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MA Applied Linguistics

Understand how we use and acquire language to solve real-life problems and interact with others throughout the lifespan across different settings and cultures.

Year of entry: 2024 (September)


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2024 (semester dates)

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Applied Linguistics is concerned with how people use and acquire language in the real world and how language is used to solve real-life problems

The development, acquisition, and learning of language and interaction in all stages of life constitute fascinating yet complex areas of study in constant innovation.

On this programme, you'll discover a range of theories and methods for the study of language development and language use in social interaction, including bilingualism and multilingualism, second language acquisition and processing, language attrition, and multimodal conversation analysis.

The programme offers two unique areas of specialisation within Applied Linguistics: Language Development, and Conversation Analysis. You will be able to choose to specialise in one of the pathways, or study both throughout the programme. 

Choose your specialisation

You can study both, or specialise in, a unique area of applied linguistics: language development and conversation analysis.

World-class faculty

The Department is part of York's Faculty of Arts and Humanities, ranked 40th in the 2020 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

Course content

This course offers two unique areas of specialisation within Applied Linguistics: Language Development, and Conversation Analysis. You will be able to choose to specialise in one of the pathways, or study both throughout the programme.



Semester 1

In Semester 1 you will take three modules: one core module, one or both pathway-specific modules, plus a general module (if you only take one pathway module).

Core module

Pathway-specific option modules

General option modules

Semester 2

In Semester 2 you will take three modules: one or both pathway-specific modules, plus another option module (or two, if you only take one pathway module). The options available to you may be limited by the choices you make in Semester 1.

Pathway-specific modules

Option modules

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff, and in line with Department/School academic planning.


Over the Summer session, you'll work on your final dissertation. You'll be able to attend a range of valuable workshops to support you during your project.

Previous research topics have included:

  • "Biasa jua tu orang Brunei they always say catu": formal aspects of Brunei Malay-English language alternation in informal conversations between Bruneian students.
  • Code-switching between Mandarin and Southern Min Dialect in political discourse in Taiwan.
  • L1 transfer effects on native English speakers learning Modern Standard Arabic relative clauses.
  • An assessment of standardised and spontaneous language measures in late talkers.
  • American vs. British infant-directed speech: Cultural differences and developmental consequences.
  • Adapting to and Accommodating for Reference Errors in L2 Speech.               

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Select and deploy qualitative and quantitative research methods to gain a holistic and multifaceted understanding of language development and social interaction phenomena.
  • Discern and analyse relevant patterns in complex data sets from language development and/or social interaction research and convey their significance effectively and with appropriate technical conventions.
  • Propose creative and principled solutions to real-life problems in language development or social interaction, appealing to key applied linguistic theories and methods.
  • Identify and articulate new questions for the study of language acquisition, learning, development and/or language use in social interaction by critically engaging with arguments from a variety of standpoints.
  • Design, develop and manage successful independent research projects on language development or language and social interaction with due ethical considerations and appropriate methodology.
  • Develop effective communication skills for scientific and lay audiences.
  • Manage their own development as researchers and professionals, demonstrating the ability to reflect on their own practice and on feedback received, and seeking assistance where appropriate. 
The support from the staff, especially those lecturers who I have had contact with, has been excellent. I have always been welcomed into their offices to talk about both academic and personal aspects. During the masters degree, I constantly asked myself a question: and now? what's next? Staff in the department have given me excellent advice and encouraged me to trust myself.
Eloi, Language and Linguistic Science student.

Read more on what our students say about us.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2024/25

Study modeUK (home)International and EU
Full-time (1 year) £10,590£23,900
Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.

Students on a Student Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

For courses which are longer than one year, the tuition fees quoted are for the first year of study.

  • UK (home) fees may increase in subsequent years (up to a maximum of 2%).
  • International fees may increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

Fees information

UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.

Find out more information about tuition fees and how to pay them.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2024/25 throughout the year.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Funding opportunities

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Teaching format

You'll be taught with a mixture of lectures, seminars, workshops and practical training. You'll typically have two or three contact hours a week for each module. In addition, you'll work independently, reading assigned texts and research papers, and completing work to prepare for classes and to submit for assessment. For some modules, you’ll complete collaborative group work outside your classes.


Teaching is classroom-based. In addition, we have our own departmental e-Lab for classes that require computers and for students' private study use. Here you will have access to a variety of resources, including specialist linguistics software and corpora of different varieties.

All of our modules have Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) websites where all crucial materials. Reading lists, handouts, discussion boards are accessible.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of Language and Linguistic Science on Campus West. Some of your contact hours will be in or close to Vanbrugh College, and all of your teaching will be on Campus West.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You'll complete a variety of assessments, including dossiers of exercises and open exams as well as other formats, such as presentations, transcriptions and analyses of conversational data, lab reports, and 3,000-word essays. You'll also complete weekly exercises and assignments that will give you useful feedback on your progression.

A group of students working together in a seminar
A student discussing his work

Careers and skills

This course supports your employability by fostering practical and technical skills that are highly desirable in both academia and in the current work market. Through the work conducted during the programme, which includes design and management of an independent research project, you will be equipped to exercise independent learning in your future careers. Our MA also provides excellent training for doctoral research.

Career opportunities

  • linguist
  • journalist
  • editor
  • early years or high school teacher
  • communication consultant
  • marketing executive
  • foreign languages teacher
  • speech and language
  • social researcher                

Transferable skills

  • analytical skills
  • data management
  • data analysis
  • communication
  • time-management

Entry requirements

Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS (Academic and Indicator) 7.0, minimum 6.5 in each component
Cambridge CEFR C1 Advanced: 185, with 176 in each component
Oxford ELLT 8, minimum 7 in each component
Duolingo 130, minimum 120 in all other components
LanguageCert SELT C1 with 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert Academic 75 with a minimum of 70 in each component
KITE 495-526, with 459-494 in all other components
Skills for English C1: Pass overall, with Pass in each component
PTE Academic 67, minimum 61 in each component
TOEFL 96, minimum 23 in each component
Trinity ISE III Distinction in all component

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you haven't met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


You can apply and send all your documentation online. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

The Department of Education offers an MA in Applied Linguistics for Language Teaching.

Apply for this course

Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Language and Linguistic Science Postgraduate Admissions

Learn more

Department of Language and Linguistic Science

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