Applied Linguistics and TESOL MA

Postgraduate ( full-time, part-time)

Distance learning, Cambridge

January 2017, September 2017

Intermediate awards: PG Cert, PG Dip

Course duration: 13 months full-time, 2 years part-time (September starts); 18 months full-time, 28 months part-time (January starts)

Part-time hours - Trimester 1: Monday 6pm - 8pm; Trimester 2: Thursday 6pm - 8pm

Please note the Distance Learning version of this course can only be taken as a part time option.


Want to further your career in language teaching? Learn the latest linguistics theories and apply them to your classroom practice. Gain critical and analytical skills that will boost your career prospects. Choose to study by distance learning or in Cambridge, a city famous for language teaching.

Untitled Page

Full description
Choosing this course was one of the best decisions I took for my career


Untitled Page

Our past students enjoy careers in many language-learning and teaching-related professions, such as teaching English and other languages (in the UK and abroad), and developing courses, tests, materials or language policy.

You might enjoy your studies so much that you decide to take a research degree, like our Professional Doctorate in Applied Linguistics.

Modules & assessment

Core modules

  • Second Language Acquisition
    You’ll focus on the major themes that have emerged from literature on second language learning over the last three decades. You’ll examine some of the research on the second-language acquisition process, look critically at reports of second-language research, and examine some of the theories which endeavour to interpret research evidence. You will be encouraged to use your own language learning and teaching experience to assess the relative merits of such materials. The module is taught through weekly seminars, offered in the early evening to accommodate those who are in part- or full-time employment. You may be asked to prepare or analyse material for presentation and discussion in class. Students taking part in distance delivery will work in small groups with support from the tutor by means of the Virtual Learning Environment, with progress monitored through formative tasks. Your assessment will be in the form of an extended written assignment to be submitted at the end of the module.
  • Discourse in Society
    You’ll examine the relationship between language and society, and the construction of discourse in various domains. In the first part of the module you’ll explore sociological and sociolinguistic models and theories, such as speech communities, communities of practice and ethnolinguistic vitality, with a particular focus on social variation and stratification across various linguistic levels (phonology, lexicon, syntax). The second part of the module expands the discussion, and you’ll explore the notion (or notions) of discourse in both its linguistic and wider meaning, and its construction in and through society and language use. Throughout the module, you'll study methods for the collection and transcription of data, and discover various approaches to linguistic and discourse analysis. These methods and approaches will then be put into context and used in the analysis of the relevant social spheres and domains, such as educational or institutional discourse. By the end of the course, you’ll become more familiar with some of the theoretical foundations on which the study of language use is built, and you’ll be able to apply the practical techniques of sociolinguistic and discourse analysis. You'll be assessed through coursework consisting of a portfolio of tasks (3,500 words).
  • Research Methods in Applied Linguistics
    This module will provide you with an introduction to research methods in preparation for the MA dissertation. Fortnightly sessions will familiarise you with the basic processes of conducting research, including general methodological approaches as well as research ethics. You’ll analyse and discuss both qualitative and quantitative data, in order to develop your critical-evaluative skills. Two sessions will be used to introduce you to the main software packages for both qualitative and quantitative research. If you're taking the distance learning option, you'll work on the Virtual Learning Environment in small groups with support from the tutor, with your progress monitored through formative tasks. Your assessment will consist of a portfolio, including an outline plan for a research project, which may become the basis for the dissertation.
  • Major Project
    This module will support you in the preparation and submission of a Masters dissertation, allowing you to explore in-depth a particular topic that reflects your academic interest.

