The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result, may change from year to year. The following list is therefore representative, but should give you a flavour of the modules we offer.
Descriptive Linguistic Analysis (30 credits)
This module is a core course in language and linguistics. It introduces and then develops the key terms, theories, frameworks, ideological approaches and methodologies required in linguistic study and research. It includes a substantial research methods component. It also invites and encourages critical evaluation, reflection and response to linguistic thinking and analysis.
Psycholinguistics 1 (15 credits)
This module considers three fundamental and interrelated questions about psycholinguistics: 1. acquisition, or how language is acquired; 2. comprehension, or how words, sentences, and discourse are understood; and 3. production, or how words, sentences, and conversations are produced. Potential topics include, but are not limited to: lexical influences on sentence comprehension and production; first and second language acquisition; reading; language disorders (e.g., dyslexia, aphasia).
Psycholinguistics 2 (15 credits)
This module further examines psycholinguistics in the areas of: 1. acquisition, or how language is acquired; 2. comprehension, or how words, sentences, and discourse are understood; and 3. production, or how words, sentences, and conversations are produced. Potential topics include, but are not limited to: lexical influences on sentence comprehension and production; first and second language acquisition; reading; language disorders (e.g., dyslexia, aphasia).
Old Norse Texts (15 credits)
This module offers students the opportunity to explore the culture of medieval Scandinavia through the surviving literature in Old Norse. Seminars will concentrate on the reading and analysis of selected extracts from prose and poetry of Icelanders in the original, using A New Introduction to Old Norse. Students will be expected to read, and be prepared to discuss, complete texts read in translation, and the most important critical studies.
Research Methods in Applied Linguistics (15 credits)
The module looks at various approaches of collecting and processing data using both qualitative and quantitative methods of investigation. With a focus on the area of applied linguistics, students will be introduced to the process of hypothesis formulation and testing, issues of interpretation, evaluation and replicability of data and of research results, questionnaire and interview design, data gathering and recording, statistical description and analysis.
Investigating Health Communication (30 credits)
This module is intended to introduce students to the rapidly expanding field of health communication. The module focuses on two key areas in the field: narratives of healthcare and healthcare documentation. It will equip students with a high level knowledge of narrative and documentation theory and explore how much of what takes place in healthcare exchanges is governed by the kinds of narratives and documents that are used. Students will also develop and practice skills in identifying and analysing narratives of, and documents relating to, patients, professionals and policy makers. Students will understand how knowledge of healthcare texts can be used to enhance therapeutic interventions and practices across a range of healthcare disciplines. Students will appreciate how healthcare environments, structures and practices are informed by broader, macro-level organisational narratives and policies.
Old English Texts (15 credits)
A knowledge of Old English is crucial to the in-depth study of the history and development of the English language, English place-names, culture and society in pre-modern England. This module offers students the opportunity to explore the literary ideas and culture of Anglo-Saxon England through the study of selected original texts. Using Peter Baker’s Introduction to Old English, the module will introduce basic elements of Old English grammar and syntax to prepare students for reading and enjoying the texts. Wide reading of texts in translation, and discussion of poetry and prose in the light of historical and critical scholarship will form an important part of the module.
Grammar in the Classroom (15 credits)
This module examines the role of grammar in language teaching. In the traditional language classroom, the study of grammar has often been seen as synonymous with the study of language itself. Grammar-translation was widely used as a method until the 60s, and learners were given little opportunity to use language meaningfully. In the 70s, audio-visual approaches were in vogue. Students were encouraged to practise language actively, but the syllabus was still often grammatical, and rote-learning was encouraged. In the 1980s, there was a move towards more communicative methodologies, and, as a result, explicit grammar teaching was treated to some extent as an outdated methodology. The pendulum has swung back, and there is now general acceptance that grammar teaching has an important role to play in classroom language learning.
Intercultural Communication (15 credits)
This module will explore the use of language in interactions between speakers of different cultural and linguistic backgrounds from three different perspectives: Description, Development, and Assessment. With a growing proportion of interactions in the world today taking place between people of diverse cultural backgrounds, it is important to identify and describe language use which may lead to misunderstanding and communicative breakdown. This module will look at ways in which language barriers might be overcome in such interactions, and at the key factors in this process. We will examine intercultural interactions in a variety of contexts, e.g. business and other professional encounters, the language of the media, the foreign language classroom, etc.
