University of Birmingham

Degree level: Postgraduate

Applied Linguistics with TESOL (Taught)

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Course summary

Are you interested in the relationship between language and society, or in how language is organised in the mind? Do you want to learn more about how vocabulary works, or about the differences between spoken and written language? Are you interested in how such knowledge might be useful to the design and execution of language learning programmes? This programme is designed for experienced teachers – with more than a year’s professional language teaching experience – wishing to develop their knowledge of linguistics and understand its potential applications in language teaching. We aim to equip students with the linguistic and pedagogic knowledge, the research and analytic skills, and the confidence necessary to develop their careers in English language teaching, and/or to move into areas such as teacher-training or ELT management.

Course details


You will study four core modules and two optional modules before completing your 15,000 word dissertation. Core modules You will study four core modules: Describing Language This module provides a grounding in the analysis of the lexis and grammar of English. You are introduced to essential concepts and terminology in the field, and gain practice in analysing naturally-occurring language using the models (e.g. pattern grammar) discussed. There is some emphasis on the application of such analysis to the study of language in social context. Assessment: 2 x 2,000-word essays Syllabus Design & Language Teaching This module critically evaluates a number of different syllabus designs and shows how different types of syllabus can be matched with particular teaching situations. We will be examining the relationship between teaching material and the syllabus and students will have the opportunity to design a syllabus for a specific teaching situation based on data obtained from a needs analysis. Assessment: 2,000 word essay (50%) and 2,000 word portfolio (50%) containing; the lesson plan, example of teaching material and report of the proposed lesson. Research Methods in Applied Linguistics This module aims to provide you with a grounding in approaches to and methods of research in Applied Linguistics. Assessment: Three-hour computer-based class test You will also take one of the following: Sociolinguistics This module explores the relationship between language and society, examining how variation in language structure is distributed across different aspects of society, for example, the correlation between the use of particular linguistic forms and social class groups, genders, age groups and geographical areas. The module considers the associations that develop between aspects of a speaker's identity and different linguistic forms, the role of prestige (overt and covert), stigmatisation and the significance of one's social networks and communities, and how these facets of variation lead to changes in the English language. Assessment: One 4,000-word final project report or essay Or Psychology of Language The aim of this module is to provide an overview of major topics and issues in psycholinguistics and cognitive studies of language. We look at how people produce and understand language; how language is organised in the mind and brain; the embodied and metaphorical basis for language; the relationship between language and thought and the significance of linguistic diversity; the development and acquisition of language; and the connection between language and gesture. Assessment: One 4,000-word final project report or essay Optional modules You will also choose two optional modules from a range which typically includes: Bilingualism and Multilingualism in the TESOL Classroom Business Discourse and Communication Corpus Assisted Language Learning English as an International Language Issues in Intercultural Communication Language and Politics Language and Gesture Language and New Media Language, Gender and Identity Language Teaching Training Lexicography Psycholinguistics in TESOL

Assessment method

You will do a total of six assessed pieces of coursework over the year. For assessment purposes, one of the modules you take during the spring term will be ‘linked’ with the Research Methods module – that is, you will produce a piece of work in the field covered by that module, but with a particular focus on research methods. You will complete the programme with a 15,000-word dissertation on a topic of your choice.

Entry requirements

We usually require an upper second-class Honours degree, or equivalent, in Applied Linguistics, Linguistics, English Language or another relevant subject (e.g. Translation Studies, TEFL/TESL/TESOL, English Literature, Communication Studies). Appropriate work experience will also be taken into consideration. Applicants for this programme must also have at least one year’s language teaching experience.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

No fee information has been provided for this course

Additional fee information

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Sponsorship information

Scholarships may be available to home and international students.

Applied Linguistics with TESOL at University of Birmingham - UCAS