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Applied linguistics aims to investigate real-world phenomena in which language plays a central role. At MPhil/PhD level, we aim for you to make the transition into a fully fledged, independent academic researcher, with the skills necessary to present your research orally as well as in writing, in addition to pushing back the frontiers of knowledge. Such independence is achieved through good scholarship, which includes original thought, the proper use of references, background material, methodology and accountable reporting procedures.
Once equipped with the generic and discipline-specific tools for carrying out research, you will pursue your particular research interests, supported by regular meetings with your supervisor and presentations and attendance at MPhil/PhD seminars.
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A good Master's degree in a relevant subject. Some relevant work experience is desirable, but not essential. A good research proposal will also be required. If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.
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Sophia Munnik moved to the UK from South Africa for her postgraduate studies at Birkbeck, University of London. Birkbeck was always her first choice of university because of its excellent reputation and internationally-recognised qualifications.
Aged 24, Sophia decided to study a part-time MA in Applied Linguistics at Birkbeck because of the interesting combination of subjects covered in the course. Her two-year Master’s degree gave her the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills first gained when she studied her BA in Linguistics and English at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Sophia said: 'Studying at Birkbeck was a really positive experience for me. I have gained so much in terms of my education, and my mind has really developed. Postgraduate education is incredibly important, and Birkbeck has absolutely changed my life. Through my studies, I was able to pursue my interests in sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, and how you use language to express your identity. My dissertation focused on media coverage surrounding the legalisation of gay marriage in South Africa.'
Sophia combined her studies with working full-time, and said this was only possible because of the support from her lecturers and the quality of Birkbeck’s online resources. She added: 'Birkbeck was the ideal university for me as I could work during the day and study in the evening. It was great that the lectures were after office hours, and the lecturers were unbelievably understanding. The online resources, including access to PowerPoint presentations, are invaluable.'
During her MA in Applied Linguistics, Sophia first worked in retail and then her current job in recruitment. She plans to return to university education soon. Sophia said: 'My ambition is to become an academic, and Birkbeck has already helped me get closer to my goal. I will study for a PhD at some point.'
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