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University of Edinburgh
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Linguistics and English Language
Edinburgh has a lively department of Linguistics and English Language with world-leading research and an enthusiastic and supportive teaching culture. We house 33 academic staff who cover a wide range of topics from the early history of English to speech synthesis. Linguistics at Edinburgh ranks 5th in the world and 2nd in the UK (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017).
Our research is placed first for Modern Languages and Linguistics in the Times Higher Education rankings of the Research Excellence Framework 2014.
We have two research centres: the Angus McIntosh Centre for Historical Linguistics, and the Centre for Language Evolution. We are also the founders of Bilingualism Matters, a centre for public engagement, which has 16 branches across Europe and the US. Along with Informatics, Linguistics and English Language is a founder member of the University’s Centre for Speech Technology Research.
Our research specialisms range from syntax, semantics, pragmatics, morphology, phonetics, and phonology to language and identity, variationist sociolinguistics, the linguistics of English, language evolution, language acquisition and development, and language change. We have a well-established and large PhD programme, with many of our PhD graduates going on to successful academic careers. We also offer eight taught MSc programmes and an MSc by Research. Each year, our graduate students organise the Linguistics and English Language Postgraduate Conference, an international event which has run for over 20 years. The department has access to fully-equipped facilities for EEG/ERP and eye-tracking research, and a state-of-the-art recording studio.
Undergraduate teaching, which draws on our well-established research strengths, ranges from first year classes of around 290 students (including a first year intake onto Linguistics or English Language single and joint honours degree programmes of around 150 students) to some 60 students who choose to write their undergraduate dissertations with us. The Linguistics and English Language student society, LangSoc, runs a lively programme of talks and events and is the host of the 2018 conference for Undergraduate Linguistics Association of Britain (ULAB). As well as our single honours degrees, we offer a wide range of joint honours degrees with subjects including English Literature, Philosophy, Psychology, Social Anthropology and Modern Languages. Our teaching is well-regarded by students and external examiners, and we score highly in the National Student Survey (NSS 2017).
Linguistics and English Language has close ties with Psychology and Philosophy, the other two areas within its home School; beyond the School, the department has links with Edinburgh's renowned Schools of Education and Informatics.
The School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
The School comprises Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Sciences (Linguistics and English Language). We offer a rich and diverse learning and research environment for our staff and students, with close links between our three subject areas, alongside other world-class research areas within the University and beyond.
The School is recognised as world-leading, as shown in its excellent output across all areas in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), our research environment is rated as 100% conducive to internationally excellent research across all subject areas.
All of the School’s subject areas consistently rank in the top 50 in the world.
• Linguistics ranks 5th in the world and 2nd in the UK (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017).
• English Language is grouped with Literature in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017, where the University ranks 11th in the world and 3rd in the UK.
• Psychology ranks 20th in the world, and 2nd in the UK in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018 by subject.
• Philosophy was covered in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018 subject grouping ‘history, philosophy and theology’ where the University ranks 27th in the world and 5th in the UK.
The School is unique in offering outstanding opportunities for interdisciplinary teaching and in pioneering novel forms of research that reach across traditional boundaries. In 2016/17, the School welcomed nearly 2000 students from around the world onto our diverse range of programmes. The School has well established links with other areas of the University such Clinical Neuroscience, Medicine, Informatics and Edinburgh College of Art. This large and diverse teaching portfolio is augmented by the breadth of our research portfolio, whereby we are able to secure large volumes and value of externally funded research grants. Our core income budget is circa £23m per annum.
There are over 150 academic staff within the School, and the breadth of expertise ranges from analytic philosophy and the study of English language, through theoretical and applied linguistics, philosophy of science and epistemology and experimental psychology, to cognitive neurosciences and genetic influences on human behaviour. We have six research centres which drive our research and help put our research into practice, connecting academia with industry, policy and the general public.
• Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre – dementia research centre in collaboration with Alzheimer Scotland
• Angus McIntosh Centre for Historical Linguistics – research centre focused on historical linguistics and language change, centred on the history of English and Scots.
