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Overview

Training in postgraduate level research skills in English language and linguistics.

Summary

The programme provides postgraduate level training in English language and linguistics. The programme is specifically designed to develop students' knowledge in the various areas of language and linguistics (e.g. syntax, semantics, language acquisition, discourse among others), and also to afford students the opportunity to focus the development of their research skills on and within their chosen sub-discipline.

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About this course

In this section

About

Based within the School of Communication & Media, the programme is distinctive in its breadth, offering modules in core theoretical generative linguistics as well as modules in conversation and discourse analysis with special focus on the study of English. The programme team includes experts in the various areas of linguistic research with PhDs from top universities in the world. The members of the team are all actively involved in research on a variety of topics. Language acquisition and multilingualism are core overlapping research interests of the group as a whole. The team also benefits from links to research groups in other universities in the UK, Australia and the US and has established a series of research seminars which bring in speakers from the UK, Ireland and overseas. The programme team has strong links with speech and language therapy and several of the team members are involved in research with clinical applications regarding language and communication disorders.

The programme will thus be particularly relevant to:

  • students with an undergraduate background in language and linguistics who are interested in progressing to a Masters and/or PhD level;
  • students with an interest in the theoretical study of the English language and human language more generally;
  • teachers of English as a Foreign Language who wish to gain a Masters level qualification for career development and enhancement;
  • language professionals, such as speech and language therapists, who wish to specialise in theoretical linguistics and develop their analytical and research skills in language and linguistics.

Attendance

The course is taught during the day and it normally requires attendance to classes over 2 or 3 days a week. The timetable changes every year and the course director can be contacted to gain more information about this.

Start dates

  • September 2019
How to apply

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Content

The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.

Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:

- the relevant generic national Qualification Descriptor

- the applicable Subject Benchmark Statement

- the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.

Attendance and Independent Study

As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.

The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.

Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.

Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.

Assessment

Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.

Calculation of the Final Award

The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).

Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.

All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

Read more

The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.

Modules

Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

In this section

Year one

Structure and History of English

Year: 1

The module provides a thorough overview of the structure and the history of the English language from 500 BC until the present. It also raises critical awareness by the students of core concepts used in the analysis of language change. Furthermore, it presents in detail a wide array of morpho-phonological, syntactic and semantic changes in the history of English. During this module, students will learn to use descriptive tools in order to observe and describe language change phenomena in the morphology, syntax and semantics of English. in addition to that, students will have to critically evaluate cutting-edge research and advanced scholarship in the area of historical linguistics and engage creatively with current issues in the field.

English & Comparative Syntax

Year: 1

Syntax is a rapidly developing discipline with many unsolved problems which are subject to hot debates in the literature. This module focuses on the current discussions in syntactic theorizing introducing students to work at the cutting edge of theoretical syntax with special reference to the syntax of English.

Spoken Discourse

Year: 1

This module aims to develop students' understanding of the dfferent theoretical approaches to the analysis of spoken discourse and also to facilitate students' engagement with current epistemological and methodological debates. The module will focus on Conversation Analysis as an analytical approach to understanding institutional talk in interaction.

Research methods in linguistics

Year: 1

This module aims to facilitate the students' critical engagement with the research process by supporting them in reviewing the current theoretical literature and research methods for a topic of their choice in English language and/or linguistics. This module supports the students' development as researchers by engaging students in methodological debates and by making explicit those approaches to data that are predominantly implicit

Dissertation

Year: 1

The Communication dissertation aims to enable students to design and carry out an independent piece of research. It is intended that this will strengthen their ability to interpret and apply research data to a work environment. The research will focus in depth on one area of communication.

Microvariation

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module introduces students to the study of Microvariation in syntax and phonology at an advanced level

Linguistics Interfaces

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module supports the students' abilities of knowledge transfer and application by engaging students in current debates of linguistic interface issues and how they might solve problems which have previously created challenges for non-integrated approaches in traditional framework of generative grammar.

