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MA Applied Linguistics and TESOL

Course Description

Why take this course?

The course is ideal for practicing ELT/EFL/TESOL teachers who wish to continue their professional development and improve their career prospects. As well as thoroughly reviewing developments in the field, this flexible course allows students to develop their expertise in areas of personal interest.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

Extend your knowledge and understanding of learning and teaching as you upgrade your qualifications
Reflect on your teaching practice from theoretical and research-based perspectives
Improve your career prospects

What opportunities might it lead to?

Completion of the course will support further career options, including diversification into educational management or teacher education, among other paths. Many of our graduates have gone on to obtain jobs in universities in the UK and abroad, or have taken on greater responsibility in their existing institutions. Others have also taken advantage of the secure footing for doctoral-level study provided by the programme.

Module Details

The course is structured on the basis of core units and optional units. You will study:

Second Language Acquisition: This unit reviews relevant research on the topic of SLA and builds on students’ previous experience of language learning, applying this to areas such as individual differences and types of learning, as well as to more formal approaches to SLA.

Theory and Practice of TESOL: Students consider the theory and practice that informs communicative language teaching and how individual and contextual factors impact on classroom practices and decision making. In so doing, they reflect on their own teaching and learning experiences. The unit also considers issues in curriculum and syllabus design, assessment and teacher education.

Dissertation: Students undertake a piece of significant research, reported and analysed in an appropriate manner in an area of professional relevance. A research proposal will be produced in the first instance and supervision from a tutor will be available throughout the process.

plus two options from:

Using Technology and Corpora in Learning, Teaching and Research: Students are introduced to the ways in which they can make use of technology as both language teachers and language researchers. In particular, the unit focuses on the technological affordances of the internet and language corpora.

World Englishes: The English language has always been characterised by dynamic change. This unit considers the political, ideological and pedagogical aspects of English being used as a global lingua franca.

Analysing, Evaluating and Writing Material: This unit develops students’ abilities to analyse teaching materials, with particular emphasis on the perspectives of discourse, pragmatics and theories of second language acquisition. Students will focus on evaluating and writing material with particular teaching contexts in mind.

Analysing Discourse: This unit introduces various analytical tools (e.g. appraisal, speech acts, modality, metaphors, transitivity, cohesion, theme-rheme) which are valuable in the analysis of authentic discourses and texts (e.g. courtroom discourse, social media, educational science texts, newspaper texts, political speeches, advertisements, etc.). The importance of context in any analysis is emphasised.

Professional Portfolio: This unit offers students the opportunity to profile their degree to their own professional and/or personal interests, allowing students the chance to study areas not covered elsewhere in the curriculum. Students negotiate an area for study and then pursue this with the support of a supervisor.

Please note. All optional units are subject to staff availability and student demand.

Exit levels

The credit system creates a flexible framework in which you can graduate with one of the following awards, depending on the number of credits gained:

MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL: 180 credits
Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Linguistics and TESOL: 120 credits
Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Linguistics and TESOL: 60 credits

Programme Assessment

Our campus programme combines the opportunity for traditional classroom-based teaching, with the flexibility of distance learning. A student can complete the programme (excluding the dissertation) entirely through classroom delivery. Alternatively, they can widen their option choices by selecting one or more units from the distance learning and supervised unit ranges.

A full time student will do one core unit and one option in each teaching block (plus their dissertation). A part time student will do a core unit in each teaching block of year one and an option unit in each teaching block of year two (plus their dissertation).

Typically each taught unit runs for twelve weeks and has four hours of teaching per week. Teaching takes place in small seminar groups, allowing students to analyse arguments, contribute ideas and ask questions. Tutors are also available to offer guidance to students on an individual basis.

Most units are assessed through at least two pieces of coursework (typically essays), amounting to 6,000 words in total for the unit.

Student Destinations

Graduates will be able to progress to jobs in higher education in their own country or elsewhere, or continue on to undertake doctoral research in teaching and related fields. Possession of a Master's qualification is often viewed as a requirement for promotion to a more responsible position in either the private or public sectors or to diversify a career into areas such as educational management, materials evaluation and production, teacher education or external assessment.

Visit the MA Applied Linguistics and TESOL page on the University of Portsmouth website for more details!

Student Profiles

Entry Requirements

A good honours degree or equivalent, plus initial teacher training and a minimum of three months full-time, relevant, teaching experience. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.5.

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