Applied Linguistics and Communication (MA) (-)




Birkbeck, University of London 

Applied Linguistics and Communication (MA)

About the course

This unique Master's in Applied Linguistics and Communication is taught by leading specialists in multilingualism and multiculturalism. The most recent external examination of our programme reported that, ‘there are very high levels of professionalism and real quality in teaching. Students taking this course are getting the best in terms of professional practice and support. They are also allowed to develop their own interests and demonstrate independence of both skills and knowledge’.

One of the core modules, Research Methods and Design, aims to equip you with knowledge about qualitative and quantitative research methods and will prepare you for undertaking your own empirical and/or theoretical research into language and language behaviour in the form of an extended literature review or dissertation. The subject-specific core module ‘Introduction to Applied Linguistics’ will introduce you to sub-domains of the discipline; lectures reflect the research interests and expertise of staff, such as first and second language acquisition, intercultural communication, language pedagogy and assessment, language impairment, language policy and language and identity. In addition to the core modules, students are able to choose from a suite of option modules.

The programme is suitable for people who wish to further their career prospects and professional development, and those who have an interest in doctoral research and aspire to work in higher education.


  • Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
  • Applied linguistics has been taught at Birkbeck since 1965 - making this one of the oldest departments in the world. You will be taught by leading researchers in the field.
  • Teaching and research take place within a strong research culture, with a large number of MPhil/PhD students.
  • Students who are working professionals in London are taught side by side with others coming from across Europe and around the world. The MA Applied Linguistics and Communication is an internationally recognised higher professional qualification.
  • We have a multimedia library and computing facilities. Birkbeck Library has a large holding of books, as well as over 40 current print journal subscriptions in the subject area, with an additional 100 available electronically. We are located within walking distance of libraries at the Institute of Education, School of Oriental and African Studies, University College London and Senate House, as well as the British Library and British Museum. There is an active student-run Linguistics Society, which hosts events and speakers throughout the year, and organises an annual Postgraduate Student Research Conference every summer. In addition, the Research Centre for Multilingual and Multicultural Research hosts a lecture series given by international visiting scholars. Birkbeck also actively collaborates with the larger community of applied linguists throughout University of London colleges.
  • In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Modern Languages and Linguistics achieved 100% for a research environment conducive to producing research of the highest quality, while 73% of our research was recognised as world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • Read about Birkbeck research that crosses disciplines and focuses on pressing questions within the social sciences and humanities.
  • Read a blog post by Professor Penelope Gardner-Chloros that considers what linguistics is.
  • Find out more about the student support and facilities we offer.
  • Watch videos of our postgraduate students discussing their experience of studying at Birkbeck.

Course structure

You take two core modules and two or three option modules, and complete a 12,000-15,000-word dissertation or a 4500-5000-word independent literature review.

Please check with the programme office for availability of the modules listed.

Compulsory modules:

  • Introduction to Applied Linguistics
  • Research Methods and Design

Option modules:

  • Bilingualism
  • Corpus Linguistics
  • International Management Communication
  • Introduction to Intercultural Communication in Business Contexts
  • Language Teaching and Learning in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts
  • Language, Culture and Communication
  • Marketing Communications: A global perspective
  • Second Language Acquisition
  • Sociolinguistics
Dissertation/Independent Literature Review:
  • Dissertation
  • Independent Literature Review


Lectures, seminars, workshops and student presentations (for some option modules).

Key teaching staff on this programme


Coursework, including a dissertation of 12,000-15,000 words or an independent literature review of 4500-5000 words.


  • Part-time home/EU students: £ 3975 pa
  • Full-time home/EU students: £ 7950 pa

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