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.
Research Methods for Professional Communication
This module looks at methods for collecting and analysing data from workplace communication, giving an overview of quantitative, corpus linguistic and qualitative approaches and the linguistic theories that underpin them. The course will incorporate practical guidance on conducting fieldwork, research ethics, collecting and storing linguistic data (including digital texts and the recording of video/audio data) and methods for transcription. Corpus methods introduced will include the retrieval and interpretation of word frequency information, identification of word patterns in the form of concordances, and the analysis of key words. Qualitative methods addressed will include linguistic ethnographic approaches, discourse analysis, critical discourse analysis, conversation analysis and multimodal approaches. Participants on the course are given the opportunity to reflect on the applicability of these various methods to their own areas of interest in professional communication, which can be further developed for the project-based 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
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 take the below compulsory modules, which explore a particular aspect of professional communication and give a comprehensive understanding of the latest research in their respective fields:
- Intercultural Business Communication
- Language, Gender and Professional Communication
- Digital Communication in the Professions
- Research Methods for Professional Communication
Towards the end of your studies, you will complete a supervised dissertation, enabling you to design a study around a professional communication topic of your choice. This is a major piece of advanced independent research, which you will undertake with the supervision of a specialist in your chosen area. We will provide you with advice and guidance while you select and refine your area of study, and offer close supervision and support as you complete your research.
Prior to your project-based dissertation, you will undertake the Research Methods for Professional Communication module, which will give an in-depth understanding of how to design a rigorous research project and the various analytic methods that can be applied, ranging from discourse analysis to corpus linguistics.
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.
The dissertation module is assessed by written work of 14,000 words.
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:
- 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.
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.
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.