Masters – a matter of focus
This year the EL Gazette has gone for a new approach in its listing of UK and Irish masters degrees – the focus of each course. Melanie Butler explains why it was time for a change.
For the first time in over twenty years the Gazette has redesigned its annual listing of ELT-related masters in the UK and Ireland, following an analysis of feedback from postgraduate students on such courses published in the ‘Good MA Guide’ in our June edition last year.
This year we arranged the masters degrees into four categories. This table lists the English language-focused ones. For more information on how we organised the listings, please see below the chart.
* = programme open to new teachers (does not list teaching experience as an entry requirement)
Fees for the courses below are listed according to the most recent data on the universities’ websites. They are shown here as an indication only; for more current information, please contact the institutions themselves (by clicking on the course names below).
|Centre name||Course name||Teaching practice||Course length||Course fees||Start dates||Entry requirements|
|Aston University||MA Tesol (on campus)*||Microteaching, teaching observation||FT: 12 months, PT: 2–3 years||FT: £4,255 (EU), £12,500 (O)||Oct||2:1 degree in English or related discipline or overseas degree, and two references. Ielts 6.5, with 7.0 in writing and speaking, and 6.0 in listening and reading|
|MA Tesol and Translation Studies (on campus)||Microteaching||FT: 12 months, PT: 2–3 years||£4,255 (EU), £12,500 (O)||Oct||2:1 in translation studies or French and/or German and/or Spanish, or overseas degree, plus two references. Ielts 6.5 with 7 in writing and 6 in speaking, listening and reading|
|MSc Tesol/ TESP/ TEYL/ EMT||No||2–3 years (up to 5 with continuation fee)||£7,370 (EU & O) (2012–13 fees)||Apr, Oct||A degree and two years’ teaching experience. Ielts 6.5 or equivalent|
|MSc Applied Linguistics||No||As above||As above||Apr, Oct||2:1 in English language, linguistics or related discipline or an overseas degree, plus two references. Two years’ full-time teaching experience. Ielts 6.5 with 7 in writing and 6 in speaking, listening and reading|
|Birmingham, University of||MA Tefl/Tesl||Some teaching practice and observation||FT: 1 year; PT: 15 months; DL: 30 months||FT: £6,570 (EU); £13,665 (O); DL: £910-£940 per module; £2,730-£2,820 for the dissertation||FT, PT: Sep; DL: Apr, Oct||Good degree or overseas equivalent. Any academic and professional qualifications or industrial experience is taken into account. Ielts 6.5 with 6.0 in each band, or equivalent|
|MA Applied Linguistics||As above||FT: 1 year; PT: 2.5 years (DL)||As above||Sep||As above|
|MA English Language and Applied Linguistics||No||FT: 1 year; PT: 2 years||FT: £6,570 (EU), £13,665 (O); PT: half of the FT||Sep||As above|
|Bristol, University of||MSc Tesol||No||FT: 1 year; PT: 2–5 years||FT: £6,900 (EU), £14,100 (O), PT: £3,350 (EU)||Oct||UK honours degree or equivalent, one year relevant professional experience, and a commitment to learning in Tesol or applied linguistics. Ielts 7.0 with 6.0 in each band|
|Goldsmiths, University of London||MA Sociocultural Linguistics||No||FT: 1 year; PT: 2 years||FT: £4,750 (EU), £11,700 (O)||Sep||2:1 degree in a related field, or equivalent. Relevant teaching or other professional experience will be taken into account. Ielts 7.0 (7.0 in the written element), or equivalent|
|King’s College London||MA English Language Teaching (ELT) and Applied Linguistics||No||FT: 1 year; PT: 2 years; Fast track: four terms attendance plus dissertation||FT: £5,100 (EU), £12,000 (O); PT: £2,550, £6,000 (O); Fast track: £3,245 split over two years||Sep||A good honours degree in a relevant subject, although those with other qualifications may be considered. Applicants should also have experience equivalent to three years’ full-time in language teaching or a related post|
|MA Language and Cultural Diversity*||No||FT: 1 year; PT: 2 year||FT: £5,100 (EU), £12,000 (O); PT: £2,550, £6,000 (O)||Sep||BA 2:1 (or equivalent) in relevant subject or MA in relevant subject (as alternative to BA)|
|MA Language, Ethnicity & Education||No||FT: 1 year; PT: 2–4 years||FT: £5,100 (EU), £12,000 (O); PT: per 30-credit module £850 (EU), £2,000 (O)||Sep||2:2 first degree (or equivalent), plus the PGCE or an equivalent initial teacher qualification|
|Limerick, University of||MA Tesol*||Yes||FT: 1 year||Contact institution||Sep||Second class honours level primary degree or equivalent professional qualification. Ielts 6.5 with minimum 6 in each component.|
|Southampton, University of||MA Applied Linguistics for Language Teaching||No||FT: 1 year||FT: £5,400 (EU) for 2013–14, £14,440 (O) for 2014–15||Oct||Upper second class honours degree in a language or other relevant discipline, as well as some relevant professional experience e.g language teaching|
|MA Applied Linguistics (Research Methodology)||No||FT: 1 year||FT: £5,400 (EU) for 2013–14, £14,440 (O) for 2014–15||Oct||Upper second class honours degree in Engish, linguistics, modern languages, or other relevant discipline|
|MA Global Englishes (New from September 2014)||No||FT: 1 year; PT: 2 years||FT: £5,400 (EU) for 2013–14, £14,440 (O) for 2014–15||Sep||Upper second class honours degree in Engish, Linguistics, Modern Languages, or other relevant discipline|
|St Mary’s University College||MA Applied Linguistics and English Language Teaching||No||FT: 1 year; PT: 2–5 years||£3,680 (EU); £9,500 (O)||Sep||First degree with at least second-class honours, plus three years’ professional experience in education. Ielts 6.5 or equivalent.|