Optional modules

  • Materials and Course Design
    You will explore the factors involved in the design of language courses and teaching materials, reflecting on one possible process of course design. You will start with an analysis of the context in which the course will take place, the needs of the learners, and current theories of language and language learning. You will move on to consider how course content can be selected and ordered in a principled way, how assessment relates to course design, and how and when courses should be evaluated. Finally, you will consider the evaluation, adaptation and creation of course materials. The face-to-face seminars will be a combination of teacher input, student input and discussion, both in groups and whole class. Students taking part in distance delivery will work in a small group with support from the tutor by means of the Virtual Learning Environment, with progress monitored through formative tasks. The assessment will be in the form of a portfolio and will give you the opportunity to consider what particular syllabus might be relevant to your own current or future teaching context. The elements of the portfolio will relate to particular units of the module, and the portfolio can therefore be progressively built up as the course proceeds.
  • Classroom Theory and Practice
    You will examine current research on modern classroom operations, exploring key concepts and issues through relevant professional and academic literature. A more practical element will be realised through live and filmed observation of teachers in practice. You will also be encouraged to reflect on your teaching and learning experience, and analyse and discuss your beliefs and attitudes towards learning and teaching. You will be taught through weekly seminars, offered in the early evenings to accommodate those who are in part- or full-time employment. The seminars will be staff-led, but you will be expected to participate by preparing material for presentation and discussion in class. Outside of the seminar, you will also observe teachers in practice. If you are a taking the distant learning delivery, you will work in a small group via the Virtual Learning Environment with support from the tutor and your progress will be monitored through formative tasks. Your assessment will take the form of an extended written assignment and a report to be submitted at the end of the module.
  • Impacts of Migration
    You will explore the push and pull factors which stimulate migration to Europe, and investigate the impact of cultural difference and interconnectedness at national, regional and local level, including the workplace. While taking account of global trends in migration and diaspora, you will focus on the situation in key European countries, in particular Britain, France, Germany and Spain. Local case studies from various organisations will allow you to conduct an in-depth analysis of the processes of integration and alienation, including patterns of mutual – cultural, racial and/or gender – discrimination, as well as linguistic adaptation. You will give special attention to the dynamics of cultural interaction, which consider the role of religion, male and female codes of honour, patriarchal mentality and potential clashes in expectations from and by contemporary leadership. You will further consider the subjectivity of this experience by exploring selected stories of migration as reflected in migrant film and literature. Your assessment will take the form of a presentation and an extended written assignment to be submitted at the end of the module.
  • Language, Identity and Policy
    You will explore the psychological and social intricacies of language and interaction both in general and within the EU. You will examine the question of language within the EU, identifying the points of tension for a community of nations who seek to work together increasingly closely and to achieve intercultural understanding while at the same time making a strong commitment to cultural and linguistic diversity. You will assess how far EU policy confronts the language issues identifiable within its current frontiers and the likely way forward as more countries and more languages join, comparing the situation in Europe with those experienced in other countries. Finally, you will explore how developing language technologies might facilitate future intercultural communication and help to resolve some of the current difficulties. Your assessment will take the form of an extended written assignment to be submitted at the end of the module.


You’ll show your understanding of theoretical issues and their practical application through a combination of portfolios, classroom observation tasks and critical essays. After completing your final module, you’ll also research and prepare a 15,000-word dissertation.

Where you'll study

Your department and faculty

The Department of English and Media is a community of more than 800 students, exploring subjects that further their understanding of culture and communication in the global age, from film studies to applied linguistics. We focus on skills and knowledge valued by employers, and provide our students with valuable industry insight through our links with creative partners.

Our students take part in many activities to help prepare them for the future, like work placements, study abroad opportunities, talks by internationally acclaimed guest speakers, and research conferences. They even have the chance to get writing advice from our Royal Literary Fund Fellow.

We’re part of the Faculty of Arts, Law and Social Sciences, a hub of creative and cultural innovation whose groundbreaking research has real social impact.

Where can I study?

Distance learning
Person using laptop

Study at a time that suits you, using our Virtual Learning Environment.

More about distance learning

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Study options

You can take this course on our Cambridge campus or by distance learning. On campus, all teaching takes place in the evening, making it easier for you to take up paid work during the day. With its many language schools, Cambridge is the perfect place for you to gain invaluable experience in language teaching.

Our distance learning course is provided entirely online and asynchronous, allowing you to study flexibly wherever you are.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2016/17 (per year)


UK & EU students, 2016/17 (per year part time)


International students, 2016/17 (per year)


Distance Learning, 2016/17 (per year part time)


UK & EU students, 2017/18 (per year)


UK & EU students, 2017/18 (per year part time)


International students, 2017/18 (per year)


Important fee notes

The part-time course fee assumes that you're studying at half the rate of a full-time student (50% intensity). Course fees will be different if you study over a longer period. All fees are for guidance purposes only.

Additional costs

Various optional trips
Cost £10-250

How do I pay my fees?

Paying upfront

You won't need to pay fees until you've accepted an offer to attend, but you must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments. You will also be asked for a deposit or sponsorship letter/financial guarantee. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees
Untitled Page

Funding for UK & EU students

It’s important to decide how to fund your course before applying. Use our funding guide for postgraduate students to learn more about the following:

  • The Government’s new £10k Masters loan
  • Applying for our scholarships
  • Additional funding options and support
Untitled Page
Funding for international students

We've a number of scholarships, as well as some fee discounts for early payment.

Entry requirements

Loading... Entry requirements are not currently available, please try again later.

Untitled Page

Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

Untitled Page
International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

Untitled Page
English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.

Untitled Page
Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

Suggested courses that may interest you

English Language and Linguistics

Full-time undergraduate (3 years)


January 2017, September 2017

TESOL and Materials Development

Full-time, part-time postgraduate ()


September 2017

Intercultural Communication

Full-time, part-time postgraduate ()


January 2017, September 2017

Get more information

UK & EU applicants

01245 68 68 68

Enquire online

International applicants

+44 1245 68 68 68

Enquire online