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Master of Education (Research in Second Language Education)

Course Description

This route is intended for applicants with a background in foreign language education. Applicants will typically have a good honours degree in a foreign language or applied linguistics. Some prior professional involvement in an aspect of the field of L2 education is preferred (for instance, in teaching, assessment or teacher training). The route aims to combine in-depth critical understanding of the main currents of conceptual thinking in the literature on second language learning with practical training in aspects of L2 empirical research.

See the website http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/ededmeesl

Course detail

The aims of the route are:

- To examine key theoretical perspectives which have influenced recent research in second language education and to relate these to the wider context of educational research.
- To analyse and develop effective methodologies in conducting empirical research in second language teaching and learning in schools and communities.
- To develop critical skills with respect to the literature on research in second language teaching and learning, focusing mainly on core readings which provide instructive examples of empirical research.
- To investigate the language education issues in an international and comparative perspective. All students will receive individual supervision in the planning and analysis of an L2-related empirical project of their choice which will form the centre piece of their thesis and which will draw on different strands of the theoretical and methodological components of the taught units.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the programme, students will have:

- a comprehensive understanding of research techniques, and a thorough knowledge of the literature applicable to their specific educational domain;
- demonstrated originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in their field;
- shown abilities in the critical evaluation of current research and research techniques and methodologies;
- demonstrated self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and acted autonomously in the planning and implementation of research.


The course is composed of two key elements: (i) the research methods training course and (ii) the 'Research in Second Language Education' thematic route. Teaching time is split between the two elements, with 32 hours of teaching being given to research methods and 64 hours being given to the subject specific content. The course is taught through a mixture of lectures, smaller group seminars and individual supervisions.

Written feedback is provided on the thesis by two independent assessors. Informally, feedback will also be provided through regular supervisions. Supervisors are required to provide a report on student progress which can be viewed by the student through CGSRS.


Thesis: Up to 20,000 words.


Students wishing to continue from the Master of Education to PhD are required to achieve:

1) an average of 70 across both sections with the thesis counting as double-weighted (e.g.: (Essay 1 + Essay 2 + thesis + thesis) divided by 4 = 70 or above.
2) a straight mark of 70 or higher for the thesis

How to apply: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying

Funding Opportunities

The Faculty is pleased to say that, in general, education students are successful in most of the funding competitions, and, in a typical year, will host students who have been awarded funding from all of the major funding bodies.

In addition, a number of Colleges have their own scholarships/bursaries, but these will be restricted to College members. Finally, it is important to note that deadlines for scholarships and bursaries are early, so applicants are strongly encouraged to explore funding opportunities as soon as possible - at least a year in advance of the start of the course.

General Funding Opportunities http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/funding

Visit the Master of Education (Research in Second Language Education) page on the University of Cambridge website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Please note this one year part time course is only available to those who have completed a PGCE or PACES at the Faculty of Education, Cambridge. Please view the PGCE to MEd pages on the Faculty of Education website for further information View Website .

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