English Linguistics - Master's Programme in English

Academic year 2021/2022

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In the Master's Programme in English, specialising in English Linguistics, you will learn about the history and development of the English language from its earliest days up to the present, including the spread of the language around the world, leading to its unique global status. You will gain insight into the social significance of variation in English - how the language is used in developing identities-both in countries where it is traditionally spoken and around the world.

Why this programme?

Specialising in English Linguistics helps you to become an expert on the English language by studying its history, its structure, its global distribution, its social significance, and its acquisition in language classrooms around the world. You will study how individuals learn English, and how teachers can best facilitate the process of language acquisition.

You will be trained in the methods of corpus linguistics, which make use of the vast databases available for testing hypotheses about the language and learn how to write research papers in English linguistics, adhering to high standards of academic writing and responsible citation practices. You will also be encouraged to specialise in an area of English linguistics that particularly interests you, developing a tailor-made reading course that prepares you to perform a smaller independent research project, which in turn prepares you to carry out a larger project and write an Master's thesis.

During the programme you can expect to:

  • specialise in the area of English linguistics that interests you
  • study history, structure, global distribution, social significance and learning of the English language in one programme
  • learn methods for carrying out empirical studies and contribute to our understanding of this uniquely global language.
The courses in the programme draw on the specialised knowledge of the department members, who are experts in historical linguistics, corpus linguistics, grammar, pragmatics, sociolinguistics, and other areas of English linguistics. You will also be able to choose two elective courses from the broad offering of the Faculty of Languages at Uppsala University. All the courses involve small seminar-type meetings in which you are expected to discuss relevant topics and present your own research. Active participation and a commitment to original research are key aspects of the programme.

Student profile
Your command of the English language is already very good and you are naturally curious about nuances in language. You enjoy studying in a cosmopolitan environment and articulating complex ideas in challenging seminar settings. You are extremely motivated and willing to take responsibility for your own success and you are used to planning your own work and keeping deadlines.

You like working independently and in an international environment. Your social skills are very good and you enjoy articulating your thoughts and expressing your opinion in front of your fellow students. You are willing to take responsibility for your own success and you are used to planning your own work.

A PhD education is a distinct possibility in your future so you value coming in close contact with current research and prominent researchers in your field.


The programme leads to a Master of Arts (120 credits) with English as the main field of study. After one year of study, it may also be possible to obtain a Master of Arts (60 credits).

All specialisations of this programme


The Master's Programme in English, specialising in English Linguistics, consists of two years of full-time study. In the first two semesters, you will take eight core courses (each worth 7.5 credits) in areas such as language in society, World Englishes, corpus linguistics, the history of English, and second language acquisition. Many of these modules include elements of both modern and historical periods of the English language, allowing you to study English from both a synchronic and a diachronic perspective.

In the third semester, you will select an area of specialisation and do a tailor-made course in your selected area, as well as write a paper that can serve as a springboard for your Master's thesis. You also take two elective courses from the offerings of the Faculty of Languages. Another option is to do an internship, worth 7.5 credits in your third semester, or study abroad. In the fourth term, you will do a personal degree project culminating in a Master's thesis.

Courses within the programme

Semester 1
Language in Society: Theory, Analysis and Interpretation 7.5 credits
World Englishes: Social and Linguistic Perspectives 7.5 credits
Introduction to Corpus Linguistics 7.5 credits
From Project to Paper: Writing about Linguistic Research 7.5 credits

Semester 2
Second Language Acquisition: Theoretical and Practical Approaches 7.5 credits
Teaching English in Language Classrooms Today 7.5 credits
English in Transition I 7.5 credits
English in Transition II 7.5 credits

Semester 3
Specialisation: Reading Course in a Selected Topic Area 7.5 credits
Essay in Area of Specialisation 7.5 credits
Elective course I 7.5 credits
Elective course II 7.5 credits OR Practical Placement

Semester 4
Degree project 30 credits

Language in Society: Theory, Analysis and Interpretation
Language serves a powerful role in society, in that it can send a - sometimes subtle, sometimes strong - message to other people about an individual's background and social identity. In order to increase our understanding of how language is used by individuals and groups in society, sociolinguistic research uses different analytical methods to investigate and interpret empirical linguistic data.

World Englishes: Social and Linguistic Perspectives
This course provides insight into the historical reasons behind the global expansion of the English language. You will study various theoretical models of World Englishes and learn about sociolinguistic concepts concerning linguistic variability, including language contact, linguistic convergence and divergence, and factors influencing the process of standardisation. The course also focuses on language planning with regard to world varieties of English, with special attention given to policies and praxis in school and university settings.

Introduction to Corpus Linguistics
This course introduces you to language corpora, or databases of language data, as a resource for linguistic analysis. The course presents a survey of existing synchronic and diachronic English-language corpora and teaches the use of variety of corpus tools. It emphasizes an understanding of important concepts in corpus-based research, including quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis.

From Project to Paper: Writing about Linguistic Research
This course aims to make you more aware of the importance of the writing process and how to use it to write better research papers. The course includes practical exercises in composing abstracts, summaries and reviews of academic texts, as well as conference presentations.

