Course information


1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

Scholarship information

Funding available

Course overview

We will be making some changes to the way our programmes will be delivered in 2021-22 to ensure we continue to respond to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. All programmes will be delivered in-person on campus with some specific sessions within each programme being delivered online in a pre-recorded format. Where necessary, changes will also be made to assessment formats.

This Masters programme looks at language from a sociocultural perspective. It's designed for anyone with an interest in the relationship between language, culture and society but also provides a solid understanding of English language and linguistics.

Why study MA Sociocultural Linguistics at Goldsmiths?

  • This postgraduate degree focuses on (socio)linguistics and discourse analysis and enhances your analytic and linguistic skills by introducing different approaches to the analysis of written and spoken language from a range of everyday and institutional contexts.
  • You'll cover topics such as language and ideology, linguistic performances of identity (particularly language and gender, sexuality, ethnicity and social class), language and the media, talk at work, English in a multilingual world, intercultural communication, English as a Lingua Franca, multilingualism and code-switching, and attitudes to different varieties of English.
  • You'll be encouraged to engage with these topics by drawing on your own social, cultural and occupational backgrounds in class discussions and in your written work. The opportunity to explore new interests in written work, including the dissertation (dissertation), has allowed many of our students to forge new career trajectories, e.g. in internationalisation, diversity and inclusion, marketing, advertising, journalism, work for NGOs and many different educational contexts, including language teaching.  
  • You will be encouraged to engage in hands-on analysis of spoken and written language, after receiving training in how to collect, transcribe and analyse different types of language data, in interviews, natural conversational context, and a various written texts and corpora.
  • You will learn how authentic spoken English is used as a resource by speakers to achieve their goals, signal intimacy or dislike, gossip or report, persuade or interview others, position themselves and their identities in different ways. You will learn how written English and other semiotic practices are used to report and to distort, create ingroups and outgroups, reflect and perpetuate ideologies in a variety of print and social media.
  • You'll draw on findings, theories and methodologies from across multiple disciplines, including sociocultural linguistics, pragmatics, discourse analysis, ethnography, semiotics, multimodal analysis, conversational analysis and narrative analysis.
  • The programme’s distinct interdisciplinary ethos is also reflected in your opportunity to choose one module from a selection of relevant option modules in other departments in Goldsmiths, including sociology, anthropology, media, politics, translation and literature.
  • We also run optional academic and research skills sessions throughout the year on reading and essay writing, conducting fieldwork, transcription, oral presentation skills, preparing for dissertation etc.

Recent research activities

To find out more about the kind of research underpinning the teaching on the MA Sociocultural Linguistics, watch the short video below by programme convenor Dr Pia Pichler. Pia recently organised a conference on 'Ethnographies of Language, Gender and Sexuality’ at Goldsmiths. For more information visit the conference website.


For further information about the MA Sociocultural Linguistic, take a look at our Facebook page.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr Pia Pichler.

What you'll study

You will complete two compulsory modules, two option modules, and a dissertation.

Compulsory modules

Please note: Students who have successfully completed a previous linguistics degree may apply to replace one of the following compulsory modules with an additional linguistics option module. You would then complete only one compulsory module, three option modules, and a dissertation. Please state your wish to follow this trajectory clearly in your application and provide detailed information about the content of your previous degree. The final decision will be made by the admissions tutor after reviewing your application.  

Compulsory modules Module title Credits
  Core Issues in English Language & Linguistics 30 credits
  Language in its Sociocultural Context 30 credits

Option modules

You may choose two linguistic options or one linguistic option and one option from other MA programmes within the College, where specifically approved by the Programme Co-ordinator.

Option modules Module title Credits
  Discourse and identity in spoken interaction 30 credits
  English in a Multilingual World 30 credits
  Intercultural Discourse & Communication 30 credits
  Language & Ideology in Written Discourse 30 credits
  English as a Lingua Franca and Language Teaching 30 credits

We also run many optional MA linguistic study skills sessions in which we cover topics such as: fieldwork and methodology; using electronic resources; British academic essay writing & referencing at MA level; giving presentations; planning a dissertation in (socio)linguistics.

