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Course content

Applied linguistics addresses real-life language problems through insights gained from current linguistic theory, psychology and education.

Our MA is designed for people who want to know more about how foreign or second languages (particularly English) are learned, and how different kinds of classroom practice might affect proficiency. You explore different approaches to understanding language and language acquisition, and the methods that can be used to investigate language learning and teaching. You select a mixture of modules on language learning and its application to classroom practices.

You can choose areas of special study from a wide range of options, including:
-Teaching speaking and listening skills to language learners
-Psychological factors in second language learning
-Computer-assisted language-learning
-Literature and language-learning
-Age and bilingual development

You'll also be part of our Centre for Research in Language Development throughout the Lifespan (LaDeLi), a unique research centre specialising in all aspects of language learning and development.

We are one of the largest and most prestigious language and linguistics departments in the world, a place where talented students become part of an academic community in which the majority of research is rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, placing us firmly within the top 10 departments in the UK and among the top 150 departments on the planet (QS World University Rankings 2016).

If you want a global outlook, are interested in human communication, and want to study for a degree with real-world practical value in a world-class department, welcome to Essex.

This course is also available on a part-time basis.

Our expert staff

Our staff maintain excellent student-staff ratios with capped language-specific seminars.

In applied linguistics, Florence Myles, Monika Schmid, Sophia Skoufaki, Karen Roehr-Brackin, Adela Gánem-Gutiérrez, and Roger Hawkins focus on the learning of second and further languages, whilst Julian Good, Christina Gkonou and Tracey Costley focus on issues to do with the classroom teaching of English as a foreign language.

Specialist facilities

-An exciting programme of research seminars and other events
-Our Languages for All programme offers you the opportunity to study an additional language alongside your course at no extra cost
-Our ‘Visual World’ Experimental Lab records response times and eye movements when individuals are presented with pictures and videos
-Our Eye-Tracking Lab monitors eye movement of individuals performing tasks
-Our Psycholinguistics Lab measures how long it takes individuals to react to words, texts and sounds
-Our Linguistics Lab has specialist equipment to analyse sound
-Our Albert Sloman Library houses a strong collection of books, journals, electronic resources and major archives

Your future

Our course can lead to careers in areas such as academic research, publishing, journalism, administration, public service and teaching. You develop key employability skills including research design, data analysis, thinking analytically, report writing and public speaking.

We work with the University’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Within our Department of Language and Linguistics, we also offer supervision for PhD and MPhil. We offer supervision in areas including language acquisition, language learning and language teaching, culture and communication, psycholinguistics, language disorders, sociolinguistics, and theoretical and descriptive linguistics.

Our graduates are successful in a wide variety of career paths. They leave Essex with a unique set of skills and experience that are in demand by employers.

Example structure

Postgraduate study is the chance to take your education to the next level. The combination of compulsory and optional modules means our courses help you develop extensive knowledge in your chosen discipline, whilst providing plenty of freedom to pursue your own interests. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

MA Applied Linguistics
-MA Dissertation
-Assignment Writing and Dissertation Preparation
-Language Learning
-Research Methods I
-Research Methods II
-Advanced Phonology (optional)
-First Language Acquisition (optional)
-Phonological Development (optional)
-Second Language Vocabulary: Learning, Teaching and Use (optional)
-Topics in the Psychology of Language Learning and Teaching (optional)
-Second Language Acquisition and Linguistics Theory (optional)
-American Languages (optional)
-Varieties of English (optional)
-Sentence Processing (optional)
-Language Rights (optional)
-Semantics (optional)
-Literature and Language Teaching (optional)
-English Syntax 1 (optional)
-Description of Language for TEFL/ELT and Applied Linguistics (optional)
-Individual Differences in L2 Learning (optional)
-Syntactic Theory I (optional)
-Variationist Sociolinguistic Theory (optional)
-Experimental Design and Analysis (optional)
-Materials Design and Evaluation (optional)
-Sociolinguistic Methods 1: Data Collection (optional)
-English Syntax 2 (optional)
-Syntactic Theory II (optional)
-Teaching, Listening and Speaking (optional)
-Sociocultural Linguistics (optional)
-The Role of Age in Bilingual Development (optional)
-Variation in English II (optional)
-Sociolinguistic Methods: Data Coding and Analysis (optional)
-Graduate Research Assignment (optional)
-Language Attrition (optional)
-Teaching Practice I (optional)
-Approaches, Methods and Teacher Development for TEFL/TESOL (optional)
-Language in Context: From Pragmatics to Conversation Analysis (optional)
-Teaching Reading and Writing in TEFL/TESOL (optional)
-Intercultural Communication: communicating across languages and cultures (optional)

Visit the Applied Linguistics - MA page on the University of Essex website for more details!

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