Applied Linguistics PgCert (Distance Learning)

This programme is for teachers of English wishing to upgrade their professional knowledge, and those who are interested in the application of language research to language teaching.

Delivered part-time and by distance learning, the programme allows you to study alongside other commitments. You will be provided with a set of interactive course materials to complete in part-time, self-study mode over a period of 18 months.

Once you have completed the Postgraduate Certificate, you will be eligible to proceed to the MA Applied Linguistics by Distance Learning.

 

The programme includes three online modules, two of which are core. You are able to choose from a range of options for the third module which allows you to focus on a specific area of interest.

Your two core modules are:

  • Sociolinguistics
  • Spoken and Written Discourse

Your third module will be chosen from a range of options which typically includes:

  • Corpus Linguistics
  • Functional Grammar
  • Lexis
  • Second Language Acquisition

For further information, see ‘Modules’ below.

Assessment

Each module will be assessed by a 4,000-word assignment.

Why study this course

  • Flexibility – we have multiple start dates throughout the year so you have the option of choosing when to commence your studies with us. You can study at home, in your own time and at your own pace, so you can combine achieving a qualification with other commitments. Once you complete the course, you also have the opportunity to continue your studies on our MA Applied Linguistics by Distance Learning if you wish.
  • Opportunity to attend our summer school – opportunity to attend one of our summer schools in Birmingham, Japan or Korea to learn more about the discipline and meet with academics and other students on the programme.
  • Access to excellent resources – You will have free access to an extensive and growing range of books and journals available through the University's online library. You will also be able to use the 450 million-word Bank of English corpus, the hardware, software and data resources held at the Centre for Corpus Research. You will also be given access to other online resources such as the Academic Writing Advisory Service and the Bank of Assessed Work to help with transitioning to postgraduate studies.
  • Personal tutor – As a distance student you will have your own personal tutor whose job it is to guide and support you through the programme. He or she will be on hand to answer questions regarding the content of your programme and give advice on what to read and on writing your assignments.
  • Excellent reputation – The Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics is one of the oldest and largest of its kind in the country. The distance programmes have been running for more than twenty years and have gained an excellent reputation. The online materials have been developed by experts in the field with a range of research interests and specialisms.

Modules

You will study the following core modules:

Sociolinguistics

This module will allow you to consider the relationship between language and society, i.e. the interaction between the social domain on one hand and the linguistic domain on the other. The module will also examine the ways in which language varies, both according to the user and the way it is used, the purpose and context in which language is used and its social implications. These relationships are multi-faceted and highly complex, but may be seen in two overarching general principles: (i) the recognition that language is fundamentally a social phenomenon; (ii) that language is subject to change and variation.

Spoken and Written Discourse

This module will introduce you to key concepts in spoken and written discourse, techniques of analysis, and the pedagogic applications of these. We will be looking at the characteristics of written and spoken discourse and how they differ from one another. These differences should have a significant impact on the way teachers treat language in the classroom. We will learn that the written form is not simply ‘spoken language written down’ and that the differences between these two forms are a lot more complex than you might imagine.

You will also choose one optional module from a range which typically includes:

Corpus Linguistics

This module considers a number of issues in corpus linguistics, including: the compilation of a corpus; the information to be gained from concordance lines and collocational information, and how this can be interpreted; the implications for theories of language of observations made from a corpus; contrasting approaches to corpora, and the theoretical assumptions behind each; current applications of corpora, mainly language teaching and/or translation, but also stylistics, ideology and forensic linguistics; possible future directions in corpus linguistics.

Functional Grammar

This module introduces the principles of systemic functional grammar and analysis of text from a systemic perspective, as a means of revealing the meaning, communicative functionality and rhetorical purposes of language. It also considers the various applications of this approach to linguistics.

Lexis

The study of lexis is the study of vocabulary in all its different aspects. Vocabulary is typically seen as individual words, whereas lexis is a somewhat wider concept and consists of collocations, phraseology and formulaic expressions.

You will start by considering questions such as; what is a word, what isn’t a word, where does a word stop and a phrase begin? The module also looks at the mental lexicon, how words are stored in the brain and how the mental lexicon works.

The module also covers topics such as: how words are used to label and order things; how culturally specific this area of study can be; the relationship between words and their meaning; the process of word formation; the importance and ubiquity of multiword units, lexicalised sequences and lexical bundles; and the implications that findings of recent corpus based research have for the teaching of lexis.

Second Language Acquisition

This module introduces the main theoretical concepts and research findings underlying second language acquisition and the implication these have for classroom practice. It covers some of the key theories regarding how people think languages are learnt and by extension how they are best taught. It explores the ways and the extent to which these theories will apply to the your own and other teaching situations. The later parts of the module consider issues associated with the complex nature of the classroom environment and how that influences learning and also learner characteristics, learning styles and strategies, etc., all of which influence the way in which languages are learnt.


Please note that the optional module information listed on the website for this programme is intended to be indicative, and the availability of optional modules may vary from year to year. Where a module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you to make other choices.

Fees and funding

The fee for each 20-credit module for students starting their studies between October 2017 and July 2018 is £1,040.

In order to be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate you will need to successfully complete three modules, at a total cost of £3,120. You pay as you start each module.

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.

Entry requirements

We usually ask for a good Honours degree, or overseas equivalent, or equivalent professional experience. Please provide details of any current and/or previous employment in your application; it is always helpful to include a current CV but please complete the relevant sections of the online application form as well.

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications; our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

International applicants will need to satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

Application deadlines for this programme are as follows – 

Entry point: 1 October 2017 – application deadline 1 September 2017
Entry point: 1 December 2017 - application deadline 1 November 2017
Entry point: 1 February 2018 – application deadline 1 January 2018
Entry point: 1 April 2018 – application deadline 1 March 2018
Entry point: 1 July 2018 – application deadline 1 June 2018

If you have any queries about the application process, please contact the Department at elalpg@contacts.bham.ac.uk   

Before you make your application

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Making your application

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Our study materials are produced by academic staff in our department and are available online through the University's 'virtual learning environment', Canvas.

They contain aims and objectives, text, audio and video teaching material, reading lists, summaries of readings, activities and commentaries, discussion and reflection tasks, indexes and details of assignments required. On joining you are provided with an online induction pack which includes a course handbook that introduces you to the team, provides details of their roles and expertise and gives all the contact information you will need including email addresses so that if you have any difficulties or questions you will know who to contact for help and guidance.

Although much of the course is delivered through the virtual learning environment, support is always available. You will have a personal tutor to guide you and answer any questions, and you will be able to consult academic staff in Birmingham via Skype.

We also run week-long face-to-face seminars in the summer. These are free, and open to all distance learning Applied Linguistics students.

For more information on distance learning including answers to frequently asked questions, student experiences and funding opportunities, please see our distance learning website

This programme is designed to contribute to your professional development and enhance your career prospects.

Over the past three years, 91% of postgraduate students from the Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Many of our graduates enter roles, or progress to more senior roles, in fields for which their programme has prepared them, such as teaching, teacher training and lecturing.