Taught course

Language Documentation and Description

SOAS University of London · Department of Linguistics

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Entry requirements

We will consider all applications with 2:ii (or international equivalent) or higher. In addition to degree classification we take into account other elements of the application including supporting statement and references.

Months of entry


Course content

Today, there are around 6-7,000 languages spoken in the world and it is widely agreed that at least half of those are under threat of extinction within 50 to 100 years. Language documentation is a new sub-discipline within linguistics that has emerged as a response to the growing crisis of language endangerment. It emphasises data collection methodologies, in two ways: first, in encouraging researchers to collect and record a wide range of linguistic phenomena in genuine communicative situations; and secondly, in its use of high quality sound and video recording to make sure that the results are the best possible record of the language.

The MA programme in Language Documentation and Description is intended for students who wish to specialise in the documentation and description of languages, with a focus on minority and endangered languages. This specialist MA is characterised by an integrated core of subject offerings that are oriented around issues in language documentation and description, plus a series of options in linguistics, applied linguistics, and language studies.

The programme is formulated with two main pathways:

  • MA Language Documentation and Description [Language Support and Revitalisation] provides an introductory overview of the study of language as well as modules geared at enabling students to support endangered and minority language communities in a number of ways. This pathway is open to students with or without a background in linguistics.
  • MA Language Documentation and Description [Field Linguistics] provides students with a sound knowledge of state-of-the-art methods and technology for language documentation and description with an emphasis on endangered and minority languages. This pathway is open to students who already hold an undergraduate major in linguistics/applied linguistics, or an MA in linguistics.

Information for international students

For details, including English language requirements, please see SOAS website

Fees and funding

For details of postgraduate fees, please see SOAS website

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    part time
    24-36 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Postgraduate Enquiries
+44 (0)20 7898 4700