The School of English at Nottingham has long been at the forefront of linguistic research on professional communication, with a focus on practical applications. We have a strong track record in providing evidence-based training in this area, through workshops and online courses delivered by our Linguistic Profiling for Professionals (LiPP) business unit.
This web-based course brings together our wide-ranging experience to provide flexible, postgraduate study in business management, leadership and professional communication, without the requirement for a background in accounting, finance and economics.
Studying via distance-learning allows working professionals to study with research-active academic staff and fellow students, offering a unique opportunity to study workplace communication from an evidence-based, linguistic perspective. Working across a range of management disciplines - with research-based data from real workplaces - you will be relating theory to practice, bringing value and experience not only to your personal development goals, but also to your organisation.
On this course, you will:
- be introduced to key ideas and concepts in applied linguistics
- be given the opportunity to analyse a range of media, from the huge variety of face-to-face interactions, remote conferencing and written communications that make up our workplace interactions, all sourced from authentic datasets
- have access to interactive online modules, which you can progress through at your own pace
- have opportunities to interact and work with leading researchers in the field in developing your evidence-based understanding of workplace communication
- develop core analytical skills and enhance your knowledge, understanding and performance of communication in the workplace
- gain thorough training in research methods, enabling you to design and conduct a study in an area of your choosing
Applicants who are interested in starting with the PG Certificate in Professional Communication may transfer to the PG Diploma/MA in Professional Communication if they decide to extend their studies, or may use their credits as an accreditation of prior learning if applying for the PG Diploma/MA at a later stage.
- This is an innovative online programme, featuring a learning journal, interactive quizzes and tasks, as well as scheduled contact time with academic tutors through interactive media
- Teaching is informed by active researchers in the field and the course content is regularly reviewed to ensure it remains relevant to the changing global business environment
- This MA is convened by academic staff in the Linguistic Profiling for Professionals unit in the Centre for research in Applied Linguistics, giving you unique access to specialists in professional communication and the latest research in this field
- The School of English was ranked: 11th in the UK for English in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019, 13th for English by the Complete University Guide 2020, and 49th for English Language and Literature in the QS World University Rankings 2019
- We are ranked 9th in the UK by 'research power' (REF 2014)
- The course is taught using a course tool software called Moodle. It is also supported by extensive online resources, course materials and teaching
- The programme offers an excellent route towards pursuing a PhD
Students will be required to complete the following modules:
Professional Communication at Work
The module explores language as it is used within the professional setting of work, focusing in particular on the crucial role played by discourse in people’s professional lives. Through the employment of a variety of contemporary frameworks for examining discourse and communication strategies, including linguistic ethnography, interactional sociolinguistics and conversation analysis, students will have the opportunity to analyse communication as it is used in real-life professional contexts. The spoken and written interactions explored in the module will come from a wide range of occupational settings, including offices, factories, and healthcare and government institutions. The module offers a practical and rich resource for the analysis of workplace talk. Students will have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the different communicative strategies involved in the establishment of rapport, decision-making and conflict management. The module, thus, aims to address relevant and contemporary issues relating to language use at work, offering students with the chance to explore the role played by discourse in this important sphere of social life.
Intercultural Business Communication
The module investigates the multidisciplinary subject of intercultural business communication. With a growing proportion of business 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.The module highlights contemporary issues emerging from the field, exploring, for instance, the influence of context, new multi-media technologies and globalisation on communication in commercial domains and organisational environments. It covers a wide range of quantitative and qualitative approaches, examining how individuals and groups use spoken and written communication to get work achieved successfully.The range of methodologies and analytical frameworks for interrogating business and organisational communication include: conversation analysis, corpus linguistics, critical discourse analysis, pragmatics and speech act theory, ethnography and genre analysis.The module emphasises how the findings of communicative research can be practically applied in examining the intercultural workplace and other multicultural business interactions.
Language, Gender and Professional Communication
The module will examine the relationship between language and gender in professional communication, drawing on key approaches in the areas of discourse analysis, sociolinguistics and pragmatics. Using a variety of linguistic tools, students will analyse language as social practice in a range of spoken, written and computer-mediated contexts and in a variety of areas, such as business, politics, healthcare and the law.The module explores contemporary issues, such as sexism in professional contexts and critically overviews theoretical paradigms on sex differences and gender stereotypes in the professions. Examples of topics to be covered are: Gender in workplace interaction, gender and leadership, intersections between gender, ethnicity and class, gender ideologies in the media, performativity and sexuality and finally misogyny and cyberhate in digital contexts. Students will be encouraged to combine theoretical thinking with hands-on analyses of authentic empirical data, including recent examples from (online) media. We conclude by reflecting on the practical consequences of the discipline in terms of how research can have a political impact on wider society and public policy.
