English Language MA module details

Core modules

Structure and Variation in Language

This module develops students’ ability to accurately describe and analyse the structure of English sounds, words and sentences using appropriate linguistic terminology. Students also consider how different linguistic forms (e.g. different pronunciation variants or different grammatical constructions) are used in different varieties of English language, and learn about methods used to study linguistic structure and variation, including corpus-based methods.

Meaning in Language

This module focuses on how language is used to communicate meaning, and the way in which textual, social, cultural, situational and interpersonal context can influence meaning. Students learn about current theories, issues, methods and approaches in semantics, pragmatics and discourse analysis and explore the application of these to natural linguistic data.

Research Methods

This module is designed to introduce students to the skills required and methodologies used for post-graduate level study. The aim is to slowly build up students’ research knowledge and skills. For example, we start by introducing the skills needed to write a literature review, in particular, guiding students to engage in critical evaluation in their reading, to judge and debate issues, and to reach their own conclusions. This is crucial for students to apply such knowledge to other areas in English Language or in English language teaching/learning. Furthermore, the research methods session will enable students to understand the pros and cons of different research methods, and how they can be used to help answer research questions in the context of English Language or of English language teaching. In addition, students will do small research projects with fellow students in class, helping them understand the necessary steps of doing research. At the end of this module, students will produce a research proposal, leading them to embarking on the dissertation.


This module provides students with an opportunity for sustained work of an independent nature in an area related to the linguistic study of the English Language. Students may further develop topics they have considered during the taught modules of the programme, but will provide a new, sustained and more extended argument. Dissertations or projects should usually contain an element of originality, either by drawing on new insights from primary research or by offering new readings, analyses or challenges to established authorities.

Optional modules


On this module students will develop a systematic understanding of the main areas of Psycholinguistics. It will also provide classic readings by key names in the discipline, which students can discuss and critically evaluate. Students will also gather, analyse and interpret information about the research carried out in the field and so prepare themselves for the research to be undertaken for the dissertation.

Conference Organisation and Presentation

The module is designed to train students in the skills involved in event organisation and presentation. It will involve collaborative as well as individual research skills. Students will be guided through the necessary training in organising a conference, choosing a topic and delivering a relevant paper.

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