MA Applied Linguistics with TESOL

Are you interested in the relationship between language and society, or in how language is organised in the mind?

Do you want to learn more about how vocabulary works, or about the differences between spoken and written language? Are you interested in how such knowledge might be useful to the design and execution of language learning programmes?

This programme is designed for experienced teachers – with more than a year’s professional language teaching experience – wishing to develop their knowledge of linguistics and understand its potential applications in language teaching.

 
Professor Jeannette Littlemore

Professor Jeannette Littlemore

“I think what’s really good about this programme is the way it includes Birmingham’s own particular approach to language which looks at kind of everyday creativity in language and our students often find that things they’ve learnt on the programme they can implement straight away in their own working environment well before they’ve even finished the programme itself.”

The programme combines a range of core and optional modules with a 15,000-word dissertation.

You will study four core modules:

  • Describing Language
  • Syllabus and Materials Design 
  • Research Methods in Applied Linguistics
  • Sociolinguistics or Psychology of Language

You will also choose two optional modules from a wide range. Further module information is available below.

In addition, you will be offered a course in Academic Writing. Those whose first language is not English are particularly encouraged to follow this course.

Assessment

You will do a total of six assessed pieces of coursework over the year and complete a 15,000-word dissertation.

Why study this course

  • Tailored to your level of experience – this programme is specifically designed for more experienced language teachers, so it offers an advanced level of study that will allow you to build on your existing skills and experience.
  • Access to fantastic resources – English Language and Linguistics students at Birmingham have free access to the 450-million-word Bank of English corpus, and to the hardware, software and data resources held at the Centre for Corpus Research. You will also have access to the resources such as the Academic Writing Advisory Service and the Bank of Assessed Work to help with transitioning to postgraduate studies or if you are returning to the world of academia.
  • Excellent reputation – the Department of English Language and Linguistics is one of the oldest and largest of its kind in the country. You will be taught by experts in the field, with a range of interests and specialisms. The University has also been ranked as one of the world's top 50 institutions to study English Language and Literature in the 2019 QS World University Rankings.
  • Ongoing support – you will have your own personal tutor to guide you throughout the programme.
  • A vibrant and active postgraduate community – with conferences, seminars and social events, there is always something happening in the Department.

The postgraduate experience

The College of Arts and Law offers excellent support to its postgraduates, from libraries and research spaces, to careers support and funding opportunities. Learn more about your postgraduate experience.

Modules

Core modules

You will study four core modules:

Describing Language

This module provides a grounding in the analysis of the lexis and grammar of English. You are introduced to essential concepts and terminology in the field, and gain practice in analysing naturally-occurring language using the models (e.g. pattern grammar) discussed. There is some emphasis on the application of such analysis to the study of language in social context.
Assessment: 2 x 2,000-word essays

Syllabus and Materials Design 

This module considers the problems involved in reconciling syllabus and materials design with what is known about the process of language learning and the attempts of established approaches to language syllabus design to solve such problems. The module examines a variety of approaches, including some relatively radical solutions, e.g. the establishment of a pedagogic corpus, the use of a task-based methodology, and the development of analytical exercises.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

Research Methods in Applied Linguistics 

This module aims to provide you with a grounding in approaches to and methods of research in Applied Linguistics. 
Assessment: Three-hour computer-based class test

- You will also take one of the following:

Sociolinguistics

This module explores the relationship between language and society, examining how variation in language structure is distributed across different aspects of society, for example, the correlation between the use of particular linguistic forms and social class groups, genders, age groups and geographical areas. The module considers the associations that develop between aspects of a speaker's identity and different linguistic forms, the role of prestige (overt and covert), stigmatisation and the significance of one's social networks and communities, and how these facets of variation lead to changes in the English language.
Assessment: One 4,000-word final project report or essay

Or

Psychology of Language

The aim of this module is to provide an overview of major topics and issues in psycholinguistics and cognitive studies of language. We look at how people produce and understand language; how language is organised in the mind and brain; the embodied and metaphorical basis for language; the relationship between language and thought and the significance of linguistic diversity; the development and acquisition of language; and the connection between language and gesture.
Assessment: One 4,000-word final project report or essay

Optional modules

You will also choose two optional modules from a range which typically includes:

  • Bilingualism and Multilingualism in the TESOL Classroom
  • Corpus Assisted Language Learning
  • Corpus Linguistics
  • English as an International Language
  • Exploring English Grammar
  • Issues and Approaches in English for Academic Purposes
  • Issues in Intercultural Communication
  • Language and Gesture
  • Language and New Media
  • Language and the Senses
  • Language, Gender and Identity
  • Language Teaching Observation and Practice
  • Multimodal Communication
  • Psycholinguistics in TESOL
  • Teacher Training
  • Vocabulary and Phraseology

For more information, see our English Language and Linguistics module descriptions.

Dissertation

In addition to your taught modules, you will conduct a piece of independent research with the support of a supervisor, culminating in a 15,000-word dissertation.


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

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2019/20:

  • UK/EU: £9,250 full-time
  • International: £17,910 full-time

Fee status

Eligibility for UK/EU or international fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students


For EU students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to financial support available via student loans for the duration of their course. For more information take a look at the gov.uk website.

Paying your fees

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments. Learn more about postgraduate tuition fees and funding.

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.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

Entry requirements

We usually require an upper second-class Honours degree, or equivalent, in Applied Linguistics, Linguistics, English Language or another relevant subject (e.g. Translation Studies, TEFL/TESL/TESOL, English Literature, Communication Studies). Appropriate work experience will also be taken into consideration.

Applicants for this programme must also have at least one year’s language teaching experience. Less experienced language teachers will benefit from our MA TESOL programme.

International students

Academic requirements: We accept a range of qualifications from different countries - our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements: for this course we ask for IELTS 6.5 in all bands, TOEFL 88 overall with 22 in each band, or PTE with 67 in all four skills. If you are made an offer of a place to study and you do not meet the language requirement, you have the option to enrol on our English for Academic Purposes Presessional Course - if you successfully complete the course, you will be able to fulfil the language requirement without retaking a language qualification.

Learn more about international entry requirements

How to apply

Application deadlines

Please note that applications for September 2019 have now closed. Applications for September 2020 will reopen shortly.

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

Modules are typically delivered via weekly two-hour seminars. You will also receive one-to-one support you in the development of your dissertation.

Course delivery

We have two teaching terms per year, the autumn term and spring term. Term dates can be found on our website.

As a full-time student, you will typically take three modules in each term, followed by your dissertation. 

Each module represents a total of 200 hours of study time, including seminars, preparatory reading, assignment preparation and independent study.

Support with academic writing

As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.

International students can access support for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.

You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: English Language and Linguistics

Birmingham's English Language and Linguistics postgraduates develop a broad range of transferable skills that are highly valued by employers, particularly in relation to verbal and written communication. They also develop crucial skills in organisation, time management, analysis and interpretation of information.

Many of our graduates enter roles for which their programme has prepared them, such as teaching and lecturing; others use their transferable skills in a wide range of occupations including journalism, marketing and events.

Birmingham has been transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Get involved

The Guild of Students hosts over 250 student groups and societies to suit a wide range of interests. These include the Postgraduate and Mature Students Association which runs a regular and varied programme of events specifically tailored to postgraduate students.

In addition, you will find that each Department runs its own social activities, research fora and student groups.

Accommodation

We offer accommodation for postgraduates on or near to campus, although many of our students also choose to live privately in student accommodation, shared houses or flats. If you do choose to live in private accommodation, the University has dedicated support services to help you to find properties from accredited landlords.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and cultures, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work. Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.