Advanced Study Module (Medieval) (15 credits)
The aim of this module is to provide the opportunity for students to take further, in the form of a project, a topic which has engaged their interest in modules already successfully completed on the MA. The project should be discrete and not merely an expansion of work already undertaken. The topic might be (inter alia) a linguistic or literary study, but it must be discussed with and agreed by the supervisor, who will advise on the scope and writing up of the project so that it appropriately reflects ‘advanced study’. A list of tutors available to supervise projects, and their areas of expertise, will be made available on the School website.
Middle English Romance (15 credits)
This module considers twenty-first century historicized readings of a major English literary genre, and demonstrates that medieval English romance texts can be set in complex and profound critical relationship to each other and to other artistic media. Such an approach is possible largely because of the vibrant and privileged international socio-literary milieu in which many romance tracts were first written and received. Students will be encouraged to explore how reading Middle English romance texts can equip us with vocabulary and concepts to discuss the cultural specificities of the literary representations of romance, love and chivalry in this period, the representations of public and private identities, and the questions regarding individuality and selfhood that arise in literature produced in a volatile period of religious and social uncertainty and dissent. These are all issues that now define “the Middle Ages” for modern scholars.
Literary Linguistics 1 (15 credits)
This module explores the use of linguistic frameworks to investigate literary texts. Through a series of practical analyses, students will be introduced to a range of linguistic explorations of poetry, prose, and drama from a wide range of historical periods. The course will invite students to use the analyses as an occasion for the critical evaluation of the various approaches to language and literature, to investigate the notions of literariness and interpretation, and to consider the scope and validity of stylistics in relation to literature and literary studies.
Literary Linguistics 2 (15 credits)
This module further explores the use of linguistic frameworks to investigate literary texts.
Teaching Language and Literature 1 (15 credits)
The module will examine the use of representational materials in language teaching and the development of creative reading, processing and interpretative skills; language awareness, text awareness and cultural awareness will be seen as contributory factors to a five-skills approach to the teaching and learning of English as second or foreign language. This will involve the study of a wide range of texts and text-types, from both an analytical and a pedagogic viewpoint. Various approaches to language, linguistic and literary study will be considered, with their application to various pedagogic situations.
Teaching Language and Literature 2 (15 credits)
The module will further develop the use of representational materials in language teaching and the development of creative reading, processing and interpretative skills; language awareness, text awareness and cultural awareness will be seen as contributory factors to a five-skills approach to the teaching and learning of English as a second or foreign language. This will involve the study of a wide range of texts and text-types, from both an analytical and a pedagogic viewpoint. Various approaches to language, linguistic and literary study will be considered, with their application to various pedagogic situations. The module builds on Teaching Language and Literature I and develops a greater depth of knowledge.
World Englishes 1 (15 credits)
The module will examine the historical and social development of the English language in contexts largely but not exclusively outside the traditional boundaries of Great Britain and the United States. This will involve an examination of language development, nativisation and acculturation in different contexts; social, political and ideological aspects of the phenomenon will be examined.
Discourse Analysis 1 (15 credits)
The module looks at various approaches to the study of spoken language. These include structural models based on the work of the Birmingham discourse analysts, as well as more sociolinguistically inspired approaches to conversation analysis and recent developments in spoken corpus linguistics. Each learning unit takes a different kind of discourse and progressively builds up a classification of discourse types or genres. Real spoken data are used throughout, for exemplification and practical analysis tasks. Both quantitative (corpus-based) and qualitative approaches to analysis are covered, and the implications for language pedagogy and other branches of applied linguistics (e.g applications in other professional contexts) are considered.
Discourse Analysis 2 (15 credits)
The module develops approaches to the study of spoken language, building on structural models based on the work of the Birmingham discourse analysts, as well as more sociolinguistically inspired approaches to conversation analysis and recent developments in spoken corpus linguistics. Each learning unit takes a different kind of discourse and progressively builds up a further classification of discourse types or genres. Real spoken data are used throughout, for exemplification and practical analysis tasks. Both quantitative (corpus-based) and qualitative approaches to analysis are covered, and the implications for language pedagogy and other branches of applied linguistics (e.g. applications in other professional contexts) are considered in greater depth.
Vocabulary: Teaching and Learning (15 credits)
The module will provide a broad overview of vocabulary studies, including description of how vocabulary is used, exploration of the processes of vocabulary acquisition, and discussions of current best practice in teaching pedagogy. Specific issues covered include: what it means to 'know a word'; how many and which words need to be taught; explicit vs. incidental learning of vocabulary and reading; vocabulary learning strategies; and testing vocabulary.
