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Overview

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

Summary

The programme provides training in postgraduate level research skills 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, langauge 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, 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 2017
How to apply

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.

Language Acquisition

Year: 1

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

Semantics and Pragmatics

Year: 1

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.

Spoken Discourse

Year: 1

This module aims to develop students? understanding of the details of specific theoretical approaches to the analysis of spoken discourse and also to facilitate students? engagement with current epistemological and methodological debates.

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.

Year two

Research methods in linguistics

Year: 2

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

Microvariation

Year: 2

This module is optional

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

Multilingualism

Year: 2

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.

Formal pragmatics

Year: 2

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.

Advanced Discourse: Theory and Practice

Year: 2

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.

Year three

Dissertation

Year: 3

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.

Required

Bryman, A. (2012). Social Research Methods 4th ed, China: Oxford University Press.

Henn, M., Weinstein, M., Foard, N. (2009). A Critical Introduction to Social Research, Wiltshire: Sage Publications Ltd.

McQueen, R., Knussen, C. (2002). Research Methods for Social Science: An Introduction, Harlow: Pearson Education.

Recommended

Creswell, J.W. (2009). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative & Mixed Methods Approach. (3 ed) (2009). USA: Sage.

Davies, M.B. (2007). Doing a Successful Research Project using Quantitative or Quantitative Methods. China: Palgrave Macmillan.

Dawson, C. (2009). Introduction to Research Methods: A Practical Guide to Anyone Undertaking a Research Project (4th ed). Trowbridge, Wiltshire: How to Books Ltd.

Foster, J.J. (2001). Data Analysis for Windows ? Using SPSS, London: Sage. Greenhalgh, T. How to Read a Paper: The Basics of Evidence-based Medicine (3rd), UK: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Hart, C. (2002). Doing a Literature Review, London: Sage.

Matthew, B., Ross L. (2010). Research Methods: A Practical Guide for the Social Sciences. Italy: Pearson Education Ltd.

Silverman, D. (2010). Doing Qualitative Research, London: Sage.

Wray, A., Trott, K., Bloomer, A. (2003). Projects in Linguistics: A Practical Guide to Researching Language, London: Arnold.

Wrench, J.S., Thomas-Maddox, C., Richmond, V.P., McCroskey, J.C. (2008). Quantitative Research Methods for Communication. USA: Oxford University Press.

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

Normally, at least an Honours in a relevant 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 languge 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 Therarpy.

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 2017

Fees and funding

In this section

Fees (total cost)

Important notice - fees information Please note fees displayed are for 2017/18 Academic Entry. Fees are correct at the time of publishing. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages to find out more

Northern Ireland & EU:
£5,290.00
International:
£13,240.00  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

Faculty Office

T: +44 (0)28 9036 6184

Course Director: Dr Jacopo Romoli

T: +44 (0)28 9036 6861

E: j.romoli@ulster.ac.uk