Descriptive Linguistic Analysis
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.
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. The implications for language pedagogy and other branches of applied linguistics (e.g.applications in other professional contexts) are considered, and students are encouraged to consider these in their own written work if appropriate.
Vocabulary: Teaching and Learning
The course 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.
Intercultural Business Communication
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.
Language and Gender
The course 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.
Syllabus Design and Methodology 1
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
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.
Research Methods in Applied Linguistics
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.
This module considers three fundamental and interrelated questions about psycholinguistics:
- acquisition, or how language is acquired
- comprehension, or how words, sentences, and discourse are understood
- 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).
Research Methods: Corpus Linguistics
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 practise 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.
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
All taught modules are assessed by written work of around 4,000 words or equivalent. Tutors provide feedback on practice exercises as preparation, and detailed comments on assignments. A final 60 credit dissertation completes the MA.
You will have access to many online resources, as well as your own personal tutor for each module that you take. Particular features of the programme include:
- a theoretical grounding in research methodology and linguistic description
- one-to-one tuition with expert members of staff
- innovative and engaging teaching methods
- access to many online resources
- great flexibility in course content, optionality, and changes in direction
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 in English Studies from an institution like the University of Nottingham 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:
- 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.
Student Loans (Student Loans Company)
If you are funded by a student loan there will be restrictions on your course duration. It is recommended that you visit the Student Loans from the SLC page on the website before you register for the course to ensure you understand the implications of this. It is also recommended that you contact your funding body to ensure you meet their requirements.
At present, if you are funded through the Student Loans Company (SLC) you must complete the course within 2 years to be eligible for funding. This includes the taught element and your dissertation. If you do not complete the course within 2 years you will be ineligible for funding. The recommended duration of our Distance Learning programmes is 3 years. We recognise that the majority of our students are in full-time work and have workloads that fluctuate throughout the year, and we find a 3 year duration most suitably accommodates this. If you register for one of our courses with a student loan, we strongly recommend that you contact your Personal Adviser as soon as possible to let them know that you need to complete the course in 2 years. This way we can organise your deadlines accordingly.
Please note that it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that they meet the requirements of the loan provider before applying. If you have any questions about the requirements of your loan, please contact your funding provider.
There are different ways to fund your postgraduate degree, from scholarships to loans – explore postgraduate funding.
UK government loan
Masters students from England and the EU could qualify for a postgraduate masters loan of up to £10,906.
EU and international students
We offer regional awards for EU and international masters students.
For information on specific funding opportunities and entry requirements, see our webpage for students from your country.