Language Teaching (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, October to September

Birkbeck's specialist MA Language Teaching is designed for people who are already experienced foreign or second language teachers who want to develop their career opportunities, or those with less experience but a strong interest in pursuing a career in this field.

The programme will develop both your understanding of classroom practice and of key areas of research that inform practice. This is a course on which the importance of bridging the gap between theory and practice is valued and it is structured to reflect the fine balance between the two. Through your acquaintance with current literature and the research you carry out in completing course assignments, you will be able to engage critically and constructively in debates relating to a wide range of aspects of language teaching.

The programme's unique features are its focus on the multilingual and multicultural contexts of language learning and teaching; and that locally based teachers of languages other than English have the opportunity to share their experiences with students from all over world, thus gaining insight into a wide range of language teaching contexts internationally. In addition, you will be studying alongside students on the MA TESOL programme.

The programme is also unique in offering you a choice between two dissertation pathways: an empirical research investigation of an aspect of language teaching and learning or an independent library-based project on a topic of your choice.

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.
  • You will join a vibrant and diverse community supported by the Birkbeck College Applied Linguistics Society, which is student run. An annual Postgraduate Student Research Conference is organised by the Society every summer. In addition, the 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, including the Institute of Education (IoE), the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and University College London (UCL), which are all next door to Birkbeck in Bloomsbury, while King’s College London (KCL) is a short walk away.
  • You will gain a broader view of language teaching and learning by drawing on the rich and diverse research in the Department of Applied Linguistics and Communication.
  • Read a blog post by Professor Penelope Gardner-Chloros that considers what linguistics is.
  • If you are interested in an academic career, MA Language Teaching can allow you to progress to doctoral study.

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).

Note: 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 relevant professional training and language teaching experience.

    You may be called to interview and you may also be asked for a lesson plan and post-lesson reflection of no more than 500 words.

    You must also provide one academic reference.

    If you have been awarded the Cambridge Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults (DELTA) in the last 5 years, you may apply for credit for 1 option module (please indicate this in your application).

    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.

    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

    For your coursework, you complete a dissertation of 12,000-15,000 words or an independent literature review of 4000-5000 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

    MA Language Teaching will enhance your career prospects in a number of ways. If you are an experienced teacher it will help you to progress to a more senior or specialised position in language teaching, such as a senior teacher, director of studies, teacher trainer, consultant or materials developer. It is an essential qualification for those who wish to teach languages at university level, whether for general or more specific purposes. For those with less teaching experience, MA Language Teaching will give you a competitive early career advantage as you gain more experience in teaching posts.

    Graduates also go into careers in local government, the charity sector, public relations and the media, marketing, and lexicography and translation. Possible professions include secondary/further/higher education lecturer, publisher, or translator. This degree may also be useful in a variety of roles within local and national government, tourism/hospitality, or the media, as well as in becoming a speech and language therapist, community development worker, youth worker, or special educational needs teacher.

    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.

    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.