MA PG Diploma
2022 start September 

Applied Linguistics with TESOL

School of English, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Share your love of language with some of the most enthusiastic experts in the world. Whether your interest in language and language teaching is professional or academic, this MA provides you with advanced training in the theory and techniques of applied linguistics.
Students with books

Course description

This course delivers advanced training in the theory and techniques of applied linguistics with an emphasis on second language acquisition. We also have expertise in related disciplines including sociolinguistics, critical discourse analysis and corpus linguistics, and in the field of TESOL we offer particular expertise in academic writing, ESP, materials design and testing. Our course includes options to take part in work placements and gain additional professional qualifications.

Our graduates go on to advanced careers in TESOL all over the world. They also work in business, publishing, translation and interpreting. 

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Modules

The modules listed below are examples from the last academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course. For the very latest module information, check with the department directly.

Core modules:

Introduction to Language and Linguistics

This module will familiarise students with the theory and practice of TESOL curriculum design, language teaching materials design, and test design. We will look at different scholarly approaches to the design of language teaching curricula, materials, and tests, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches, and their usefulness in various TESOL situations in diverse secondary and tertiary education contexts. The module will include practice in designing curricula, teaching materials, and tests. The module therefore will provide students with an essential theoretical and practical foundation to design language curricula, teaching materials, and tests and to critically assess existing examples of each.
For their dissertations, students on the MAAL programme are required to either do a traditional empirical data-gathering dissertation; or a curriculum or test design dissertation. This module will also provide a foundation for those students wishing to do a curriculum or test design dissertation.

15 credits
English Grammar

This unit provides an introduction to the principal concepts and categories required for the description of the grammar of contemporary English. A predominantly semantic-functional and communicative approach to grammatical description is adopted. Students are familiarised with the principal ways in which grammar may function as a resource for the creation of discourse. Attention is also drawn to the links between grammatical form, meaning and use.

15 credits
Language Teaching Methodology

This unit reviews the principles, thinking and history underlying contemporary language teaching practices. It explores what we know of the processes involved in language production and reception in a second language and the implications for teaching the language skills. It also reviews and assesses developments in the teaching of grammar and vocabulary of a foreign language. Among other issues explored are the role of feedback, task-based approaches and the impact of language learning theory on teaching.

15 credits
Introduction to Second Language Acquisition

This is a core module which introduces students to the main aspects of second language acquisition (SLA) through a presentation of the main theoretical positions and the most important research findings. The course also provides students with the oppportunity to look at real experimental data which will enable students to learn about how to present data and how to interpret them.

15 credits
Research Methods

The course provides a practical introduction to how empirical research in applied linguistics is designed and executed. It also introduces basic statistical concepts and methods. The overall aim is to equip students with the knowledge and skills to evaluate published research and to undertake small-scale research projects. Among the topics covered are: the formulation of research questions and hypotheses, types of research design, data-gathering instruments (e.g. questionnaires), basic statistics, and the use of corpora in language research.

15 credits
Research Dissertation Practice

This module will provide support for students embarking on their dissertations. It will include workshops on evaluating and formulating research questions and research designs to inform students¿ own dissertation research. It includes one-to-one meetings with the module convenor and with students¿ dissertation supervisors about their projects. Finally, students are taken through exemplary dissertations chapter by chapter, so they will understand the form and content required in the research dissertation.

15 credits
Curriculum, Materials and Test Design

This module will familiarise students with the theory and practice of TESOL curriculum design, language teaching materials design, and test design. We will look at different scholarly approaches to the design of language teaching curricula, materials, and tests, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches, and their usefulness in various TESOL situations in diverse secondary and tertiary education contexts. The module will include practice in designing curricula, teaching materials, and tests. The module therefore will provide students with an essential theoretical and practical foundation to design language curricula, teaching materials, and tests and to critically assess existing examples of each.
For their dissertations, students on the MAAL programme are required to either do a traditional empirical data-gathering dissertation; or a curriculum or test design dissertation. This module will also provide a foundation for those students wishing to do a curriculum or test design dissertation.

15 credits
Dissertation

Contact department for more information.

60 credits

Examples of optional modules:

Corpus Linguistics
20 credits
Current Issues in Second Language Acquisition

This is an optional module which builds on extension of the core module: Introduction to Second Language Acquisition. This course provides an introduction to current research on Second Language Acquisition (SLA) through the main theories and the most important research findings, especially focusing on the part of second language acquisition thought to be constrained by principles of Universal Grammar. It also provides the opportunity to critically evaluate theoretical models and hypotheses by applying them to the analysis of real data produced by second language learners; and to learn relevant methodological and practical aspects involved in the experiment design

15 credits
Discourse and Genre Analysis

This module examines discourse as a rhetorical practice; that is, it studies how we use, and can be manipulated by, language. Genre is taken to be the organising principle of language-in-use. The first half of the module combines theory with practice in discourse and genre analysis, examining major models and approaches, such as conversation analysis, critical discourse analysis, discourse texture, and in particular the discourse modes of narrative and argument. In the second half students do an in-depth study of a selected genre, which may be either literary or non-literary.

