M.A. Applied Linguistics MA/via Distance Learning

  • On Campus
  • 12 months
  • GBP14140 Year (Non-EEA)
  • English (Find a course)
University of Birmingham | Birmingham, United Kingdom
This programme is intended for anyone interested in the application of language research to language pedagogy, and for teachers of English who wish to upgrade their professional standing. All students on this programme are introduced to the 400 million-word Bank of English corpus, an invaluable collection of authentic language data against which theory, intuition and pedagogic materials can be measured.

Description of Applied Linguistics MA/via Distance Learning


You will study four core modules [full descriptions available below]:

  • Describing Language
  • Social and Psychological Aspects of Language
  • Discourse, Culture and Communication
  • Research Methods in Applied Linguistics

You will also choose two optional modules from a wide range and complete a 15,000-word dissertation.

In addition, there are two non-assessed components in the programme:

  • All students will take a short course – Introduction to the Bank of English – which introduces you to the 400 million-word Cobuild Bank of English corpus, an invaluable collection of authentic language data against which theory, intuition and pedagogic materials can be measured
  • You may also take a course in Academic Writing. Those whose first language is not English are particularly encouraged to follow this course.

You will do a total of six assessed pieces of coursework over the year. For assessment purposes, one of the modules you take during the spring term will be ‘linked’ with the Research Methods module – that is, you will produce a piece of work in the field covered by that module, but with a particular focus on research methods.

Explore postgraduate study at Birmingham at one of our on-campus open days (Friday 13 November 2015 and Friday 4 March 2016). Register to attend at: If you can’t make it to one of our on-campus open days, our virtual open days run regularly throughout the year. For more information, please visit:

Detailed Course Facts

Application deadline None, but early application advised
Tuition fee
  • GBP 14140 Year (Non-EEA)
  • GBP 6840 Year (EEA)
Start date September  2016 September
Credits (ECTS) 180 ECTS
Duration full-time 12 months
Delivery mode On Campus
Educational variant Full-time

Course Content


You will study four core modules:

Describing Language

This module provides a grounding in the analysis of the lexis and grammar of English. You will be introduced to essential concepts and terminology in the field, and gain practice in analysing naturally-occurring language using the models (NB Systemic-Functional Grammar) discussed. There is some emphasis on the application of such analysis to the study of language in social context.

Social and Psychological Aspects of Language

This module provides an introduction to the main sociological and psychological aspects of language use and language development. One half of the course will introduce and discuss concepts and issues in the field of Sociolinguistics; the other will explore issues in Psycholinguistics. Sociolinguistic topics will include: ‘standard’ language and dialectal variety, linguistic variation by social context / purpose, language and social class, language policy and planning. Psycholinguistic topics will include: Universal Grammar, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, 1st and 2nd language acquisition, language development.

Discourse, Culture and Communication

This module explores the interaction between discourse and ‘culture’. Various definitions of ‘culture’ are outlined in relation to other theoretical concepts (e.g. ideology), and you will be introduced to models of analysis for spoken and written discourse. These models are applied to sample texts, with a view to examining issues and problems of communication within and across cultural boundaries. You will be encouraged to explore the relevance of approaches to discourse and ‘culture’ to professional contexts.

Research Methods in Applied Linguistics

This module includes a course in methods and approaches to research in Applied Linguistics.

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

In the autumn term -

  • Introduction to Corpus Linguistics
  • Language and Literature: Key Topics in Stylistics
  • Second Language Learning and Teaching
  • Syllabus and Materials Design

In the spring term -

  • Business English
  • Cognitive Approaches to Discourse Analysis
  • Cognitive Linguistics and Language Learning
  • Computer Assisted Language Learning
  • Corpus Linguistics
  • Discourse for Teachers
  • English as a Global Language
  • Issues and Approaches in English for Academic Purposes
  • Intercultural Communication
  • Language and New Media
  • Language and Politics
  • Language, Style and Identity
  • Language Teaching Observation and Practice
  • Language Testing
  • Narrative Analysis in Film and Fiction
  • Teacher Training

English Language Requirements

IELTS take IELTS test
CAE score
200(Grade A)

IMPORTANT NOTE: Per 6 April 2015 only the English language tests from IELTS and Trinity College London are accepted for Tier 4 Visa applications to the United Kingdom. Other tests (including TOEFL, TOEIC, Pearson, City & Guilds) are no longer accepted for Tier 4 visa applications to the United Kingdom. The university might still accept these tests to admit you to the university, but if you require a Tier 4 visa to enter the UK and begin your degree programme, these tests will not be sufficient to obtain your Visa. Since the Trinity College London language tests must be taken in one of their exam centres in the UK, IELTS is now the only language test accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK that can be taken worldwide.

The IELTS test is most widely accepted by universities and is also accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK- learn more.

Requirements for Applied Linguistics MA/via Distance Learning

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

  • by holding an English language qualification to the right level; for this course we ask for IELTS 6.5 in all bands.
  • by taking and successfully completing one of our English courses for international students

Work Experience for Applied Linguistics MA/via Distance Learning

No work experience is required.

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