The MA Degree

Admission Requirements

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS: applicants should have a good honours degree in the discipline in question from a recognised tertiary institution. The minimum requirement for admission to a taught Master’s degree is normally a Lower Second Class Honours degree or its equivalent.

In addition, applicants who have graduated from the UWI must have passed at least eight semester-long courses in the relevant discipline in Years II and III of the BA programme with grade B or better. (Other applicants should hold an equivalent qualification.)

CONDITIONAL ENTRY: applicants who do not satisfy the above requirements may be allowed to take a Qualifying Examination which may consist of one, two or three courses chosen from Levels II and III of the BA programme to be passed with grades of B or better.

STATUS: candidates may enroll for the MA on a full-time or part-time basis. For the time being, due to limited resources, the MA degree is offered only on a part-time basis.


NOTE: The following applies to the MAs in Linguistics; for course work and all other requirements go to the MA in Caribbean Studies: Languages/Literatures. aspx.

Full-time candidates admitted directly to the MA programme (Linguistics) are required to do six [6] courses (each worth 5 credits) during their first year of study. This Course Work is intended to expand and strengthen disciplinary knowledge acquired at the undergraduate level and to facilitate more concentrated specialist work in the discipline. It should be noted that all courses are of 36 hours duration (12 weeks x 3 hours)

Postgraduate courses in another discipline may be substituted where appropriate and subject to approval, for up to two (2) prescribed courses. Independent Reading Courses may also be substituted, in special circumstances and subject to approval, for up to two (2) prescribed Courses. (See MA/MPHIL Independent Reading Courses below)

The performance of candidates in each Course is assessed by two internal examiners. Assessment may be by way of:
  • course work (this may consist of oral presentations and/or term papers) and / or
  • written examination (normally three hours, two questions).
Therefore, course work may count for 100% of the final grade or the final grade may be divided between course work and written examination. It should be noted that candidates are permitted to repeat a course only once.

It should be noted, too, that at the Course Work stage of the programme, no Supervisor is appointed.

COMPULSORY COURSE IN LIBRARY RESEARCH METHODS: full-time candidates are also required to do the compulsory not-for-credit Course RM60 Library Research Methods during their first year of study.

RESEARCH PAPER: full-time candidates must write one (1) Research Paper (15,000-20,000 words, exclusive of notes and bibliography), worth 15 credits. Upon completion of their Course Work (if not earlier), candidates should submit to the Department’s Coordinator of Postgraduate Studies a brief written proposal which includes a title. Once the proposal has been approved, a Supervisor is appointed to guide the candidate in his/her research. Candidates are required to meet with their Supervisors a minimum of once per semester. It is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure that this minimum is met.

Candidates should consult the Thesis Guide (download from the SGS&R Document Library) for the requirements for the presentation of theses set out by the School for Graduate Studies and Research.  Research Papers which are not presented in accordance with these guidelines will not be accepted for examination.

The Research Paper is assessed by two internal examiners (one of whom is the Supervisor) and one external examiner. Candidates are not required to make corrections before the award of a final grade. However, those Research Papers awarded grade A are lodged in the Main Library and, to this end, corrections may be necessary in order to ensure acceptable standards of presentation.

Time Limits

Full-time candidates must complete these requirements within fifteen (15) months of the start of the programme. To meet this deadline, full-time candidates must submit the Research Paper by the first week of January following completion of the programme.

Part-time candidates have twenty-four (24) months in which to complete these same requirements. They are required to complete four (4) Courses during their first year of study and two (2) Courses together with the Research Paper during their second year of study. To meet this deadline, part-time candidates must submit the Research Paper by the first week of September following completion of the programme.

Conferment of the MA Degree

In order to be awarded the MA degree, candidates must accumulate a total of 45 credits. Candidates who achieve at least a passing grade of 50% in all six courses as well as the Research Paper will be awarded the MA degree. A candidate whose average mark in all six courses as well as the Research Paper does not fall below 70% will be awarded the MA with Distinction.

In short, in order to obtain the MA degree, candidates must have:
  • successfully completed six (6) Courses (worth 5 credits each);
  • successfully completed the compulsory not-for-credit Course
RM60 Library Research Methods:
  • successfully completed one (1) Research Paper, 15,000-20,000 words, exclusive of notes and bibliography (worth 15 credits)


MA/MPHIL Independent Reading Courses

Candidates for the MA and MPhil degrees pursuing Course Work may, only in special circumstances, substitute up to two (2) Independent Reading Courses. (These should not be confused with Research Fields which are taken for the MPhil and PhD degrees.) This is contingent, it should be noted, upon the availability of staff to direct such courses as well as the approval of the Department. To this end, candidates should first identify and consult with a potential Director for the project.

Independent Reading Courses may be based upon extant courses (in which case the course content, the reading list, the methods of assessment, etc. may be slightly altered) or may be designed to suit the special needs of the candidate. Any such proposal must be related to the major focus or foci of the MA or MPhil degree of the discipline in question and / or should be compatible with the resources and expertise available in the Department.

In the case of the latter, students, in consultation with the proposed Director, must write a proposal providing the following information:
  • RATIONALE: an explanation of how the material of the proposed course forms a coherent focus of study and outline the objectives thereof.
  • ASSESSMENT: a list of the format, number, and length of assignments to be submitted to the Director.
  • CONTACT SCHEDULE: a statement of the frequency and length of time you and your Director will meet (e.g once per week for one hour).
  • READING LIST: this list should follow the guidelines prescribed by the MLA HANDBOOK and should be divided into Required and Recommended readings.
You should submit the completed proposal to your proposed Director who will then formally pass it on, indicating his/her approval, to the Department’s Coordinator of Graduate Studies.

Independent Reading Courses are coded 6801 Independent Reading Course I and 6802 Independent Reading Course II, respectively. For example, a candidate for the MA in Linguistics may opt to do LING6801 Independent Reading Course I: Sociolinguistics.

Faculty of Humanities and Education
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