Forensic linguistics courses offered by universities

Following my recent compendium of legal translation courses (see here), and in view of the growth in the discipline of forensic linguistics, today’s post aims to give you a flavour of forensic linguistics courses available at universities worldwide.

Please contact me via the sidebar if you know of others that I have not included here.

The information below has been taken from the relevant university websites and direct correspondence. If any details are incorrect, I would be happy to change them upon request from the institution concerned. I have listed the courses in alphabetical order of their location.

Birmingham, UK – MA in Forensic Linguistics

The Aston University MA programme aims to improve students’ linguistic skills and understanding such that they can apply them to forensic texts and contexts.  There is a strong ethos that forensic linguistics is an application of linguistics – 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. Strong links with police provide unique access to real world data.

Cardiff, UK – MA/PgDip in Forensic Linguistics

The Cardiff University MA/PgDip programme has two main aims: first to introduce students to linguistic aspects of the criminal justice system (including policing and the courtroom and the surrounding legal system). The programme examines issues of justice, fairness and equality in law as they relate to language and communication. The second aim is to explore the role of the linguist when interacting with legal and legislative systems by examining the actual or potential impact of linguistics (broadly defined) on criminal investigations and on legal activities and procedures. Here, we examine the work of expert witnesses and linguistic consultants on language and law.

New York, USA – Master of Arts in Linguistics: Forensic Linguistics

At Hofstra University students train first and foremost to become a linguist and learn the core tools and competencies—including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, discourse analysis, corpus linguistics, dialectology, and sociolinguistics—that serve as the base of linguistics. Unlike other linguistics programs, real life illustrations and teaching examples are, wherever possible, drawn from forensic applications – often from the extensive array of law cases originally consulted on by the Hofstra faculty. Advanced courses explore the specific application of linguistic science to cases involving criminal activity of all kinds, including extortion, bribery, murder, espionage, weapons of mass destruction, as well as to civil cases of trademark protection, the meaning of contracts and statutes, and defamation.




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