Language Acquisition

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module covers current theoretical and methodological issues in first and second language acquisition research.

Multilingualism

Year: 1

This module is optional

It is generally accepted that the majority of the world's population speaks more than one language and that the monolingual situation is now rather uncommon. This module focuses on recent advances on multilingualism and introduces post-graduate students to topical current theoretical debates. Apart froms its interest for theories of language acquisition, a more sophisticated understanding of the phenomenon of multilingualism can assist teachers, speech and language therapists and other language professionals when they have to deal with multilingual children and adults. This module focuses on recent advances on multilingualism and introduces post-graduate students to topical current theoretical debates. The module can also be delivered as a stand-alone CPPD module for language professionals that wish to advance their knowledge on aspects of multilingual development.

Semantics and Pragmatics

Year: 1

This module is optional

Semantics is an important area in theoretical linguistics. This module builds on the descriptive understanding of linguistic and non-linguistic meaning developed in Year one and it aims to further and deepen the study of this components of our linguistics knowledge, knowledge of word and sentence meaning.

Formal pragmatics

Year: 1

This module is optional

The module introduces students to the concepts and methods of semantics and pragmatics. The main emphasis is on understanding the nature of the semantic enterprise, in order that students can work from a thoroughly grounded framework in selecting various analytic concepts for use within their future research work.

Introduction to TESOL for Linguists

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module introduces the core principles of TESOL to Linguistics students. It aims to generate interest in ESOL teaching as a professional avenue students may wish to pursue further.

Advanced Discourse: Theory and Practice

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module enables students to develop a critical understanding of and the analytic practices of Conversation Analysis through an in depth examination of advanced topics in CA.

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

In this section

Entry Requirements

A successfully completed undergraduate Honours degree.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Careers & opportunities

In this section

Career options

The programme develops students knowledge in the study of language and can hence lead to the following career options:

PhD in Linguistics

Publishing

Teaching

Many of our past graduates have chosen this course as a first stepping stone towards a career in Speech and Langauge Therapy.

There are also other generic and transferable skills that the student will develop from studying a linguistics degree. They include:

  • the ability to construct and manage an argument;
  • working as a team to achieve common goals;
  • the ability to recognise and solve problems;
  • using initiative and working independently;
  • self-management with the ability to carry out personal reflection;
  • time management and organisation skills.

Apply

How to apply Request a prospectus

Applications to our postgraduate courses are made through the University’s online application system.

Start dates

  • September 2019

Fees and funding

In this section

Fees (total cost)

Important notice - fees information Fees illustrated are based on 19/20 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees

Northern Ireland & EU:
£5,900.00

International:
£14,060.00  Scholarships available

Where the postgraduate course selected offers multiple awards (e.g. PG Cert, PG Dip, Master’s), please note that the price displayed is for the complete master’s programme. Postgraduate certificates and diplomas are charged at a pro-rata basis. Find out more

Additional mandatory costs

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.

We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.

There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.

Please contact the course team for more information.

Contact

Course Director: Dr Juliana Gerard

T: +44 (0)28 9036 8853

E: j.gerard@ulster.ac.uk

Admissions Contact: Laura Irwin

T: +44 (0)28 9036 8936

E: l.irwin@ulster.ac.uk

Admissions Service

T: +44 (0)28 9036 6309

E: admissionsjn@ulster.ac.uk

For more information visit

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

School of Communication and Media

Disclaimer

  1. The University endeavours to deliver courses and programmes of study in accordance with the description set out in this prospectus. The University’s prospectus is produced at the earliest possible date in order to provide maximum assistance to individuals considering applying for a course of study offered by the University. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in the prospectus is accurate but it is possible that some changes will occur between the date of printing and the start of the academic year to which it relates. Please note that the University’s website is the most up-to-date source of information regarding courses and facilities and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.
  2. Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
  3. If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
  4. The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
  5. The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.