Language and Gender 1 (15 credits)
The module will explore the relationship between language and gender in spoken interaction and written texts, drawing on key approaches in the areas of discourse analysis, sociolinguistics and pragmatics. The extent to which gender affects the language we produce when interacting with one another in a variety of contexts will be focused on, along with the issue of sexism in language use. Various theoretical paradigms that have been presented to explain language and gender differences will be critically examined, along with gender ideologies which operate in society. Students will be encouraged to combine theoretical thinking with hands-on analyses of data from authentic examples of spoken interaction and from a variety of publications including the popular media. The practical consequences of the discipline in terms of how findings can have a political impact on wider society are also discussed.
Language and Gender 2 (15 credits)
The module will build on the theoretical and critical knowledge gained in Language and Gender 1, in order to develop practical methodological and analytical skills in a range of discourse situations. These will include issues of language and gender in an educational and pedagogic context, in the cyberspace, in the media, in medical settings and the courtroom. With further reference to current work in the field, students will apply their knowledge of discourse analytic, sociolinguistic and pragmatic approaches to examining the inter-relations between language, gender and society.
Syllabus Design and Methodology 1 (15 credits)
The module will examine the theory and practice of syllabus design. The emphasis is on developing practical strategies and thinking in order to design and teach ELT programmes to meet the needs of specific learners in a specified teaching context. The module explores the relationship between syllabus design and methodology, before going on to a critical appraisal of developments in ELT methodology. This includes the humanistic, social-constructivist and lexical approaches, and communicative methodology. Issues relating to the learner-centred syllabus are also be explored.
Syllabus Design and Methodology 2 (15 credits)
The module will further examine the theory and practice of syllabus design, building on the knowledge and skills developed in the first module. The emphasis in this advanced course is on developing practical strategies and thinking in relation to a wider range of classroom situations. The student's own teaching environment and context will inform the area of study, and further critical positions are explored.
Narratology (15 credits)
This module surveys key work in narratology, from literary, stylistic and sociolinguistic perspectives, with each unit written by an area specialist. The module introduces key approaches to the study of narratology and offers students insight into the development of narrative from Chaucer to the present day. The emphasis will be on literary narratives, though comparative exploration of non-literary and narratives will also appear.
Cognition and Literature (15 credits)
This module represents a course in cognitive poetics. It draws on insights developed in cognitive science, especially in psychology and linguistics, in order to develop an understanding of the processes involved in literary reading. The module also develops skills in stylistics and critical theory.
Research Methods: Corpus Linguistics (15 credits)
Corpus linguistics provides methods for the study of collections of electronic texts (written texts, including literary texts, material from the internet, transcripts of spoken language, etc.). This module introduces fundamental corpus methods that include retrieving and interpreting word frequency information, studying patterns of words in the form of concordances, and analysing key words. The module will explain basic concepts and illustrate methods through case studies. Through exercises students will have the opportunity to use corpus tools and practice the analysis of data. Students are encouraged to reflect on the applicability of a range of methods to their own areas of interest (e.g. literary linguistics, discourse analysis, ELT, etc.). For the assessment, students will complete a small-scale corpus project. This project can function to test ideas that might be further developed in the dissertation.
What is Literature (30 credits)
This 30-credit module addresses the question ‘What is literature?’ by introducing key critical methodologies and theoretical frameworks that have been developed to study literary and dramatic texts. The primary aim is to encourage you to become more reflexive about your own practice as a literary critic. For this reason, the range of the module is purposely broad. Each Unit introduces a particular critical methodology or theoretical framework and works through significant issues by examining a particular author, period or genre, ranging broadly over literatures from the fourteenth century to the present day
Dickens and Language (15 credits)
Through detailed study of a selection of his novels, this module will examine the language and style of Dickens. It investigates the creation of fictional worlds and techniques of characterization. While the focus is on Dickens, the module introduces stylistic approaches that are of wider applicability (such as approaches to body language in literature or computer-assisted methods of analysis). The module also deals with the reception of Dickens's novels and assesses Dickens's literary celebrity in the context of popular culture.
Consciousness in Fiction (15 credits)
The module will explore in depth narrative techniques used for the presentation of consciousness in novels and other fictional texts. Students will learn about the linguistic indices associated with the point of view of characters and the various modes available to a writer for the presentation of characters’ thoughts and perceptions. Alongside detailed examinations of narrative texts which portray consciousness, students will also study different theories put forward to explain the nature of writing consciousness in texts. The module will also aim to explain historical changes in the style of writing consciousness, making connections with literary and cultural history.
Further information about the above modules is available in the Module Catalogue.
The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.