• Bilingualism Matters – a centre promoting bilingualism and language learning to the general public
• The Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology (CCACE) – famous for its intelligence studies with the Lothian Birth Cohort
• The Centre for Language Evolution – interdisciplinary centre focused on understanding the origins and evolution of language
• EIDYN – Philosophy research centre focusing on epistemology, mind and normativity.
The School offers extensive professional service support for academics across a wider range of administrative operations, including dedicated undergraduate and postgraduate teaching offices, research and knowledge exchange support team and a highly skilled and specialised IT team who provide support relating to learning technology, and facilities for data collection and experimentation across cognitive science.
We are fully committed to recognising and supporting equality and diversity amongst our staff and students. In 2017 we were awarded an Athena SWAN Bronze award by the Equality Challenge Unit’s Athena SWAN charter in recognition of our efforts to promote a School culture of equality.
College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (
The College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences is a large and diverse part of the University. Led by Vice-Principal Professor Dorothy Miell, it has 13,800 undergraduates, 5,500 taught postgraduates, 1,300 research students and more than 3,800 academic and professional services staff. The College incorporates 11 Schools (Business; Divinity; Economics; Edinburgh College of Art; Education; Health in Social Sciences; History, Classics and Archaeology; Law; Literatures, Languages and Cultures; Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences; and Social and Political Science), the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and the Centre for Open Learning. The College is located on multiple sites across Edinburgh, with the majority of Schools and College Offices based close to the central George Square area. The College, which is recognised as one of the world's leading centres for the arts, humanities and social sciences in research and teaching, has been growing and investing strongly in recent years.
Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF2014)
The College operates at the highest levels of international quality across a very wide range of disciplines in the arts, humanities and social sciences and submitted the work of more than 750 staff to 23 Units of Assessment in the Research Excellence Framework 2014. The College achieved a superb result, combining a large-scale, broad and diverse submission with very high quality outcomes: 86% of its research impact and 76% of the overall quality profile were assessed as world-leading (4*) and internationally excellent (3*). Using the widely used Research Power index (which combines the submission's overall score for 3* and 4* work with the volume of staff submitted), 12 of the College’s Units were ranked within the top five in the UK, and 18 were ranked first in Scotland. With an assessment of more than 95% at 3* and 4*, we're particularly proud of the outstanding research environment we create for staff and research students.
The University of Edinburgh
For more than four centuries, our people and their achievements have rewritten history time and again. They’ve explored space, revolutionised surgery, published era-defining books, paved the way for life-saving medical breakthroughs and introduced to the world many inventions, discoveries and ideas from penicillin to Dolly the sheep. We have believed that anything is possible, we still do.
The latest Research Excellence Framework highlighted our place at the forefront of international research. This adds to our international reputation for the quality of our teaching and our student experience excellence. The University is proud of its success with online teaching initiatives, with 2550 students currently studying its online distance learning postgraduate programmes, and a total to date of more than 2 million enrolments for Edinburgh MOOCs.
As a member of staff, you will be part of one of the world's leading universities, with 20 Schools spread over 3 Colleges that offer more than 1600 undergraduate and 600 postgraduate programmes to over 41,000 students each year. Professional services are critical to this success as well as our world-class teaching, research and student facilities. In fact, we are one of the top employers in Edinburgh, with over 14,500 people spread across a wide range of academic and supporting roles.
As a world-changing, world-leading university, we offer an exciting, positive, creative, challenging and rewarding place to work. We give you support, nurture your talent, develop and reward success and integrate academic, professional and personal career goals, as well as give your career the benefit of a great and distinguished reputation. In addition, our employees benefit from a competitive reward package and a wide range of staff benefits, which include generous holiday entitlement, a defined benefits pension scheme, staff discounts and much more. Access our
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The University of Edinburgh holds a Silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to advance gender equality in higher education. We are members of the Race Equality Charter and we are also Stonewall Scotland Diversity Champions, actively promoting LGBT equality. The University has a range of initiatives to support a family friendly working environment, including flexible working and childcare vouchers. See our University Initiatives website for further information.
University Family Friendly Initiatives
Staff Pride Network for LGBT+ colleagues and allies
Disabled Staff Network
The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.