About the course
In what way does society influence the way that we use language? And conversely, how far does the way we use language influence society? Can language use impact the class system? Sexism? Mental health?
On our MA Language in Society, you address questions like these through exploration of the stylistic, cognitive and functional aspects of language variation and change. We familiarise you with the foundations of contemporary sociolinguistics, including:
- Language variation and change
- Ethnography of speaking
We additionally offer modules in some of the most prominent sub-disciplines in linguistics such as variation theory, socio-pragmatics, conversation analysis, language contact, language and gender, and language rights.
You also gain first-hand experience of interview, questionnaire and observation data and learn quantitative and qualitative methodologies for coding and analysing sociolinguistic interview and questionnaire data.
We are one of the largest and most prestigious language and linguistics departments in the world, a place where talented students become part of an academic community in which the majority of research is rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014), placing us firmly within the top 10 departments in the UK and ranked among the top 150 departments on the planet according to the QS World [University] Rankings  for linguistics.
If you want a global outlook, are interested in human communication, and want to study for a degree with real-world practical value in a world-class department, welcome to Essex.
Our expert staff
Our staff maintain excellent student-staff ratios with capped language-specific seminars.
In sociolinguistics, Peter Patrick, Rebecca Clift, Enam Al Wer and Vineeta Chand all work on different aspects of how language varies, and investigate which factors cause such variation. Peter is also involved in language rights, and offers expert opinions in asylum cases where language is used to determine origin.
- An exciting programme of research seminars and other events
- Our Languages for All programme offers you the opportunity to study an additional language alongside your course at no extra cost
- Our ‘Visual World’ Experimental Lab records response times and eye movements when individuals are presented with pictures and videos
- Our Eye-Tracking Lab monitors eye movement of individuals performing tasks
- Our Psycholinguistics Lab measures how long it takes individuals to react to words, texts and sounds
- Our Linguistics Lab has specialist equipment to analyse sound
- Our Albert Sloman Library houses a strong collection of books, journals, electronic resources and major archives
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. We offer supervision in areas including language acquisition, language learning and language teaching, culture and communication, psycholinguistics, language disorders, sociolinguistics, and theoretical and descriptive linguistics.
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.
One Masters not enough for you?
We offer a number of postgraduate taught double degrees with our international partners. You work for two Masters degrees, one at Essex and another at a prestigious university across the globe, gaining them both in a shorter time than studying them separately. This unique opportunity gives you a competitive edge when applying for jobs or prepares you for PhD study.
UK entry requirements
We will consider applications with an overall grade of 2:2 and above.
International and EU entry requirements
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries.
for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the
undergraduate qualification you have already completed or are currently taking.
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5 except for 6.0 in writing
If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.
You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.
There is no application deadline but we recommend that you apply before 1 July for our taught courses starting in October. We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.
We hold postgraduate events in February/March and November, and open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:
- tour our campus and accommodation
- find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
- meet our students and staff
If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.