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Applied Linguistics (MA)

  • Duration: 2 years
  • Mode: Part time

Course options See other modes of study
Start date

Open day

Find out more about studying here as a postgraduate at our next Open Day.

Why study this course

This programme is tailored for any career requiring specialised language awareness, including Teaching English as a Foreign Language and professional communication.



Builds your foundation in research activities.


Wider methodological approach

Alongside language learning and teaching, you can explore discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, corpus linguistics.


Expert-led teaching

Our teaching is informed by our research expertise across the breadth of language and linguistics.



Tailored for careers requiring specialised language awareness, such as Teaching English as a Foreign Language and professional communication.

Set in the internationally respected Centre for Language and Communication Research, the MA in Applied Linguistics offers both solid training in research foundations and practice, and the freedom to tailor your programme around your interests and ambitions.

Designed for careers requiring specialised language awareness and teaching English as a foreign language, our wide-ranging optional modules enable you to enhance your skills in the areas of linguistic enquiry most important for you and your career.

Incorporating research methodology and language description, this Master’s programme will give you an in-depth understanding of a range of language-related issues, from language acquisition and teaching to social interaction and corpus analysis.

You'll acquire well-rounded understanding of the theoretical and methodological approaches employed in the exploration of linguistic structures and language description. While becoming an independent and active learner, you will develop in-depth understanding of key issues in language, communication and linguistics.

Our experts are leading on innovative projects in many different fields, including language acquisition, language teaching, sociolinguistics, historical linguistics, discourse analysis, professional communication, corpus linguistics, systemic functional linguistics and forensic linguistics.

Fostering an international academic arena for cutting-edge research, we host talks from visiting academics from around the world, as well as advanced research residencies and occasional summer schools. During your studies you will benefit directly from this thriving research environment and the support of a wide range of professionals who will guide your personal and professional development.

English Language at Cardiff is ranked in the world top 100 (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020) and top ten for research in the UK (Research Excellence Framework 2014).

Where you'll study

School of English, Communication and Philosophy

Powered by pioneering research, we celebrate curiosity, engage in informed debate and critical analysis, and encourage creative thinking - across and beyond our disciplines.

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  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2087 9066
  • MarkerColum Drive, Cardiff, CF10 3EU

Admissions criteria

In order to be considered for an offer for this programme you will need to meet all of the entry requirements. Your application will not be progressed if the information and evidence listed is not provided.

With your online application you will need to provide:

  1. A copy of your degree certificate and transcripts which show you have achieved a 2:1 honours degree in a language-related discipline, or an equivalent international degree. If your degree certificate or result is pending, please upload any interim transcripts or provisional certificates.
  2. A copy of your IELTS certificate with an overall score of 7.0 with 6.5 in all subskills, or evidence of an accepted equivalent. Please include the date of your expected test if this qualification is pending. If you have alternative acceptable evidence, such as an undergraduate degree studied in the UK, please supply this in place of an IELTS.
  3. Two academic references which demonstrate your suitability for the programme. References should be signed, dated and less than six months old at the time you submit your application.

If you do not have a degree in a relevant area or have a 2:2 honours degree you may still apply but should provide additional evidence to support your application such as a CV and references.

Application Deadline

We allocate places on a first-come, first-served basis, so we recommend you apply as early as possible. Applications normally close at the end of August but may close sooner if all places are filled.

Selection process

We will review your application and if you meet all of the entry requirements, we will make you an offer.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.

Criminal convictions

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Course structure

The programme is offered in part-time mode over two academic years. You will need to complete 180 credits (120 credits in taught modules and 60 credits in the dissertation).

The programme consists of two stages: a taught stage and a dissertation stage. The taught stage is split into two semesters, Autumn and Spring, which run from September to January and January to June, respectively. For part-time students, the dissertation stage runs from June until January. The dissertation can only be undertaken on successful completion of the taught element of the course. Each stage is weighted at 50% of the overall mark, which means that dissertation credits are double-weighted with respect to taught credits.

In the taught stage, you’ll take 2 core modules and will choose 4 further modules from a pool of options.  Your core modules complement the optional modules which form the bulk of the programme and provide a vital foundation for later dissertation-writing. 

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2024/25 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2024.

