Applied Linguistics and Communication (MA)

Year of entry

2018

Start date

October 2018

Location

Central London

Status

Fully Approved

Duration

One year full-time or two years part-time

Attendance

Two to three evenings a week full-time or one to two evenings a week part-time, October to September

This unique Master's in applied linguistics and communication is taught by leading specialists in multilingualism and multiculturalism. Applied linguistics has been taught at Birkbeck since 1965, making this one of the oldest departments in the world. The most recent external examination of our programme reported that ‘there are very high levels of professionalism and real quality in teaching. Students taking this course are getting the best in terms of professional practice and support. They are also allowed to develop their own interests and demonstrate independence of both skills and knowledge.’

The core modules introduce you to qualitative and quantitative research methods for undertaking your own empirical and/or theoretical research into language and language behaviour in the form of an extended literature review or dissertation, and to sub-domains of applied linguistics such as first and second language acquisition, intercultural communication, language pedagogy and assessment, language impairment, language policy and language and identity. You are also able to choose from a suite of option modules.

The programme is suitable for people who wish to further their career prospects and professional development, and those who have an interest in doctoral research and aspire to work in higher education. The MA is an internationally recognised higher professional qualification.

Highlights

  • Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 13th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2016-17 World University Subject Rankings.
  • In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Modern Languages and Linguistics achieved 100% for a research environment conducive to producing research of the highest quality, while 73% of our research was recognised as world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • We have a multimedia library and computing facilities. Birkbeck Library has a large holding of books, as well as over 40 current print journal subscriptions in the subject area, with an additional 100 available electronically. We are located within walking distance of libraries at the Institute of Education, School of Oriental and African Studies, University College London and Senate House, as well as the British Library and British Museum.
  • There is an active student-run Linguistics Society, which hosts events and speakers throughout the year, and organises an annual Postgraduate Student Research Conference every summer. In addition, the Research Centre for Multilingual and Multicultural Research hosts a lecture series given by international visiting scholars. Birkbeck also actively collaborates with the larger community of applied linguists throughout University of London colleges. 
  • Read a blog post by Professor Penelope Gardner-Chloros that considers what linguistics is. 

Course structure

You take two core modules (worth 30 credits each) and two or three option modules (worth 30 credits each), and complete a 12,000-15,000-word dissertation (worth 60 credits) or a 4500-5000-word independent literature review (worth 30 credits).

Please check with the programme office for availability of the modules listed.

To find out more, read our programme handbook.

Module groups

Sample timetable

PDF document icon ALC Masters Timetable 2017-18.pdf — PDF document, 72 KB (74743 bytes)
  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    Usually an upper second-class honours degree or above, or overseas equivalent, in a relevant subject and/or professional training and expertise.

    You will be asked to undertake a short admissions task of no more than 500 words, to support your application.

    You must also provide one academic reference.

    International entry requirements

    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.

    If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

    Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

    Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

    If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.

    Find out more about credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

  • Fees

    Fees

    Part-time home/EU students: £4075 pa
    Full-time home/EU students: £8175 pa
    Part-time international students: £7425 pa
    Full-time international students: £14850 pa

    Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

  • Teaching and assessment

    Teaching

    At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.

    Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading.

    Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.

    In addition, you will have timetabled meetings with your Personal Tutor.

    Methods of teaching on this course

    Lectures, seminars, workshops and student presentations (for some option modules).

    Key teaching staff on this programme

    Timetables

    Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).

    Indicative class size

    Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to large groups, with 30 to 100+ students in attendance, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups of 10 to 30 students, led by an academic.

    Academic support

    Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:

    • academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
    • written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
    • numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).

    Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.

    Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.

    Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short– or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.

    Assessment

    Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations. You will be given time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

    Unseen written examinations are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June, and, in most cases, are held during the day on a weekday – if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance. Exam timetables are published online in March each year.

    Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

    Methods of assessment on this course

    Coursework, including a dissertation of 12,000-15,000 words or an independent literature review of 4500-5000 words.

    Feedback

    As well as a mark for your coursework and exams, you will also receive feedback from your marker(s) to help you learn, improve and succeed. We encourage you to discuss feedback with your module tutor.

    Feedback can come in different forms: notes via Moodle (our online learning environment); a paper copy of a completed feedback form; or in-class or face-to-face feedback. The College Policy on Feedback on Assessment sets out what you can expect from your feedback.

    Your department will usually provide you with your marked coursework within four weeks of submission. Your initial mark is provisional until the relevant Board of Examiners has confirmed it.

    Your official coursework and exam results will be made available to you via your My Birkbeck Profile online.

  • Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    Graduates can pursue careers in education, local government and the charity sector, public relations and the media, marketing and lexicography. Possible professions include English as a second language (ESOL) teacher, lexicographer, or speech and language therapist. This degree can also be useful in becoming a Civil Service fast streamer, primary school teacher, or translator.

    Find out more about these professions.

    We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application link.

    Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form, including our online personal statement tool, which will guide you through every step of writing your personal statement.

    Application deadlines and interviews

    We recommend you apply as early as possible. Later applications may also be considered, subject to availability of places.