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Masters in English Language

Student of Masters in English Language A masters in English Language is unlike doing any other language degree. If you do any other language at the masters degree level you can expect to do work on things such as translation and interpreting. You will also find that often, a masters course in another language includes working on literature in that language, but when it comes to studying an English Language MA, you’ll find none of that, so if that’s your field of interest you may want to consider studying an English Literature MA instead.

Generally, an English Language masters will involve a year long course done full-time on campus. Of course, it’s possible to do it part-time , which would make it two years or possibly three, or via distance-learning which depending on the university can stretch on beyond that. Once you have successfully completed the postgraduate program you will be awarded your MA (link) in English Language.

Your learning experience will depend on where you go and how much research versus taught work you do. In general though it will be similar to an undergraduate course – there will be lectures tutorials and classes along with essays to complete. The big difference in doing a Masters in English Language from your bachelors program will be the dissertation .

English Language MA

The aims of an English Language MA course are different to what one may expect from a language course as we said earlier. In general, it allows you to specialise in more depth than an undergraduate course into the history and linguistics of the English Language. During the course you’ll cover a lot of topics about English Language. These could include the study of approaches to English linguistic history, work into research methods, and a study of the socio-historical contexts of the English language. Other areas may include looking at the varieties of English – from regional differences to global ones, and the morphology and phonology of English. You may also get the chance to specialise in something detailed like language and identity, how language and gender relate, or how language works within narrative. The options are broad, and you can also often pick up something from a related subject if the university allows.

By now you may have noticed that there is a lot of overlap with the area known as linguistics. In some cases, it may be worth looking up Linguistics degrees as well, depending on which areas you wish to focus on most. In some cases, a distinction won’t be made and you may find courses listed as ‘English Language and Linguistics’ or similar.

English Language Masters Funding

What sort of funding is available for English Language Masters? It’s basically the standard funding available to most masters courses so a good starting point is our funding guide . The basic ways of funding it, however, are:


You put up the money yourself. This is either money you’ve saved or are earning whilst on the course, or money you’ve borrowed. We’re including loans here because the responsibility is on you to organise your own loan, to co-ordinate the payments, and to pay it back. Many banks offer graduate loans with lower interest rates, and some offer student loans aimed at postgraduates.

University Bursaries

Depending on where you’re applying, there may be scholarship and bursaries available to you. Some of these will be open to all courses, and some may only be open to those doing an MA in English Language. These will be fairly competitive, so you’ll want to get your application in early if you are relying on this form of funding to study your English Language MA. These awards can be anything from a couple of hundred pounds to a full-fee and stipend, so make sure to do your research!

Charities and Trusts

There are tons of charities out there with funds targeted at specific types of people. Sometimes it’s an award that’s been left in a will, sometimes it’s a society with really specific members. Either way, there are groups of people out there waiting for applications. Often, these will only be open to people from certain locations, with certain backgrounds, or doing certain degrees. Take a look for those aimed specifically at English Language students!

MA in English Language Qualification Requirements

Let’s say you’ve sorted your funding. What sort of qualifications are required for you to study a masters in English Language?

Firstly, and most importantly, you need an upper second class honours degree (a 2.1) or equivalent in either linguistics, English language or another related subject.

Then, if your first language isn’t English, you’ll need to demonstrate a certain competency in English shown by IELTS or other similar results.

So that’s an English Language MA! For more tips of postgraduate study, check out our advice section.

Useful Links:

Postgrad Solutions Study Bursaries

How to choose and apply for a postgraduate program

How to get the most out of your masters program

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