Year one

During your first year, you will take one core module and two optional modules. In the Autumn semester you will take one core module and you may take one other module. In the Spring semester you will take one or two modules, according to your choices in the Autumn semester.

You are advised to take the core module Public and Professional Discourse and / or Language Learning: Theory and Practice OR Critical Approaches to Discourse during your first year of study. You are advised to discuss your choices with the Programme Convenor and / or Personal Tutor.

Year two

You will take three taught modules in your second year, one of which will be the core module Research Experience in Applied Linguistics and, if you did not take it in your first year, the core module Public and Professional Discourse.

In the Autumn semester you will take one or two modules. In the Spring semester you will take one core module and you may take one module, according to your choices in the first year of your studies and the Autumn semester of the second year. You are advised to discuss your choices with the Programme Convenor and / or Personal Tutor.

Once you have completed your taught modules in May and your dissertation proposal has been accepted, you will begin your dissertation, which will run until January of the following year

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

During the taught stage, teaching will take place mainly through weekly seminars / workshops, where you will have the opportunity to develop an understanding of particular topics related to language and linguistics. You will be able to discuss concepts and ideas in small groups and open class discussions, to consolidate and get feedback on your individual learning, and to develop communication skills in informal group discussions and oral presentations. Depending on your prior experience, you might be encouraged to attend the lectures for various undergraduate modules as well. You will be taught through regular supervision sessions in Research Experience in Applied Linguistics. These will offer the opportunity for structured but independent learning of practical research skills. Teaching will be varied and responsive.

All modules within the MA in Applied Linguistics make extensive use of the University’s virtual learning environment, Learning Central, where you can access discussion forums and find course materials.

During the dissertation stage, you will conduct independent research on a topic of your choice with regular supervision from a member of staff.

How will I be assessed?

The taught modules within this programme are assessed through a variety of methods, including academic essays, linguistic analyses, analytical reports, research projects and oral presentations. The form(s) of assessment for individual modules are set out in the relevant module description. Modules are assessed on the basis of analytical descriptions of texts or other media and / or discursive essays. You will often be encouraged to choose your own texts for analysis, or to collect original data, and to relate your analyses to areas of personal interest. 

Emphasis in assessment is placed on critical and conceptual sophistication as well as on the production of clear, persuasive and scholarly essays presented in a professional manner and submitted on time.

You are encouraged to consult the relevant module leader to discuss the main ideas and the plan for your assignments.

Details of any academic or competence standards which may limit the availability of adjustments or alternative assessments for disabled students, if any, are noted in the module descriptions.

How will I be supported?

The programme convenor for the MA in Applied Linguistics will provide a contact point for discussion of any problems arising from the course. You can have one-to-one discussions with the programme convenor or your personal tutor (see below) during set office hours during teaching weeks. We also welcome email contact.

You will be allocated a personal tutor who will help you reflect on your performance on the course and advise you on study techniques, module selection and career planning (in conjunction with the University’s Career Service). They will also provide a first point of contact if you experience any difficulties. Each semester, you will have a scheduled Academic Feedback Meeting with your personal tutor, where your career aspirations, strengths and weaknesses are discussed, and concrete strategies are developed to help you reach your full academic and professional potential.

In addition to the programme convenor and your personal tutor, the School has a number of other academic and administrative staff who are there to support you:

  • the Employability, Internships and Placements Officer ensures that any work experience and placement opportunities are advertised to all students and can help you with specific questions about employability;
  • the Disability and Diversity Officer ensures that reasonable adjustments are made for students with disabilities;
  • the Writing Skills Support Tutor offers one-to-one help with writing for both international and home students;
  • the Specialist Librarian for Language and Linguistics offers help and advice in finding books and other materials in the area;

Cardiff University’s Professional Services team are also available for advice and support.


Formative Feedback

Formative feedback is feedback that does not contribute to progression or degree classification decisions.  The goal of formative feedback is to improve your understanding and learning before you complete your summative assessment. More specifically, formative feedback helps you to:

  • identify your strengths and weaknesses and target areas that need work;
  • help staff to support you and address the problems identified with targeted strategies for improvement.

Formative feedback is offered on all modules by means of classroom discussions, activities and homework tasks (to scaffold students’ learning). Each module offered on the programme includes face-to-face, seminar-type tuition (often in small groups), which provides the students with opportunities for discussing and clarifying ideas, and obtaining formative feedback from module leaders and lecturers. The specific nature and structure of this formative feedback is somewhat variable depending on the topic and focus of the module / individual session.

