mark. You will need to gain an average of 50% in order to pass the module. The assignments are of many different kinds, including essays, reports, transcription and other analytical exercises. Many of these encourage you to develop and carry out your own research projects so that you can relate the modules to your own context and experiences.

The dissertation is a small scale research project that you will carry out under the guidance of a supervisor assigned to you from the course team.

Andrew Kehoe

Associate Professor, Deputy Head of School, Director of Research, MA Course Director

Andrew Kehoe is Deputy Head of School, Director of Research, and Director of the Research and Development Unit for English Studies (RDUES). He studied at the University of Liverpool, gaining qualifications in both English and Computer Science. He researches in the field of Corpus Linguistics, with a particular emphasis on the use of the web as a source of natural language data and on the development of software tools to facilitate this.

Andrew was lead software developer on the WebCorp project and manager of the JISC-funded eMargin project, building an online collaborative text annotation tool for use in teaching. He also led the School of English return to REF2014 and wrote a blog post on the School's outstanding performance.

Andrew is an elected member of the executive committee of University English and the executive board of the International Computer Archive of Modern and Medieval English (ICAME). He has co-edited two volumes on Corpus Linguistics, and published widely in the field.

Andrew is Course Director of the School's distance-learning MA in English Linguistics, and is currently co-ordinating the relocation of the School to the University's city centre campus.

Professor Richard Ingham

Professor of English Linguistics

Richard Ingham holds degrees from the Universities of Oxford and London, and has previously taught at the University of Reading. His teaching profile includes language acquisition, English grammar, and the linguistic history of English. His research interests are in language acquisition and change, with special reference to English.

He has published in a large number of international refereed journals, such as Journal of Child Language, Linguistics, Lingua, Language Variation and Change, Transactions of the Philological Society, Linguistische Berichte, Medium Ævum and Zeitschrift für Romanische Philologie. His most frequently cited publications are on Middle English negation and pronoun use in English child language.

His current research focus is on in language in medieval England, especially English-French bilingualism. He has organised two British Academy-funded workshops on contact influences between English and French held here in 2007 and 2008. Following an ACU/BA funded research partnership scheme with the University of Cyprus, targeting leading issues in English historical syntax, he is co-investigator on a Leverhulme-funded research project into cycles of grammatical change.

Dr Robert Lawson

Lecturer & Joint BA Course Director

Dr Robert Lawson completed his ESRC-funded PhD thesis at the University of Glasgow in 2009 which focused on urban adolescent language use in Glasgow. During the course of his PhD, he completed a period of overseas research training at the University of Arizona, taught a range of undergraduate courses at the University of Glasgow and University of Stirling, and presented at a number of international conferences.

Since starting in his role at Birmingham City University, Dr Lawson has continued to focus on language use in Scotland and the UK, as well as the application of sociolinguistic research beyond academia. In the academic year 2012/13, he was seconded to the University of Pittsburgh as the recipient of the Fulbright Scholar's Award in Scottish Studies, during which he completed a major edited volume about sociolinguistic research in Scotland and started a longer term project examining the application and impact of sociolinguistic research beyond academia (with Dr Dave Sayers).

Dr Lawson is also working on a project with Dr Ursula Lutzky which analyses patterns of interruption and turn-taking in the television show 'Mock the Week' and examines these patterns in relation to issues of institutional sexism in the entertainment industry.

Professor Mark Addis

Professor of Philosophy

Mark primarily focuses upon Wittgenstein and related areas but also has active research interests in the philosophies of language, mind, and religion. He has published three books on Wittgenstein, namely, Wittgenstein: Making Sense of Other Minds (1999), Wittgenstein and Philosophy of Religion (2001) and Wittgenstein: A Guide for the Perplexed (2006).

Mark's contributions to the study of Wittgenstein are widely cited across academic disciplines within the humanities and social sciences, and have received international recognition. He is the General Editor for the Philosophy Insights series at Humanities-Ebooks.

In 2005, Mark was a Visiting Scholar at the Department of Philosophy at Georgia State University and from 2007 onwards a Visiting Professor at the Department of Philosophy at Aarhus University.

He is a Research Associate at the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science at the London School of Economics and Deputy Director for the Centre for the Study of Expertise at Brunel University.

Mark is a member of the Schools and Executive Committee of the British Philosophical Association and the AHRC Peer Review College (2007 - 2014). He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Dr Ursula Lutzky

Senior Lecturer & Joint BA Course Director

Ursula Lutzky studied English, French and Finnish at the University of Vienna, where she completed her MA in English and French studies and her PhD in English linguistics. Her PhD thesis, which was awarded a DOC-scholarship by the Austrian Academy of Sciences, contributes to the field of historical pragmatics, dealing with the use and distribution of the discourse markers 'marry', 'well' and 'why' in Early Modern English. This project involved the extension of the 'Sociopragmatic Corpus' (Jonathan Culpeper, Lancaster University) through the annotation of sixteenth and early seventeenth century drama texts, showing that corpus methods can reveal new insights into socio-pragmatic phenomena. Ursula published this work in the monograph 'Discourse Markers in Early Modern English' (Benjamins, 2012), which received the European Society for the Study of English Book Award 2014.

Ursula Lutzky previously worked as a lecturer and research assistant at the English department of Vienna University (2005-2010). She has presented and organised workshops at numerous international conferences, published in the field of her research interests and adopted several editorial responsibilities, having been a member of the editorial boards of the Vienna English Working Papers and Folia Linguistica Historica.

Professor Howard Jackson

Visiting Lecturer

Howard Jackson gained his PhD from Reading University, and his research interests are in English Grammar, Vocabulary and Lexicography. Howard Jackson has written eight books (for Longman and Routledge among others) and numerous articles on grammar, vocabulary and lexicography. An invited speaker at conferences all over Europe, he continues to enjoy an international reputation for his work.


Prospective students from the UK
  • Take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions for answers to a range of questions about our courses and studying here.
  • If you need further help, you can contact the Course Enquiries Team online by using the Course Enquiry Form.
  • Alternatively, call us on +44 (0)121 331 5595.
Prospective students from outside the UK


For an overview of our postgraduate courses and a range of other information please download our Postgraduate Prospectus (10Mb).

Further Information

Tel: +44 (0)121 331 7279 (Admissions Officer)
Tel: +44 (0)121 331 5636 (Admissions Tutor)

Email: english@bcu.ac.uk
Web: www.bcu.ac.uk/english