Masters Programme (MA)

The Department of Linguistics offers a 1-year Master’s degree program in Linguistics. For the 2018-19 admission we offer a full-time study option only.

Modern linguistics is the study of human languages in all aspects, ranging from structural to social, cognitive and educational concerns. Our students therefore engage in core courses such as grammatical description and phonetics, as well elective courses in psycholinguistics, bi- and multilingualism, linguistic typology, Cantonese linguistics, amongst others. A central aspect of our program is the dissertation component, which prepares students for future research work. Each student is individually supervised by one or more of our highly international faculty.

HKU Linguistics graduates are well-rounded linguists who combine a scientific approach to language with the humanities and social sciences. Whether you want to pursue a career in linguistic research, engage professionally with the language processing, computation or publishing, or aim for leading roles in education management, you will find our program an excellent platform to gain state-of-the art knowledge of the field. Our approach encourages participation in exciting debates with peers and senior researchers alike. A majority of our students are from overseas, creating a diverse and stimulating environment.


Programme structure and coursework

MA students are required to take 60 credits (including 7 courses plus a dissertation) to fulfill their coursework requirements, to be completed in a year.

The class schedule and course information for academic year 2020/21 is not available yet. Similar to current year, classes are scheduled in day-time on weekdays or weekends.


Application and admission

Academic requirement:

Applicants for the programme should be the holder of a good BA degree (honoured, Division 2 or above), preferably with a major in linguistics or a closely related subject from a recognised university.

Expected English standards:

Applicants with qualifications from a university or comparable institution outside HK where the language of teaching or examination is not English are required to obtain:

  • a score of 550 or above (paper based test) or 80 or above (internet-based test) in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), in which a score of 4 or above in the Test of Written English (TWE), or a score of 25 or above in the Writing section of the Internet-based TOEFL; or
  • a minimum overall band of 7 with no subtest lower than 5.5 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

Only TOEFL / IELTS score recorded in the two years before the date of application is considered for admission.

Application and interviews:

Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview, and may be tested on subject knowledge. If you do not hear from us by the end of April, you may consider your application unsuccessful.

Successful applicants recommended for admission will begin the programme in September of 2019. A deposit equivalent to 1st instalment of tuition fees and caution money is required upon their acceptance of conditional offer.


Tuition fee (provisional for academic year 2019/20):

Local students: HKD $140,000
*Non-local students: HKD $175,000

Our programme is self-funded. There are no specific funding opportunities advertised for this programme, except the Professional Development Incentive Grant Scheme for Language Teachers.

  • MA in Linguistics programme is a recognized programme included in the Government of HKSAR’s Standing Committee on Language Education and Research (SCOLAR) List of recognized English language major degree programmes. We are also included in the list of “Programmes Accepted for Grants under the Professional Development Incentive Grant Scheme for Language Teachers”. Relevant applicants may go to this page for more information of the subsidy
  • The programme will institute a merit-based scholarship of up to 50% of tuition fee. Details will follow later.

*According to the definition by the HKSAR Government adopted for education-related areas in the post-secondary education context, non-local students are:

Students holding:
– student visa / entry permit to study in Hong Kong
– dependent visa who are aged 18 years old or above before September 1 of the year of admission; and
– visa under the Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates (IANG), issued by the Director of Immigration of the Hong Kong Immigration Department

*All non-local students are required to obtain a student visa to study in the HKSAR. All applicants for a student visa are required to have a local sponsor. Students coming to HKU should nominate the Centre of Development and Resources for Students (CEDARS) as your visa sponsor by completing and returning to Centre of Development and Resources for Students (CEDARS) an application form for visa sponsorship with all the required documents and payment. Please note that at least 2 months should be allowed for visa processing. It is the responsibility of individual student to make appropriate visa arrangement before they come to Hong Kong.

For mainland students, an applicant for such a student visa to the HKSAR for study purpose is required to have a local sponsor. Mainland students should request the HKU China Affairs Office (CAO) to be their visa sponsor.

For further information about student visas, please visit the CEDARS website or  the HKU Preparatory Guide for Non-local Students (2018-19)