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Home>Study at York>Postgraduate>Courses>Applied Linguistics for English Language Teaching (MA)

Overview Study at a leading centre of excellence in applied linguistics and education


1 year full-time

The MA Applied Linguistics for English Language Teaching is designed for those with experience of teaching English as a second language. It will extend your knowledge of the processes that underpin and facilitate language learning. You'll learn about the new developments in applied linguistics research and will be able to reflect on these in light of your own practical expertise.

Which is the best MA language course for me?

Course content What you’ll study


The MA Applied Linguistics for English Language Teaching is designed for applicants from the UK or overseas who wish to pursue a career in teaching English as a foreign language. You should have an equivalent of at least 12 months of classroom experience of teaching English on a full-time basis. The course offers advanced enquiry into the processes of language learning, with specific reference to learning English as a foreign language.


You will study five core modules and be able to choose one optional module.

Core modules

Language for Education: In this module, you will learn about selected language concepts, theories and elements which are relevant to language teaching and learning, but which do not always figure in traditional language courses. The idea that language and discourse structures can be (a) motivated, meaningful or purposeful and (b) flexible or fuzzy, rather than fixed or ‘black and white’ will be introduced and you will discover ways in which language structure is used, with other concepts, to create meaningful discourse and interactions.

Teaching and Learning Language: In the Spring Term, building on your knowledge from the Language for Education module, you will expand your understanding of different language learning theories and their (potential) implications for language teaching. You will get an overview of how approaches to second and foreign language teaching have evolved over the last few decades and learn how to develop informed opinions about the challenges and tensions involved in language teaching practice, both generally and in your own context.

Language Curriculum Design and Evaluation: This module will help you develop knowledge and understanding of what a language curriculum is and how to design and evaluate it. You will look closely at the components parts that make up a language curriculum and the relationship between them, and will learn a step-by-step process for designing a language course.

Research Methods in Language Learning and Teaching: This module will give you an understanding of methods used to research language learning and teaching. You will explore the relationships between research questions, methods, data analysis and subsequent claims.

Planning and Communicating Research: Building on the knowledge and understanding of research methods gained in the previous module, you will engage in planning of a small research project, identifying and managing the different stages involved, from conception to analysis to writing up and disseminating your results. This module will provide you with the knowledge, understanding and skills necessary for conducting a research study and will allow you to reflect on these to enrich your own experience.

Optional modules

Study your choice of one optional module which may be chosen from the list of modules available to all taught MA students in the Department of Education.

Modules that may be of particular interest for students on this course include:

The modules shown are those running for this academic year. Modules may be subject to availability.


You will develop, design, implement and manage your own original research project, supervised by a member of staff with the relevant experience for your topic. To complete this masters degree, you will produce a 12,000-word dissertation based on your research project.

Building a bridge between research and practice is one of the big challenges facing education at the moment. Here in York that challenge is being met. There’s top quality research here in the Department of Education, but more than that, there is a concern about whether or not it has an impact in the nation’s classrooms and whether it influences the decisions that politicians take.
Baroness Estelle Morris, former UK Secretary of State for Education
University of York's Department of Education Advisory Board Chair

Teaching and assessment How you’ll be taught and assessed

Teaching format

You will be taught through a combination of formal lectures, seminars, practical exercises and workshops.

  • You will spend time working on your own, reading assigned texts and researching supporting materials, as well as working with others in seminars to discuss and present your work.
  • There will also be opportunities to attend seminars from visiting scholars on a wide variety of Language Education and TESOL topics.
  • A member of teaching staff will act as your supervisor throughout the degree to help guide your studies and monitor your progress.


Types of assessments used throughout this course include:

  • Four assessment essays of between 4,000 and 5,000 words in length,
  • A ‘closed’ examination in Research Methods in Language Learning and Teaching,
  • An assessed presentation, dissertation outline and ethics audit,
  • To cap your studies, you'll complete a 12,000-word dissertation on an original piece of your own research.

Careers Where you’ll go from here

This masters in Applied Linguistics for English Language Teaching degree is an ideal grounding for postgraduate students looking to go on to further study such as PhD or for a career in the education sector.

Many of our graduates become English language teachers all around the world, in private language schools, state schools, universities and other organisations requiring English language instruction. Others find employment opportunities in areas of course and syllabus design, and materials writing in large and small scale publishing houses.

Our postgraduate courses can be used to complement teacher training/development programmes and voluntary or paid roles which focus on the more practical elements of teaching. However, other than our PGCE, our courses are not teacher training programmes in themselves.

Career opportunities

  • Teaching and academia
  • Publishing
  • Media
  • Local government
  • Education policy
  • Information management
  • Human resources

A number of our graduates go on to obtain research degrees in applied linguistics, TESOL, education and related topics.

Transferable skills

  • Research methods
  • Data analysis
  • Design and completion of original research
  • Critical reasoning
  • Communication skills (including intercultural communication)
  • Academic and professional language skills in English
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Time-management
  • Information management
  • Working independently

Entry requirements How to get here

Course entry

You should already have, or shortly complete, a degree in a relevant discipline, such as English language, linguistics or education with a substantial English component. We would typically expect you to have achieved at least a 2:1 in your undergraduate degree.

You should also have the equivalent of at least one year's full-time English teaching experience by the time the course starts. Your experience of teaching can be with any age of learner and at any stage of learning. Your teaching experience should normally have taken place after you obtained your first degree. Teacher training internships, casual private tutoring and holiday camps are not normally sufficient experience. You must indicate clearly on the main application form that you have this experience, giving all of the following information:

  1. the start date and finish date of your teaching experience. If you'll be teaching until the MA starts, please write 'ongoing until MA starts'
  2. the type of establishment you have taught in (e.g. primary, secondary, university, private language school, etc.)
  3. whether you were full or part time. If part time, tell us how much you taught per week.

You will also need to provide formal evidence of your teaching experience, for example a professional reference.

If you do not have the equivalent of at least one year's full time experience, please consider applying for the MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages instead. If you are unsure about your eligibility, or want to enquire informally about whether this course would be suitable for you, please contact us.

International options

We would typically expect you to have achieved the equivalent of an upper second-class undergraduate degree, such as:

English language

If your native language is not English, you may need a qualification to demonstrate your fluency. We accept the following English language tests:

  • IELTS: 7.0, with no less than 6.0 in each component
  • PTE: 67, with no less than 55 in each component
  • CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 185, with no less than 169 in each component
  • CAE (before January 2015): 75, with 'Very Good' in Writing
  • CPE (before January 2015): B
  • TOEFL: 96, with no less than 21 in each component
  • Trinity ISE: level 3 with Distinction in all components

If you have recently completed an undergraduate degree at a UK university you may be exempt from the English language requirements.

We strongly recommend that you attend a pre-sessional English language course. These courses are designed to help you improve your language, communication and study skills and help you prepare for your postgraduate degree.

Enquire Contact our admissions tutors if you have any questions

Dr Danijela Trenkic

Dr Danijela Trenkic

Next steps

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