MA Language, Culture and Communication

Start date
September
Duration
1 year full-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught
Fees

Annual tuition fees for 2021 entry:
UK: £9,500 full-time
International: £20,160 full-time
More detail.

Are you interested in understanding and critiquing the ways in which language is used in politics, the media, and intercultural communication?

In today’s ‘globalised’ world, it is increasingly necessary to communicate across cultural boundaries of language, style and values. This programme aims to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed in order to understand the ways in which language is used social contexts, in politics, and in the media, and to compare and critique ideologies as realised by the discourses of various institutions and ‘cultures’.  

The programme is intended for those who wish to upgrade their professional and academic standing in discourse studies, linguistics, semiotics, and/or intercultural communication. It is particularly well-suited for students with backgrounds in linguistics, communication and related fields who want to move into higher education, journalism, and research into the role of communication in media, politics and society.

The programme combines core and optional modules to ensure that you develop a solid foundation in the discipline area whilst also having the flexibility to pursue your own specific research interests.

 

COVID-19

Please rest assured that we will make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption, for example in response to COVID-19.

Information for future students and applicants

I really appreciated that teaching took place in very small groups which meant that I felt relaxed to take part in discussions, while my supervisor was very patient and provided very useful advice on my writing. My course combined theory and practice together, while giving me lots of opportunities to present my ideas to my classmates.

Yue

Why Study this Course?

  • Excellent reputation – The Department of English Language and Linguistics is one of the oldest and largest of its kind in the country. 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.
  • Access to fantastic resources – English Language and Linguistics students at Birmingham have free access 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.
  • Range of teaching and research expertise – Staff in the Department research, publish and teach across a wide range of areas. They have particularly strong teaching and research interests in corpus research, discourse analysis, stylistics, English language teaching, applied linguistics, everyday creativity, metaphor, multimodality, new media, historical linguistics, and the politics of English language.
  • 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.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest updates and FAQs for future students and offer-holders

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Modules

You will study four core modules and two optional modules before completing your 15,000 word dissertation.

Core modules

You will study two 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

Discourse Culture and Intercultural Communication

This module aims to lead students to consider discourse production and reception as they are conditioned by their interactional, social, historical, political and cultural contexts and, in doing so, develop their awareness of what is involved in ‘situated’ discourse. Grounded in a view that culture is to a significant extent discursive – that is, based upon and realised by the ways in which we talk to each other about ‘ourselves’ and about ‘others’ – we take a critical linguistic and intercultural approach to our subject matter, hoping to draw upon the variety of students’ own cultural backgrounds as a basis for discussion and contrastive analysis.  

The module will provide a critical overview of major theories in Discourse Studies and Intercultural Communication, but also aims to develop more practical, analytic skills – training students to identify patterns of organisation and discursive strategies in authentic written and oral texts, drawn from various sources (e.g. media, advertising, political speeches / interviews, casual conversation, etc.). We thus hope to enable students to develop a critical understanding of key concepts in, and approaches to, Discourse Analysis and of how language reflects, mediates or – arguably – creates our (various) everyday realities. Further, we aim to develop awareness of the increasing need for – and the problems involved in – communication across cultural boundaries of language(s), style(s) and value(s) in the context of ‘globalisation’.

Assessment: 4000-word essay, or report on a small-scale research project concerning some aspect of interdiscursive / intercultural communication.

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: 4,000-word essay

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

Optional modules

You will also choose two optional modules from a range which may include the following:

  • Bilingualism and Multilingualism in the TESOL Classroom
  • Business Discourse and Communication
  • Corpus Assisted Language Learning
  • English as an International Language
  • Language and Gesture
  • Language and Politics
  • Language and New Media
  • Language, Gender and Identity
  • Language Teaching Training
  • Multimodal Communication
  • Lexicography
  • Psycholinguistics in TESOL

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.

Academic Writing Course

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.


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

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2021/22:

  • UK: £9,500 full-time
  • International: £20,160 full-time

Fee status

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

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.

How To Apply

Application deadlines

The deadline for International students to apply is Wednesday 1 July 2020. The deadline for UK/EU students is Thursday 10 September 2020.

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 Standard Requirements

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

International/EU students

Academic requirements: We accept a range of qualifications from different countries - use our handy guide below to see what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements: standard language requirements apply for this course - IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.5 in any band. 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.

IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.5 in any band is equivalent to:

  • TOEFL: 88 overall with no less than 22 in any band
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE): Academic 67 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced - minimum overall score of 176, with no less than 176 in any component

Learn more about international entry requirements

For students with Duolingo English Profieciency tests, we require a score of 115-119.

International Requirements


Modules are typically delivered via weekly two-hour seminars. You will also receive one-to-one supervision to 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 your future career, but this can also be enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University and the College of Arts and Law.

The University's Careers Network provides expert guidance and activities especially for postgraduates, which will help you achieve your career goals. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated  careers and employability team who offer tailored advice and a programme of College-specific careers events.

You will be encouraged to make the most of your postgraduate experience and will have the opportunity to:

  • Receive one-to-one careers advice, including guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique, whether you are looking for a career inside or outside of academia
  • Meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs and employer presentations
  • Attend an annual programme of careers fairs, skills workshops and conferences, including bespoke events for postgraduates in the College of Arts and Law
  • Take part in a range of activities to demonstrate your knowledge and skills to potential employers and enhance your CV

What’s more, you will be able to access our full range of careers support for up to 2 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 becoming a language analyst or data scientist. Others use their transferable skills in a wide range of occupations including teaching, research administration and events. Over the past 5 years, 83% of English Language and postgraduates were in work and/or further study within 6 months of graduating (DLHE 2012 - 2017).

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