You may also choose one non-linguistics module, either from our own department (English and Creative Writing) or from another department. Availability of options across the College varies, but typically you can choose from the following selection. Please note that your choice of option module from another department needs to be discussed with the Programme Co-ordinator of the MA Sociocultural Linguistics in advance.

Sociology options Module title Credits
  What is Culture - Key Theoretical Interventions 30 credits
  Social Media: A Critical Review 30 credits
  Introduction to Feminism and Cultural Theory 30 credits
  Gender, Sexuality and Media 30 credits
  Race, Gender And Social Justice 30 credits
  Stories and the Social World: Identity, Politics, Ethics 30 credits
Media and Communications options Module title Credits
  Political Economy of the Media 15 Credits
  Race, Empire and Nation 15 credits
  Gender Affect and the Body 30 credits
  Social Media in Everyday Life: A global perspective 15 credits
  Race and the Cultural Industries 30 credits
  Promotional Culture 30 credits or 15 credits
Anthropology options Module title Credits
  Anthropology and Gender Theory 15 credits
  Anthropology and Cultural Politics 30 credits
  Anthropology and History 30 credits
Educational Studies options Module title Credits
  Culture, Language and Identity in Education 30 credits
  Race, Culture and Education 30 credits
English and Creative Writing options: Module title Credits
  Studies in Comparative Literature & Criticism 30 credits
  Theories of Literature & Culture 30 credits
  Modern and Contemporary Literary Movements 30 credits
  Literature of the Caribbean & its Diasporas 30 credits
  The Contemporary American Novel in the Era of Climate Change 30 credits
  Interculturality, Text, Poetics 30 credits
  Thinking Translation: Introduction to Translation Theory 30 credits
  Becoming a Translator 30 credits
  Translation for the Cultural Tourism, Hospitality and Cultural Heritage Sectors 30 credits
  Postcolonial Fiction: Theory and Practice 30 credits
  Palestine and Postcolonialism 30 credits
  Caribbean Women Writers 30 credits
  Postmodernist Fiction 30 credits

We also run an optional MA study skills module in which we cover topics such as: fieldwork and methodology; using electronic resources; British academic essay writing & referencing at MA level; planning a dissertation in (socio)linguistics.


You also produce a dissertation. Dissertation topics in the past have included:

  • Representations of BAME students on eight London-based post-92 universities’ web pages
  • Identity construction in migration narratives of ‘Russian’ Jews in Israel
  • Internationalization: the role of language on campus
  • Concepts of culture in the ESOL classroom
  • A discourse-centred analysis of the ideology of Anglo-British nationalism in YouTube comments
  • Discourses of the body in
  • Narrative self-construction in Irish foster care leavers
  • A CDA of an Individual Transgender Experience on Reality Television, A TransQueer Perspective
  • A discursive study of the representation of the victim of a rape in
  • Student Identity in the Meta-Genre of Commercial College Application Essay Guides
  • Belonging and identity of transnational migrants in super-diverse London
  • Language attitudes and ideologies of luso-descendants in Luxembourg
  • Interruptions and gendered discourses in Sicilian couples talk
  • Heteronorms and contested bisexual identity in talk
  • Language ideologies of Bangladeshi Italians in super-diverse east London
  • A critical investigation of metaphor in accent coaching internationalisation & the role of language
  • Gun Ownership as Freedom and Safety: Framing in the Blogosphere
  • Tweeting Saudi Women’s Elections: A Critical Discourse Analysis
  • Framing and discourses of gender and national identity in sports commentary
  • Discursive identity construction in relation to global hip hop culture in young men’s talk
  • Representations of aging in women’s magazines
  • Discursive construction of religious identities in interviews with British Muslim converts
  • Code-switching practices in a Tunisian family
  • Discourse and identities in the SLA classroom
  • Language and gender in dream narratives
  • Pauses and silences on Talk Radio
  • Attitudes towards bilingual signs in Thailand
  • Representations of parenthood in UK parenting magazines
  • Political debates on Irish TV
  • Lifetime narratives of older Asian immigrants in the UK
  • The language of text messaging
  • Language and literacy practices on Facebook
  • Attitudes to non-standard language use
  • Discursive analysis of EFL textbooks
  • Gendered speech style in an all-female group of Iranian friends

The best (UG or MA) linguistics dissertation is rewarded every year with the Hayley Davis Prize. 

