(MA) Master of Arts
Language in Society
University of Essex
University of Essex
Language and Linguistics
A 2:2 degree (or international equivalent) in the following disciplines:
English Language studies, English Language and Literature, Linguistics (including applied linguistics, sociolinguistics).
We will consider applications with a degree in a unrelated area but which contains a substantial element of education, linguistics or modern languages.
Your degree should contain some of the following modules in the final two years of study:
This course will not be available for entry in 2020, alternatives include MA English Language or MA Linguistics..
IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code
IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5 except for 6.0 in writing
If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.
The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.
Rules of assessment
Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.
Please refer to the full time version of this course for information on Core and Compulsory modules.
Dr Maciej Baranowski
Senior Lecturer in English Sociolinguistics University of Manchester
External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment.
External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course.
They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards.
External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.
This graduate programme provides students with the opportunity to: Become familiar with approaches to the study of language use in contemporary work in Sociolinguistics.
Acquire a critical understanding of the nature and status of linguistic data.
Acquire the necessary methodological and analytical skills to formulate, test and critically evaluate research.
Problems in language use; and to collect, transcribe, analyse and present empirical research.
Achieve both practical and theoretical knowledge of major paradigms and interpretive traditions in sociolinguistics.
Develop a critical, in-depth comprehension of one or more descriptive and explanatory sociolinguistic approaches (e.g. Conversation Analysis, ethnography of speaking, geolinguistics, correlational sociolinguistic surveys).
Develop a critical appreciation of primary literature in the field.
Undertake an original piece of individual research.
Acquire a wide range of general research abilities and methods as well as transferable cognitive skills, practical skills and key skills.
Acquire a foundation for further study, employment and life-long learning.
Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods
On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:
A: Knowledge and understanding
A1: familiarity with approaches to the study of language use in contemporary work in Sociolinguistics
A2: Understanding of the nature and status of linguistic data
A3: practical and theoretical knowledge of major paradigms and interpretive traditions in sociolinguistics
A4: knowledge of key concepts, issues, ideas, theories, styles of argumentation and evaluation criteria used in contemporary sociolinguistic research
A5: knowledge of methods and tools employed in contemporary sociolinguistic work to collect, transcribe, analyse and present data
A6: critical, in-depth comprehension of one or more descriptive and explanatory sociolinguistic approaches
A1-6 are addressed in lectures, as well as seminar, class and tutorial discussion.
Web and instructional course materials, including library and internet materials are used to achieve A1, A2, A3, A4 and A6.
There is also office and email consultation with staff as well as written and oral feedback on work.
A1-6 are assessed by written coursework in the form of essays (usually a 3000 word essay per course) and exercises.
The dissertation is instrumental in the achievement of A5 and A6, being the most significant form of assessment with respect to knowledge and understanding acquired in the taught part of the course.
B: Intellectual and cognitive skills
B1: Critically evaluate contrasting linguistic theories/ accounts/explanations/approaches, demonstrating an understanding of the relationship between theory and data or practice
B2: Abstract and synthesise information from a range of sources (lectures/seminars/classes, journals, books, internet, etc.) identifying central concepts and findings
B3: Make observations and generalisations about behaviour (or data, or other materials) and analyse relevant types of behaviour, data, or materials using relevant methodologies
B1 - B3 are developed in seminars, classes and tutorials.
B2 is developed in directed reading of library and internet materials, as well as printed instructional course materials.
There is also office and email consultation with staff, as well as written and oral feedback on work.
B1-3 are assessed by written coursework in the form of essays (usually a 3000 word essay per course) and exercises.
In its development of advanced intellectual and cognitive skills, the dissertation is central in assessing B3.
C: Practical skills
C1: Retrieve information from a variety of sources (e.g. Library, WWW, CD-rom)
C2: Utilise techniques and tools relevant to the collection, analysis and presentation of sociolinguistic data
C3: propose, plan, undertake, write up and present an independent survey or report (e.g. on research undertaken individually or in collaboration with others, or on a case study), with a minimum of guidance
Throughout the scheme practical skills C1-3 are developed through independent learning in preparation for classes, seminars, essays and presentations.
In particular, these skills are mobilised in preparation for tutorials for the dissertation.
Office and email consultation with staff, as well as written/oral feedback on work is provided through both the coursework and dissertation phases of the degree.
Coursework and essays play an important part in the assessment of all skills C1-3.
It is in marking of the dissertation, however, that these skills - particular C2 and C3 - become particularly salient.
D: Key skills
D1: Communicating complex ideas effectively in writing, writing essays, reports and reviews using the appropriate register and style
D2: Using advanced computational tools and software packages to obtain, store and process information stored in electronic form (e.g. from the Library, WWW or CD-rom), and (where appropriate) to analyse data and results
D3: Under guidance, interpreting relevant statistical information and, where required, showing familiarity with complex procedures of symbol manipulation
D4: Analysing complex data-sets or behaviour, abstracting insightful generalisations and testing abstract hypotheses
D6: Under guidance, working independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time-management in tackling and solving complex problems
The key skills, D1, D2, D4 and D6 are taught throughout the scheme in preparation for lectures, seminars, tutorials and coursework assignments.
Oral presentations in class may be used to develop skills of oral communication in parallel with D1; students are also encouraged to collaborate with others to achieve common goals e.g. In project planning, management and presentation.
Seminars and tutorials are used to develop D3 and D4.
There is also office and email consultation with staff, as well as written/oral feedback on work.
Coursework essays are used in the development of all key skills D1 to D4 and D6.
Coursework exercises specifically develop D3 and D4.
The dissertation constitutes an overall assessment of these skills in judging communication, problem solving and independent learning.