Digital Communication in the Professions
Digital technologies are now central to the ways that most modern day organisations operate, and this influence continues to grow apace. Advancements in digital communicative technologies, particularly since the early 1990s, have enabled organisations of all types and sizes across the globe to communicate and actually ‘do’ business more effectively and efficiently. These technological developments, which range from text messaging and email, to blogging and mobile apps, have brought with them new styles of communication. Given the growing influence of digital technologies, not only in organisations but in society more generally, it is important to understand and indeed critique such technologies and the communicative styles that they produce.This module explores the phenomenon of digital communication in professional contexts. It will introduce the communicative practices that take place over a variety of digital platforms (for example: telephone, email, websites, adverts, social media) across a rich array of professional domains (for example: call centres, online shopping, healthcare and even payday lenders!). We will ask (and answer) questions like: how do people use digital communications to communicate more efficiently at work? How do advertisers use language and image to target their adverts at particular online consumers? How do people create positive personal and professional identities when using social media? And what role do digital technologies play in enabling online anti-social behaviour (i.e. flaming, trolling and cyber-bullying)? In answering these and other questions, this module will also introduce a range of flexible methodological and theoretical approaches that can be used to produce more sophisticated insights into digital communication across a variety of platforms and in more or less any professional environment. This type of close linguistic analysis, guided by these approaches and introduced throughout the module, can equip students with the analytical tools and knowledge to design and carry out their own investigation of professional digital communication. Moreover, this module has a strong focus on how such approaches might be applied in the real world to help modern day organisations to harness the potential (and avoid the some of the pitfalls) of digital technologies in their own communication.
The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. This course page may be updated over the duration of the course, as modules may change due to developments in the curriculum or in the research interests of staff.
Teaching methods and assessment
This course operates on a modular basis, starting with a preparatory module on Professional Communication at Work (20 credits). This outlines the key concepts, frameworks and ideas you will use throughout your degree, a significant component of which will be linguistic research methodologies.
You then choose two optional modules, which explore a particular aspect of professional communication and give a comprehensive understanding of the latest research in their respective fields.
Should you choose, you will also have the option to substitute one module for another 20-credit module from the range of postgraduate distance-learning options in English Language and Applied Linguistics, subject to appropriate pre-requisites or other requirements.
Our postgraduate students move into an extraordinarily wide range of careers following their time in the school.
Conducting postgraduate work in the School of English fosters many vital skills and may give you a head start in the job market. Studying at this level allows you to develop qualities of self-discipline and self-motivation that are essential to employment in a wide range of different fields.
We will help you develop your ability to research and process a large amount of information quickly, and to present the results of your research in an articulate and effective way. A postgraduate degree from the School of English shows potential employers that you are an intelligent, hard-working individual who is bright and flexible enough to undertake any form of specific career training.
Average starting salary and career progression
For postgraduates from the School of English, six months after graduation:
- 96.6% were in employment or further study
- the highest salary was £34,000
- the average salary was £21,875.
Source: known destinations and salary data for full-time, home, postgraduates extracted from the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2016/17.
Careers support and advice
We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students whatever your course, mode of study or future career plans.
You can access our Careers and Employability Service during your studies and after you graduate. Expert staff will help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.
More than 1,500 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.
Scholarships and bursaries
Please note that distance learning students are charged a standard fee with no differentiation between UK/EU and international students. Fees are paid on a module by module basis.
The majority of postgraduate students in the UK fund their own studies, often from a package made up of personal savings, parental loans or contributions, bank loans and support from a trust or charity.
Every year, a number of students are successful in the AHRC, ESRC or other competitions for funding. The school also provides a number of bursaries and scholarships for MA students.
See information on how to fund your masters, including our step-by-step guide.
Government loans for masters courses
Masters student loans of up to £10,906 are available for taught and research masters courses. Applicants must ordinarily live in the UK or EU.
International and EU students
Masters scholarships are available for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure you apply for your course with enough time.
We provide guidance on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study. You can also access specific funding opportunities, entry requirements and other resources for students from specific countries.