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Masters in Linguistics (M.Phil.)

Applications for 2015/16 will open on 2 November 2014

"not only gave me a competency in linguistics, but also a sense of professional focus and personal confidence ... enjoyed it thoroughly" ... "good mixture of theoretical models and practical examples ... allowed me to see the bigger picture ... gave me a chance to explore the fascinating world of human languages from a more scientific perspective"

Student testimonials

Campanile and Graduates' Memorial Building

Detailed information (all M.Phil. courses): Frequently Asked Questions

Application deadline: 30 June 2014

Full-time: one year, 6 to 8 hours per week of classes.

Part-time: two years, two to six hours per week of classes.

Information on how to apply: Graduate Studies Office website

Apply now: via this page

Course Handbook 2013-14: PDF | MS Word. (Subject to change for 2014-2015)

Course Co-ordinator: Dr. Breffni O'Rourke

Related Masters programmes

Linguistics is the systematic study of human language. It has its roots in antiquity, though the twentieth century saw an explosion of research and the development of new theories and approaches. Linguistics has become an exciting and vigorous area of study, with strong connections to many fields including psychology, sociology, anthropology, cognitive science, computer science, and philosophy.

Language is complex, and linguistics attempts to describe and explain the full range of that complexity, especially speech sounds, the grammar of words and sentences, and how meaning relates to words, grammar and context. The M.Phil. in linguistics gives due weight to all of these, with core modules in Describing Grammar, Describing Meaning, Describing the Sounds of Languages, and Laboratory Phonetics and Phonology. A varied menu of optional modules gives students the opportunity to investigate social, psychological, historical and advanced topics in linguistic theory.

The M.Phil. in Linguistics has been running for nearly 30 years. Our students -- who are not expected to have any background in linguistics -- have in some cases come from language professions (translating, interpreting, teaching, speech and language therapy, publishing...), or direct from undergraduate degrees which include language-centred elements (English, modern languages and literature, anthropology, classics, psychology, sociology). In other cases, they have simply been people who are intrigued by language and wish to study it in a more systematic fashion. In general, the M.Phil. in Linguistics is likely to appeal to students with a talent for careful, systematic argument, and who wish to understand the mysteries of language.

Our alumni have followed various career paths in the professions named above, with many opting to pursue research at a higher level through the Ph.D., in CLCS or elsewhere. For some, Ph.D. research has led to professional academic employment.

What does the programme look like?

You take four obligatory ‘core’ modules:

  • Describing Grammar
  • Describing Meaning
  • Describing the Sounds of Languages
  • Laboratory Phonetics and Phonology

...and choose two from among the following menu of elective modules:

  • Bilingualism and the Maintenance of Irish
  • Language Variation and Change
  • History and Globalisation of English
  • Corpus Linguistics
  • Advanced Syntactic Theory
  • Technology, Language, and Communication
  • Linguistic Pragmatics
  • Multilingualism
  • Second Language Teaching

The modules are taught in Michaelmas and Hilary terms, and students prepare and write a 15,000-word dissertation in Trinity term and the long vacation (April-August).

What will I learn?

On successful completion of the course, graduates should be able to:

  • engage in the description and analysis of language
  • debate central concepts in linguistics and phonetics
  • discuss advanced topics in linguistics, incorporating cognitive, formal, and social perspectives on language
  • undertake research in linguistics, having due regard to the ethical, empirical, and theoretical aspects of this research

communicate the results of their research on topics in linguistics through written papers, oral presentations, and other means where appropriate.

Further information

Read our Frequently Asked Questions on the M.Phil. in Linguistics and related M.Phil. programmes.

For a more in-depth insight into the shape and content of the programme, please consult our current course handbook. Note that the information provided in the handbook is subject to change from year to year.

Telephone: +353-1-8961560



Application closing date: 30 June 2014 (late applications may be considered).

For information on how to apply, go to the Graduate Studies Office website

To apply now, please follow this link.

The Graduate Studies Office website provides details of College's general entry requirements as well as detailed information on the application procedure. International students whose first language is not English should see in addition Trinity's English language requirements.

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Last updated 24 October 2014 by