15 credits
Teaching English for Specific Purposes

This unit reviews the origins and development of ESP and its place in contemporary language teaching. It also explores the language and genres of ESP, and the methodological approaches and techniques characteristically employed in this branch of language teaching. A range of ESP teaching conditions are considered and illustrated: e.g. business English, medical English, English for Science and Technology, EAP. Particular attention is paid to the design of activities and tasks for the teaching of the language skills in ESP contexts.

15 credits
Concepts and Approaches in Intercultural Communication

This module aims to develop an understanding of the main theoretical approaches to the study of intercultural communication and the ability to analyse and evaluate their relative significance, including those originating from applied linguistics, management theory, anthropology and sociocultural theories. Students will consider the concept of culture from a variety of perspectives, and will study topics including stereotyping and prejudice, (non-)essentialism, identity, culture shock, and the role of language and dialogue in intercultural communication. A wide range of real-world examples will be examined, including media reports, international communications, multicultural situations, and intercultural problems raised by students. By the end of the module students will be able to: i) Analyse and critically evaluate the main concepts and approaches in intercultural communication; ii) Consider the implications for their application in practice; and iii) Develop their own perspectives and insights from these theories.

15 credits
Vocabulary: Learning, Teaching and Testing

This module is aimed at students who have interests in second language acquisition and teaching in general, and in vocabulary and lexical features in particular. Throughout this course, we focus on the critical examination of issues related to teaching and testing vocabulary in the English second language classroom, drawing on the principles derived from second language vocabulary acquisition research that inform effective teaching practice in this area. This module, thus, provides students with the essential theoretical and practical foundation to design a vocabulary teaching component for a language course and to critically evaluate and develop ad-hoc vocabulary activities and tests.

15 credits
Theory and Practice of Language Teaching

This is a topic and issues-based course exploring ideas that have animated debate, and sometimes controversy, in the applied linguistics and language teaching community. The overall course aim is to present a coherent portrait of contemporary concerns and developments in language teaching. This is not a course in teaching methodology, rather it examines issues underlying and shaping how language teaching is conceived and how language courses are delivered. It deals rather with ideas (e.g. appropriate methodology) that impact on how language teaching/learning is conceived, and ultimately, therefore, on how language courses are delivered.

15 credits
World Englishes

The module gives an introduction to the historical and social development of the English language, leading on to consideration of global spread of English in different parts of the world, including postcolonial contexts and the development of `new' Englishes and creoles. The module provides an analysis of linguistic features (phonology, grammar and lexis) of several varieties of Englishes, and leads on to critically examine issues such as multilingualism, language contact and change, language planning/policy, attitudes towards variation; and globalisation and identity in the classroom. Throughout the module, students are encouraged to draw on their own experiences of linguistic diversity.

20 credits

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. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.

Teaching

You’ll be taught by a dedicated and enthusiastic team of teachers. Our internationally recognised research feeds straight into our teaching, with students sometimes taking a hands-on role in our research activities.

The staff are leading figures in their fields, in many cases having written the books and papers you will be studying: Kook-hee Gil (Second Language Acquisition), Nigel Harwood (TESOL Materials), Gabriel Ozon (English Grammar), Jane Mulderrig (Critical Discourse Analysis), Valerie Hobbs (English for Specific Purposes) and Beatriz Gonzalez-Fernandez (Vocabulary).

You’ll spend about eight hours a week in lectures, seminars and workshops. And there are chances to take part in classroom-based research projects in the UK and overseas.

Assessment

Assessment depends on the module, but includes essay assignments and classroom coursework tasks.

You’ll write your dissertation (MA only) over the summer. If you don’t complete the dissertation you’ll be awarded a diploma.

Duration

  • 1 year full-time
  • 2 years part-time

Student profiles

Profile picture of MA student Quynh Thi Pham

The University of Sheffield provides me with an inspiring and supportive learning environment. I am given the opportunities to pursue my own interests and supported unconditionally by my lecturers who inspire, motivate and enlighten me.

Quynh Thi Pham
MA Applied Linguistics with TESOL

Entry requirements

Undergraduate degree at 2:1 or above in English or a related subject.

Overall IELTS score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component, or equivalent.

Pathway programme for international students

If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for a pre-masters programme in Business, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

We also accept a range of other UK qualifications and other EU/international qualifications.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

Fees and funding

Studentships

There are a number of studentships and fee bursaries available, funded by either the University or the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Deadlines for funding applications are usually in winter/early spring. 

Apply

You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

Apply now

Contact

english.admissions@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 222 0236

Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

Our student protection plan

Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

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