Approach to teaching

Our lecture/seminar sessions are designed to combine discussions of preparatory reading materials with tutor-led input and hands-on analyses of data/texts by students. We also tend to invite guest lectures as part of option modules and GoldLingS Seminar Series.

Our MA group is usually very tight-knit, students and student reps organise study/revision groups, online discussion forums, outings to lectures across London, and a number of social events.


Coursework; essays; critical review; blog post; dissertation; presentation

Download the programme specification. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

For 2021-22 and 2020–21, we have made some changes to how the teaching and assessment of certain programmes are delivered. To check what changes affect this programme, please visit the programme changes page.

What our students say

Sally Eales

My year at Goldsmiths was a great experience and the MA provided me with enough of a foundation and confidence in Sociocultural Linguistics to continue on my academic journey

This MA not only provided me with an extremely wide ranging and solid foundation in Sociocultural Linguistics but also with many other crucial aspects needed to help this particular student through a year’s academic study. Classes that were engaging, inclusive and stimulating; tutors who were interesting, informed and supportive and fellow students who were diverse, interesting and well, just very likeable, we explored so many interesting topics such as the use of ‘three part lists’ in rhetoric!

It was fun too, discussions often spilled out from the classroom into one of the many local restaurants, cafes and bars in the immediate vicinity and continued late into the evening.

I came from the Open University having completed a BA in English Language and Literature and, unsure of where I should head next, one visit to Goldsmiths had me hooked. It’s a well-structured degree consisting of both core and option modules, giving students both a good grounding in the core topics whilst also allowing them to specialise in areas that they are particularly interested in.

Its flexibility, with the facility for students to audit other modules, resulted in a module switch for me in a direction I hadn’t initially expected to go but which proved to be one of the most enjoyable and interesting areas I studied. Overall, my year at Goldsmiths was a great experience and the MA provided me with enough of a foundation and confidence in Sociocultural Linguistics to continue on my academic journey to Sheffield where I am now reading for a PhD, one which directly employs some of the linguistic tools we were introduced to on this course, such as discourse analysis and politeness theories. Who isn’t interested in language, what we do with it and how we use it?

From analysing conversations, to the examination of political and ideological implications of language use, to the relationship between language, culture and thought, this MA really does have something for everyone.


"On this course I became a Linguist; one dedicated to exploring my own interests and passions with the knowledge and analytical skill gained on this MA."

"My path to linguistics was not a classic one – if there is such a thing. That’s not a thing, right? Okay great. Before coming to Goldsmiths to study Sociocultural Linguistics I spent four years in an acting conservatory in New Jersey. My path was clear: I was going to be a professional actor. A professional actor who spent all of his free time reading books on accents and dialects and feeding his yet undiscovered desire to be a linguist. I had always loved language, but specifically accents and how they shaped identity.

After drama school I was ready to dig deeper in a different field of study. When I found the MA in Sociocultural Linguistics at Goldsmiths my interest was piqued. I was excited by the idea of being able to study language and culture in an international university, with students and lecturers from around the world. The year did not disappoint.

Strangely - though it is very clearly stated in the title of the course - I did not expect to feel like a linguist when I finished the course. I guess I thought I’d feel more like a Jane Goodall of language, observing it in its natural habitat and quietly noting its intricacies. Or maybe I thought I’d be more of a language Malcolm Gladwell, retelling clever stories from my obscure language adventures, illuminating the joys of language for all to share. Never have I been so pleased to be wrong. On this course I became a Linguist; one dedicated to exploring my own interests and passions with the knowledge and analytical skill gained on this MA.

Throughout the year you are given the tools to study language from the ground up. ‘Core Issues in English Language Linguistics’ explores language from phonology to pragmatics; investigating how and why language is structured. In the second term, ‘Language in its Sociocultural Context’ uses all that you have learned in the previous term to explore how language and culture interact and influence one another. In the first term I took the module ‘English in a Multilingual World’ which explored English as a lingua franca and the role colonisation plays in shaping the Englishes of the world. In the second term, “Analysing Discourse and Identity in Spoken Interaction,’ which was equally fascinating and explored the various means of analysing discourse and how identity is constructed in interaction.

