Master of Studies in General Linguistics and Comparative Philology

  • 1. Candidates shall normally have a degree in a subject which has given them at least some experience of linguistic or philological work. Those intending to offer options chosen from C or D below should normally have, and may be required to demonstrate, some knowledge of the chosen (group of) language(s) and those intending to offer options chosen from C will normally be expected to be able to read secondary literature in French and German.

  • 2. The names of all candidates for the M.St. must be registered with the Graduate Studies Assistant of the Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics.

  • 3. Every candidate shall pursue a course of study in General Linguistics and Comparative Philology for at least one academic year under the supervision of the faculty. Such study shall be pursued at Oxford.

  • 4. Any person may be admitted to a course of study approved by the faculty, provided that he has either (a ) passed the examinations required for the degree of Bachelor of Arts, or (b ) taken a degree at some other university, such degree and such university having been approved by Council, and provided further that he has satisfied the faculty that he is qualified to pursue the study of General Linguistics and Comparative Philology.

  • 5. The faculty shall have power in exceptional circumstances to admit a person not qualified under the provisions of clause 4 above, who has nevertheless satisfied the faculty that he is qualified to pursue the study of General Linguistics and Comparative Philology.

  • 6. The examination shall consist of three parts:

    • (a) one general paper as indicated in A;

    • (b) two papers both of which must be chosen from those listed in B, or those listed in C (except that, at the discretion of the faculty, candidates may submit a paper from list B in place of one of those from list C), or those listed in D.

In lieu of one of the papers in list B or C or D candidates may offer with the permission of the faculty a thesis of no more than 15,000 words to be written on a subject within the field of the M.St. The word limit excludes the bibliography, appendices consisting of a catalogue of data, any extensive text which is specifically the object of a commentary or linguistic analysis, and any translation of that text, but includes quotations and footnotes.

The thesis (in two typewritten copies) must be sent in a parcel bearing the words ‘Thesis for the M.St. in General Linguistics and Comparative Philology' to the Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford, not later than noon on the Friday of the first week of the Trinity Term in the academic year in which the examination takes place.

  • A. Linguistic Theory.

  • B.

    • (i) Phonetics and Phonology.

    • (ii) Syntax.

    • (iii) Semantics.

    • (iv) Historical and comparative linguistics.

    • (v) Psycholinguistics and Neurolinguistics.

    • (vi) History and structure of a language.

    • (vii) Experimental Phonetics.

    • (viii) Sociolinguistics.

    • (ix) Computational Linguistics.

    • (x) Any other subject which, from time to time, the Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics at its own discretion may consider suitable.

  • C.

    • (i) The comparative grammar of two Indo-European languages or language-groups.

    • (ii) The historical grammar of the two languages or language-groups selected.

    • (iii) Translation from, and linguistic comment upon, texts in the languages selected.

  • D.

    • (i) The history of one language, or of two or more historically related languages.

    • (ii) The structure of the language or languages selected.

    • (iii) One of (a) Translation from, and/or linguistic comment upon, texts in the language or languages selected, (b) Any paper from B above except B (vi), or (c) A project on an aspect of the structure or history of the language, or family of related languages, studied. 

  • 7. The general paper A and the papers in C and D are each assessed by three-hour written examination. The paper in D(iii) (c) is examined by method (b). The papers in B are assessed by:

    • Either (a) three-hour written examination.

    • Or (b) An essay of between 5,000 and 7,500 words (these limits to exclude symbols and diacritics, figures, the bibliography, appendices consisting of a catalogue of data, questionnaire, or other research instrument used to gather data, any extensive text which is specifically the object of a commentary or linguistic analysis, and any translation of that text, but include quotations and footnotes). For all B papers except for B(ix) and B(x), the essay (in two typewritten copies) must be sent in a parcel bearing the words ‘Essay for the M.St./M.Phil. in General Linguistics and Comparative Philology’ to the Chair of Examiners for the Degree of M.St./M.Phil. in General Linguistics, c/o Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford. Work for paper B(ix) is submitted as specified in the regulations for the M.Sc. in Computer Science, and work for papers under B(x) is submitted as specified in the regulations for the M.St. in English Language.

    • Or (c) A written report of between 5,000 and 7,500 words on the design and execution of an original research project (these limits exclude symbols and diacritics, figures, the bibliography, appendices consisting of a catalogue of data, questionnaire, or other research instrument used to gather data, any extensive text which is specifically the object of a commentary or linguistic analysis, and any translation of that text, but include quotations and footnotes). The research report (in two typewritten copies) must be sent in a parcel bearing the words ‘Written work for the M.St./M.Phil. in General Linguistics and Comparative Philology’ to the Chair of Examiners for the Degree of M.St./M.Phil. in General Linguistics, c/o Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford.

  • In addition, the lecturer on the course of instruction may require:

    • (a) one or more practical problem set(s), to be completed and submitted at a time specified by the lecturer; and

    • (b) one or more oral presentation(s) in a public forum.

  • For each paper in B, the lecturer on the course of instruction shall prescribe a suitable combination of these options, and shall make available to the Chair of Examiners evidence showing the extent to which each candidate has pursued an adequate course of work.

  • 8. Of the two languages or language-groups selected by the candidates who wish to offer the papers listed in C above, one must be studied in greater depth than the other.

    Combinations previously offered under the auspices of the Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics are:

    • (a) Greek with the elements of Sanskrit Philology.

    • (b) Italic with the elements of Old Irish Philology.

    • (c) Germanic with the elements of Greek Philology.

    • (d) Greek with the elements of Anatolian Philology.

    • (e) Romance with the elements of Italic Philology.

    • (f) Italic with the elements of Greek Philology.

    • (g) Sanskrit with the elements of Greek Philology.

    • (h) Greek with the elements of Slavonic Philology.

    • (i) Celtic with the elements of Italic Philology.

    Other combinations are allowed subject to the approval of the faculty and the availability of teaching.

  • 9. The language or languages selected by candidates who wish to offer the papers mentioned in D above may be ancient (e.g. Ancient Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, Akkadian, etc.) or modern (e.g. French, Italian, German, English, Turkish, etc.). Only languages for which teaching is available at the time can be offered.

  • 10. The choice of the subjects for examination will be subject to the approval of the candidate's supervisor and the faculty, having regard to the candidate's previous experience and the availability of teaching. Not all options may be offered every year. The subjects which a candidate wishes to offer for examination must be submitted to the faculty for approval not later than Tuesday of the sixth week of the Michaelmas Term in the academic year in which the candidate is to be examined.

  • 11. If a thesis is offered, the subject must be submitted for approval by the faculty not later than Tuesday of the sixth week of the Michaelmas Term in the academic year in which the candidate is to be examined.

  • 12. Each candidate is required to present himself for an oral examination if and when required by the examiners.

  • 13. The Examiners may award a distinction for excellence in the whole examination.

  • 14. Candidates requesting re-examination should be required to resit or resubmit any paper in which they have failed to achieve a pass mark. The highest mark awarded for a re-examined paper should be the pass mark.