Forensic Linguistics MA

Study the Forensic Linguistics MA at Aston University, home of the world-leading Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics, to take your linguistics skills to the next level and improve the delivery of justice through the analysis of language.

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

 

Course type

Full-time / Part-time

Course format

No placements

Duration

12 months full-time, 24/36 months part-time

UCAS code(s)

N/A

Start date

Course outline and modules

This one year Forensic Linguistic masters course is designed to help linguistics students take their studies to the next level and enter the exciting discipline of forensic linguistics. Alongside advanced language description modules, you will learn about legal and forensic contexts, and how linguists critically engage with the language of law and provide linguistic evidence in a variety of legal contexts.

What you’ll learn

The Forensic Linguistics MA course aims to improve your linguistic skills and understanding so that you can apply them to forensic texts and in forensic legal contexts.

You will learn from some of the world’s leading academics in the field of forensic linguistics, based at our research institute - the Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics.

There is a strong ethos throughout this programme of forensic linguistics as an application of linguistics. You will study and improve your knowledge and abilities in the linguistic analysis of spoken and written language, in contexts such as police interviews and courtroom interactions and you will learn how linguists apply their methods to aid investigations and provide evidence in court.

The course has strong links with the police so you will get unique access to real-world data for your teaching and research work.

Our course is applied in nature, giving you a chance to gain valuable hands-on experiences involving real forensic and legal data includes practical project work as well as academic essay assessments.  

Successfully completing the taught parts of the course will enable you to progress onto completing a 15,000 word research dissertation as the final part of the course. Dissertation projects allow students to research an area in depth and, is excellent grounding for a PhD or for employment beyond the programme.

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new immigration route which will enable international students to remain in the UK for two years after they have completed their studies to find work. The new post-study work visa will apply to international students starting undergraduate and postgraduate courses from 2020. Click here for more information on post-work visas.

Modules

This programme is designed for students of linguistics and aims to improve students’ linguistic skills and understanding such that they can apply them to forensic texts and contexts.  There is a strong ethos throughout this programme that forensic linguistics is an application of linguistics and thus students study and improve their knowledge and abilities in the linguistic analysis of spoken and written language. Alongside the linguistics modules students then learn about the legal and forensic contexts and how linguists have developed understandings and critiques of the language of the law and how linguists analyse language to provide evidence in a variety of legal contexts. To complete the programme students complete a short practical project or placement and then research for a dissertation.

Sample module options: The following module descriptions are indications only - the University reserves the right to change the modules on offer, the module content and the assessment methods.

Core:

  • Linguistics in legal contexts
  • Analysing discourse
  • Forensic inference and statistics, and research methodology
  • Practical applications in linguistics
  • Introduction to forensic speech science
  • Language as Evidence
  • Dissertation      

 

Entry requirements

2:1 degree in English Language, Linguistics, or a related subject. Please note that transcripts must indicate some studies of linguistics. Interest in languages / TESOL alone unlikely to be enough: needs to show some interest in FL specifically. (If in any doubt please check.). GCSE Maths at C or above.

The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification. Find out more about our English language requirements. For more information about qualifications view our Aston in your country webpage.

Learning, teaching and assessment

Learning and teaching

You will take part in interactive seminars, presentations and group work as well as attending lectures and tutorials. There are also opportunities for individual research and supervised practical work.

The Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics hosts wide and varied events, intending to build upon a history of collaboration between academic researchers, professionals and society. Events range from weekly ‘topic-specific seminars’, through to an annual conference, with the key aim to improve the delivery of justice through the analysis of language. All MA students can assess these events as part of their studies without extra cost.

Study skills

You will be allocated a personal tutor at the start of your course; this member of academic staff can offer individual study advice and guidance and is there to help support your studies.

Furthermore, you will have access to:

  • Our Virtual Learning Environment – Blackboard – to support your studies, including Blackboard discussion groups.
  • The University Library, including over 25,000 books and a wide range of electronic journals.  The library has special provision in place to help part time and distance learning students access their resources.
  • University wide facilities such as the Careers Service, Students’ Advice Centre, Students’ Jobshop, Counselling Service, Sports Facilities and the Chaplaincy.

Assessment

In the taught part of the programme assessments are diverse and include traditional academic essays, data analysis tasks, oral presentations and mock expert witness report writing.

Successful completion of the taught modules is a precondition for proceeding to a 15,000 word dissertation leading to the MA.

Course director

Dr Krzysztof Kredens

 

Fees and scholarships

UK/EU students (2020/21): £9,350

International students (2020/21): £17,000

*Part-time students pay a pro-rata version of full-time fees.

Tuition fees are reviewed annually and may increase in subsequent years in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering the Programme. When undertaking a placement year, a placement year fee applies.

More information on fees

Scholarships

At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs. Find out more about our scholarships here.

Career prospects

The Careers service offer a tailored programme for MA Forensic Linguistics students exploring opportunities in police and security services and broader employment as well as the opportunity of PhD study.

Graduates of the MA in Forensic Linguistics go on to a whole variety of careers, but the course is particularly suited to those who want to further their careers in intelligence roles with the police, the security services or the city/financial services. The course is also an excellent foundation for studies at PhD level for students interested in a career in research in this important and growing area, as well as those whose existing careers would be advanced by specialised training.

 

Frequently asked questions

Why should I study MA in Forensic Linguistics at Aston?

Aston University is home to the Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics (AIFL), which was founded in 2019 as a £6 million expansion of the former Aston Centre for Forensic Linguistics. The AIFL is the biggest department of forensic linguists in the world with a group of more than 20 academics and researchers. It combines cutting-edge research and investigative forensic practice with postgraduate teaching and professional courses. Research at the Institute involves all aspects of forensic linguistics from how the police and the courts can best work with interpreters, to the development and refinement of methods for identifying the writer of disputed forensic texts. This high-quality research ensures that both postgraduate and professional courses and their investigative work have a solid academic foundation.

What are the career prospects for graduates of the MA in Forensic Linguistics at Aston?

Graduates of the MA in Forensic Linguistics go on to a whole variety of careers, but the course is particularly suited to those who want to further their careers in intelligence roles with the police, the security services or the city/financial services. The course is also an excellent foundation for studies at PhD level for students interested in a career in research in this important and growing area, as well as those whose existing careers would be advanced by specialised training.

 

 

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