I cannot praise the lecturers highly enough. They are brilliant, kind, thoughtful and present. The dissertation process was made much less daunting by their constant guidance and assistance. I would highly recommend the course to established linguists and linguists yet-unknown-to-themselves alike. I am now working professionally as an Accent and Dialect Coach in London theatre, TV, and Film and use the knowledge and research skills from my MA constantly."


"I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this course to anyone. I wish I could start it all over again!"

"I completed my BA in Sociology and Movement Studies twenty years ago and I've been a PE/Sociology teacher since that time. Three years ago I completed a TEFL course which peaked my interest in linguistics. The Goldsmiths MA in Sociocultural Linguistics was the perfect mixture of my interests and has allowed me to explore themes related to both sport and education.

As a mature student I was keen to fully throw myself into being a full time student and as well as completing modules on spoken discourse and identity and written discourse and ideology I was also allowed to audit the other modules. The emphasis is very much placed on you to complete compulsory and additional reading, as well as gathering your own data to analyse. There were also opportunities to hear guest speakers who are at the forefront of their field. The two core modules gave me a thorough overview of general linguistics and the specialist modules allowed me to focus on my areas of interest in terms of methodology and topic. The classes were enjoyable and engaging and allowed plenty of opportunities for me to clarify and develop my ideas in discussion with other students and the tutors. All the course tutors are highly knowledgeable and extremely supportive and the one to one sessions and feedback I received when preparing my dissertation were invaluable.

The other students in my cohort came from a wide range of areas and this added to the enjoyment and interest I got from the course. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this course to anyone interested in the social aspects of language and linguistics. I still use the skills that I developed completing the MA, particularly critical thinking skills, analysis of everyday discourses and evaluation of texts. I wish I could start it all over again!"

See more profiles for this programme

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard.

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

No prior knowledge of linguistics is required. If you would like to explore the options, given your personal background, please get in touch.

International qualifications

We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Annual tuition fees

These are the fees for students starting their programme in the 2021/2022 academic year.

  • Home - full-time: £8370
  • Home - part-time: £4185
  • International - full-time: £15360

If your fees are not listed here, please check our postgraduate fees guidance or contact the Fees Office, who can also advise you about how to pay your fees.

It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time if you require a Student Visa, however this is currently being reviewed and will be confirmed in the new year. Please read our visa guidance in the interim for more information. If you think you might be eligible to study part-time while being on another visa type, please contact our Admissions Team for more information.

If you are looking to pay your fees please see our guide to making a payment.

Additional costs

In addition to your tuition fees, you'll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. You can find out more about what you need to budget for on our study costs page.

There may also be specific additional costs associated with your programme. This can include things like paying for field trips or specialist materials for your assignments. Please check the programme specification for more information.

Funding opportunities

Find out more about postgraduate fees and explore funding opportunities. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.


Philological Society UK

The Philological Society invites applications for its master’s bursary scheme. This supports postgraduate students who are undertaking postgraduate studies in the areas of linguistics or philology. Fields of particular interest include historical and comparative linguistics, including an interest in the structure, development and varieties of modern English. Find out more on the Philological Society's website.

Departmental Awards

This programme is eligible for one of the department's fee waivers. Find out more about how to apply.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online

          Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement

  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

When to apply

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September. 

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. 

Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.

If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.

Selection process

Admission to many programmes is by interview, unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally, we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.

Find out more about applying.



  • Ability to analyse and evaluate a wide variety of spoken and written (English) language in personal as well as institutional settings
  • Ability to execute and manage substantial linguistic projects independently
  • Recognition of the technical and ethical issues involved in organizing and conducting field-work, data collection and transcription
  • Proficient understanding of debates, research and methodology in sociolinguistics and discourse analysis
  • Competence in identifying and sifting through primary data sources to identify linguistic patterns
  • Expert use of analytical techniques of micro- linguistic analysis
  • In-depth understanding of the spontaneous talk and different genres of written English
  • Expert understanding of the differences between spoken and written language use
  • Enhanced communication and discussion skills in written and oral contexts
  • High-level critical thinking, reasoning and writing


  • Publishing
  • Journalism
  • Internationalisation
  • British Council roles
  • Public relations
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Translation
  • Advertising
  • The civil service
  • Business
  • Industry
  • The media

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.

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