Second Language Acquisition: Theoretical and Practical Approaches
In this course, you will acquire more advanced knowledge about both theory and method in Second Language Acquisition. We focus on the acquisition of English. The course provides an overview of recent research findings and methods.

Teaching English in Language Classrooms Today
This course focuses on methods for teaching English grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. Teaching pragmatics and differences in cultural backgrounds also make up an important part of the course. You will learn to apply the most important theories of second language acquisition in developing your own teaching methods.

English in Transition I
In this course, you will be introduced to the early stages of the history of the English language. After a brief introduction to the Germanic pre-history of English, we first address Old English (before c. 1100) before moving on to Middle English (c. 1100-1500).

English in Transition II
In English Transition II, the English language as it was used between c. 1500 and 1945 is in focus. The course not only complements English in Transition I in terms of its diachronic span but also functions as a bridge between the history of English as a taught subject and English historical linguistics as a research discipline.

Learning experience

In the core courses, you will meet with your teacher and fellow students in small groups in a seminar setting. All of the students are expected to do the assigned reading and actively engage with the material of the course, coming to class prepared to discuss and explore the topics at hand. In-class student presentations are frequent, as each student will specialise in a slightly different area, meaning that everyone can learn from everyone else. At the same time, you will be engaged in independent research and writing under the guidance of your teacher. Every course emphasizes original research, slowly building up the skills required to undertake your Master's thesis project.

In the independent study and writing courses, you will work closely with a tutor to narrow down an area of investigation, build up a reading list, and write an original research paper that prepares you to tackle the thesis project.

The MA thesis, which is written during the final term, is a text of approximately 13 000 words in which you will demonstrate your ability to make a contribution to a specific area within English linguistics. In it, you will present original research in solid academic prose, adhering to the highest standards of intellectual and scholarly rigor. This will demonstrate your ability to embark on a career as a scholar or in any other area in which a thorough mastery of English and intellectual work at a high level are required.

English is the working language of the department of English. In the Master's program, instruction, class discussions, and examinations are in English, as are all teaching materials.


Completing the Master's Programme in English, specialising in English Linguistics, will help you to develop intellectually, refining your research and analytical skills in ways that will prepare you either for doctoral study or for employment beyond the university in a wide array of fields.

Our programme has been producing successful graduates for over ten years. The skills they have learned in the programme are those required in a host of areas such as journalism and media, publishing, library work, tourism and creative industries, translation, and many more. If you are keen on pursuing a career in academic, the programme will provide excellent preparation for further studies at the doctoral level. Several of our graduates have gone on do a PhD and become university lecturers.

Career Support
During your whole time as a student UU Careers offers you support and guidance. You have the opportunity to partake in a variety of career activities and events, as well as receive individual career counselling. This service is free of charge for all students at Uppsala University. Read more about UU Careers.


Below you will find the details about eligibility requirements, selection criteria, and tuition fee. For information on how to apply and what documents you need to submit, check the application guide. For this programme, besides the general supporting documents, you also need to submit two programme-specific documents: 1. a statement of purpose; 2. one or two independently written academic essays totalling no less than 8 000 words. The issues treated in the essay and the method used should preferably be relevant to the selected specialisation of the Master's programme.

These two programme-specific documents should be sent via email to masters@engelska.uu.se
Submit all other supporting documents to www.universityadmissions.se as instructed in the application guide.

English Linguistics

120 credits

Autumn 2021, 100%, Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application deadline: 15 January 2021

Application code: UU-M5153 Application

Language of instruction: English

Requirements: A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university. The main field of study must be English or an equivalent subject.

Selection: Students are selected based on:

  • a total appraisal of quantity and quality of previous university studies; and
  • a statement of purpose (1 page) and
  • the quality of the Bachelor's thesis/degree project.
Tuition fee-paying students and non-paying students are admitted on the same grounds but in different selection groups.


If you are not a citizen of a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) country, or Switzerland, you are required to pay application and tuition fees. Fees cover application and tuition only and do not cover accommodation, academic literature or the general cost of living. Read more about fees.

Application fee: SEK 900

Tuition fee, first semester: SEK 50,000

Tuition fee, total: SEK 200,000

Contact and further resources


For programme-specific questions, please contact the Study Counsellor


+46 18 471 12 47

For admissions-related or general information, please contact our applicant support team:


Department of English

Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3 L

Box 527, 751 20 Uppsala

018-471 1247 018-471 1245


Programme start and registration

Once you have been admitted to the Master's Program in English, you must register to begin your studies. Once you have activated your student account, log in to Ladok for students and register for the program's first course called From Project to Paper: Writing about Linguistic Research. To keep your place, you must register no later than 22 August. The department will arrange your registration for the other courses within term 1.

If you have been conditionally admitted, you must prove your eligibility before you can register. Contact the program's study counsellor no later than 23 August, to be sure to keep your place.

If you are placed as a reserve, you will be contacted by e-mail if you can be offered a place. We start contacting reserves no earlier than 23 August.

The program starts with information and teaching on 30 August. More about the program start can be found on the program's page in Studium.