Summative Feedback

Summative feedback is feedback that contributes to progression or degree classification decisions.  The goal of summative assessment is to indicate how well you have succeeded in meeting the intended learning outcomes of a module and will enable you to identify any action required in order to improve.  All feedback should directly link to the module’s grading / assessment criteria.

Summative feedback is offered on all assessed work in the form of comments and advice on the separate feedback sheet. Feedback is provided in relation to the assessment criteria that are circulated to students through programme and module paperwork. You are specifically encouraged to discuss your feedback on your assessed work with the module leader and your personal tutor in order to reflect on your learning and to articulate areas for improvement as clearly as possible.

What skills will I practise and develop?

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme describe what you will be able to do as a result of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you. 

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme can be found below:

Knowledge & Understanding:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

(1) Ability to analyse and describe core areas of English language and linguistics, including phonetics, grammar, semantics, pragmatics and discourse analysis;

(2) Ability to articulate how the different methodological approaches of various linguistic schools relate to and / or complement each other;

(3) Ability to explain the multifaceted nature of the discipline of Applied Linguistics and the connections between its subdisciplines;

(4) Ability to categorise and interpret a range of empirical linguistic phenomena and to use the relevant descriptive terminology;

(5) Ability to analyse and assess how different social and cultural contexts affect the nature of language and meaning.

Intellectual Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

(1) Ability to critically evaluate ideas, arguments and empirical research;

(2) Ability to interpret information and ideas clearly and coherently in both written and oral formats;

(3) Ability to engage in independent reflection and enquiry and/or to work effectively in a team.

Professional Practical Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

(1) Ability to collect, evaluate, synthesise and interpret qualitative and/or quantitative data;

(2) Ability to evaluate the impact of language use in a given context.

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

(1) Ability to sustain a critical argument that is responsive to the particular conventions of the genre;

(2) Confidence to tackle unfamiliar software packages and acquire new IT skills.

Tuition fees for 2024 entry

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £5,350 None
Year two £5,350 None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2024/25 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Fees for island status

Learn more about the postgraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Fees for overseas status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £11,350 £2,500
Year two £11,350 None

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Financial support

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Additional costs

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

You are not required to provide extensive equipment but will want to equip yourself to take notes in classes. You will need to word-process assignments and may need computer access for other purposes.  Although computers are provided on the University campus (in libraries, for example), many students do like to have access to their own desktop or laptop computer.

Additionally, you may choose to buy some books to support their learning. This is not compulsory and all learning resources are available via the University libraries.

What the University will provide:

The University will provide computer access, including access to specialist computer labs, specialist software and specialist technicians. We will also provide access to the Cardiff University libraries, which offer books and a wide range of online resources.

Living costs

We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.


Master's Scholarships

An award open to UK students intending to study one of our taught master’s degrees.

Postgraduate loans

If you are starting your master’s degree in September 2024 or later, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan to support your study at Cardiff University.

Alumni Discount

The alumni discount is available for Cardiff University graduates who are planning to start an eligible master's in 2024/25.

Careers and placements

This programme will offer preparation for all careers where language is used for any purpose, for example to influence or persuade, inform, educate or entertain. Gaining an MA will demonstrate higher abilities in research and communication.

Some obvious future work destinations include research, teaching, speech and language therapy, publishing, writing, editing, information design, librarianship, as well as professional jobs, such as banking and HR, and public sector jobs, such as those in the civil service or local government. However, the degree is not limited to these possible directions and offers a good preparation for roles in a variety of fields which involve reasoning, critical and evaluative work, verbal and written skills, assimilation of information, communicative skills such as an awareness of linguistic variation, as well as some quantitative skills and skills in presenting information using technology.

Some students will also choose to undertake further study in the form of a PhD.


The Research Experience module offers the opportunity to work with a member of staff on an ongoing, authentic research task within part of a larger research study. This is a distinctive form of study and offers the opportunity to gain hands-on research experience and to reflect systematically on that experience. Findings from the Research Experience module can feed directly into ongoing work in the Centre for Language and Communication Research. This module is core.

There are no study abroad opportunities associated with this programme.

Next steps


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HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.