MA Education: Language and Education

The MA Education: Language and Education is a one-year full-time course at the University of Sheffield, one of the leading Universities in the UK. The course runs from September to August.

The course is ideally suited to those who are:

  • graduates in a discipline related to language and/or education, including second language acquisition (SLA), applied linguistics and sociolinguistics, who wish to further their academic study with a focus on language learning and education,
  • graduates of related disciplines who have an interest in the learning and teaching of English and foreign languages,
  • teachers of English as a Second (or additional) Language and/or Foreign Languages in all phases of education
  • educationalists interested in second or additional language learning.
Course Structure

Course Structure

MA Language and Education group discussionThe course begins with a one week induction to the University, to the School of Education, and to study at Masters level. This is followed by six months of taught modules and six months supervised research study for the award of the MA.

There are four taught modules, two of which are studied October to December, and two from January to March. From April onwards students work on their independent study, which is submitted in August. Students can exit with a Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma if they do not wish to complete the Masters course.

Aims of the course

  • explore key theories and approaches in language acquisition and learning and associated language pedagogies.
  • provide students with an advanced understanding of the relationship between linguistic structures and social categories in the interdisciplinary field of sociolinguistics.
  • develop solid theoretical knowledge in a range of research traditions as well as an advanced competence in qualitative research methods for the study of language, society and education.

EDU6043 - The Dissertation - GRAD YR 60 Credits

The dissertation is a major part of the MA Education. The dissertation topic can develop a theme raised during the taught part of the course, or an issue which relates to the specialised research areas covered by the students´ own interests.

The Course Team provides guidance on the choice of a suitable topic for investigation and advice and support throughout the study period (April to August). A wide variety of study is possible, including empirical studies, theoretical reviews, historical or philosophical investigations. The dissertation is 15,000-20,000 words in length.

Each student is allocated a supervisor - a specialist in the research area. Students and supervisors work together over the six months of the dissertation period before submission of the thesis.

A Student Perspective

If you would like to hear what our students have to say about the programme, please take a look at the Student insight webpages.

Current students on the Education: Languages and Education MA are also managing a Weibo page, focusing on the highlights of the course from an international student perspective.

Visit the Weibo page

Module Information

Module Information

Students on the MA Education: Language and Education are required to take the following 4 modules.

EDU6356 - Critical Issues in Education and Educational Research - AUT SEM 30 Credits

This module introduces students to key issues in education and educational research that will underpin their studies, regardless of which pathway they take through the full-time masters programme. It outlines historical approaches to educational research and introduces the key paradigms of educational research. The module moves on to consider critical issues in education and educational research, drawing on the research strengths of the module team and focusing in particular on educational psychology and globalisation, enabling the module to provide a foundation for other modules on the programme. The module thus offers students an opportunity to develop a critical stance towards some of the most pressing issues in educational research in contemporary societies.

EDU6345 - Language Acquisition, Learning and Pedagogy - AUT SEM 30 Credits

This module will explore key theories and approaches in language acquisition, learning and associated pedagogies. Various theoretical and empirical issues will be addressed together with learner-internal and learner-external factors that influence processes of second language development in education. For example, the course provides students with an opportunity to consider critically second language acquisition (SLA), Universal Grammar (UG) and the roles of learner factors such as age, first language and interference. The theory and application of new technologies in the field are addressed. The application of SLA theory and research to aspects of second language teaching and learning is also explored.

EDU6346 - Language, Society and Education - SPR SEM 30 Credits

The Language, Society and Education module provides students with an advanced understanding of the relationship between linguistic structures and social categories. It covers key research methods in the interdisciplinary field of sociolinguistics and their application to a range of areas including language and identity, discourse, performance and social interaction, ideologies and social structure, culture and education.
By the end of the module, students will have developed solid theoretical knowledge in a range of research traditions as well as an advanced competence in qualitative research methods for the study of language, society and education.

Students have the opportunity to explore topics relating, for instance, to the evolution and transmission of culture, intercultural communication, bi/multilingualism, attitudes to language varieties, voice, narrative and inequality in ordinary and institutional settings, media representations of social worlds, global spreads of language and cultural forms with specific reference to English and new media.

EDU6358 - The Practice of Research - SPR SEM 30 Credits

This module introduces students to the processes involved in designing a research project, conducting the study and completing the research report. The module focuses on research design, on identifying issues, formulating research questions and choosing appropriate methods to use in particular instances and settings. It explores various approaches to data analysis and outlines issues to be considered in the writing up process. It aims to provide students with the skills and knowledge required to complete a dissertation in an education-related field.



MA Language and Education session in progressThe teaching team is committed to formative assessment, whereby students are continuously supported and advised about the ongoing development of their ideas and the writing of assessment tasks. Students learn through lectures, seminars, workshops, discussion, active inquiry and investigations.

Opportunities are provided for students to speak with module coordinators/lecturers to clarify the requirements of the assessment activities. In addition, tutorials are held to support students' intellectual growth.

For the dissertation study, students are supported by an experienced research tutor who has expertise in the appropriate field.

There are no formal written examinations and assessment is by coursework and a dissertation study.

Assessment of the taught element consists of written assignments of 6,000 words each, one for each module. The Dissertation study consists of a research dissertation of 15,000-20,000 words.

Course Directors

Course Directors

The course is taught by a range of research active academics from across the School of Education, all of whom have national and international reputations. Below are the Directors of the course:

Dr Andrey Rosowsky (Programme Director)

Dr Andrey Rosowsky is the Director of the full-time MA Programme. Andrey’s research interests include language and education, sociolinguistics, multilingualism and faith-based complementary schooling. He has published in the fields of multilingualism, the sociology of language, the sociology of language and religion, language and education and language and identity. He is interested by the range of literacy and language practices bi- and multi-lingual children experience, and the way these relate to and interact with, and upon, one another. Much of his recent research has taken place within theoretical frameworks which view language as a social practice and language as performance.

Dr Mark Payne (Course Director)

Dr Mark Payne is the Director of the MA Education: Language and Education course. Mark aims to make sure that his teaching sessions draw upon relevant, critical and up-to-date linguistic and educational research and believes that sound theory makes for good practice. Mark has a background in Modern Foreign Language (MFL) teaching, predominantly as a teacher of German and Spanish in secondary schools in Harlow and Cambridge. Therefore, his research interests have centred mainly on issues around second language acquisition, foreign language planning, the teaching and learning of languages and language classroom practices more generally.

Potential applicants should note that this course is not primarily focused on teaching methods nor is it a teaching qualification per se. It is aimed at students wishing to study education more broadly, at a theoretical, philosophical, psychological and sociological level. It will not generally include teaching methods or classroom practice. Neither is it a suitable course for those seeking to develop further their TEFL or TESOL teaching expertise. On the other hand, many serving teachers do come onto the course in order to reflect on their own practice and enhance their existing teaching qualifications. Equally, some of our students subsequently go on to pursue a teaching qualification once they have completed the MA.

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.