|University of Central Lancashire||MA Tesol with Applied Linguistics*||No||FT: 1 year; PT: up to 5 years; DL: 2–5 years||FT: £5,000 per year (EU), £11,450 (O); PT/DL: £525 per module||Sep||2:2 honours degree, plus appropriate teaching experience in language education and/or a pre-service certificate (Cambridge Celta/Trinity Cert Tesol or equivalent). Ielts 6.5 (6.0 in all bands)|
|Warwick, University of||MA English Language Teaching with a Specialism in: English for Specific Purposes; English to Young Learners; Drama and ELT; ICT and Multimedia; Testing and Assessment; Studies & Methods*||The Studies and Methods specialism includes small amounts of peer teaching||FT: 1 year; PT: 2 years||FT: £6,445 (EU), £14,450 (O); PT: £3,222 (EU), £7,270 (O)||Oct||Good honours degree or equivalent in a field related to language, English or education. Ielts 6.5 (6.5 in reading and writing), or equivalent|
|MPhil ELT and Applied Linguistics*||No||FT: 2 years||FT: £3,900 (EU), £13,420 (O)||Oct||Ielts 7.0 (with at least 7.0 in writing) or equivalent|
|MSc Intercultural Communication for Business & the Professions*||Includes a work placement option, no teaching practice||FT: 1 year; PT: up to 4 years||FT: £6,740 (EU), £15,950 (O); PT: £3,370 (EU)||Oct||2:2 degree or equivalent in any field of study. Applicants will need to demonstrate that they have an evidence-based interest in and/or sensitivity to intercultural/multicultural issues|
|Westminster, University of||MA English Language and Linguistics||No||FT: 1 year, PT: 2 years||FT: £5,000 (EU), £11,500 (O); PT: £2,500 (EU), £5,750 (O)||Sep, Jan||2:1 degree or equivalent experience in a relevant subject (eg English language, linguistics or Tesol). Ielts 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.Two academic references..|
|MA English Language and Creative Writing||No||As above||As above||As above||As above|
|MA English Language and Literature||No||As above||As above||As above||As above|
|York St John University||MA Applied Linguistics and Tesol*||No||FT: 1–2 years; PT: 2–5 years||FT: £5,700 (EU), £9,000 (O); PT: £317/module (EU), £500 per 10 credit module (O)||Sep, Jan||2.2 degree or equivalent. Ielts 6.5 (with no less than 6.0 in the individual components) or equivalent.|
Three of our listings identify the research focus of the university department offering the course: education, the English language and linguistics. The fourth category (listed third) comprises those MAs that focus on teaching. To be clear, this is a matter of emphasis. For example, masters degrees focused on teaching also cover related research. Which category each masters has been allocated is largely the choice of the course director, though we asked them to take into account the main area of research of the academic staff. In some universities, such as Birmingham and Edinburgh, different masters courses appear under different categories, reflecting the difference in research focus and balance between teaching and theory.
The decision to categorise masters courses according to research focus arose following two of the main complaints about masters courses in our ‘Good MA Guide’: around half the complainants thought the course they had done contained too much theory, while the other half thought there was too little. These are not new complaints, nor is the demand for more practical input in terms of teaching practice, teaching observation or work placements.
Part of the problem lies in the difference between the British tradition of masters for teachers and the US one. In the US a masters is usually a pre-service qualification with a heavy practical bias and a practicum, as teaching practice is known, whereas traditionally in the UK teachers take masters after an initial qualification and several years’ experience. An increasing number of British universities are offering masters suitable for graduates new to teaching (marked with a * in our listings), and there has been a sharp rise in the number including practical input. A small number, including Reading and Swansea, are even offering a portfolio route, in which teaching practice, lesson planning and materials design are offered as an alternative to the traditional research-based dissertation and can lead to an initial teaching qualification. The vast majority, however, still require a research dissertation and thus inevitably an introduction to research methodology. Moreover most UK masters are still designed for experienced teachers, as you will see if you read the entry requirements carefully.
We hope that this categorisation will make it easier for prospective postgrads to make a more informed decision about the sort of course that will suit them. It is certainly clearer than going by the name of the degree – applied linguistics certainly does not always imply more linguistics than a masters in Tesol or Tefl. In Britain even the titles MEd, MA and MSc are not a reliable indicator. The same department may offer more than one degree in the same field with the same name but a different title: Aston’s MA Tesol, for example, is open to students new to teaching, while its MSc Tesol requires two years’ teaching. And while only departments of education offer MEds and the Institute of Education (part of the University of London) awards an MA, the departments of education at Oxford, Edinburgh and Glasgow all award MScs, because as ‘ancient universities’ they all award MAs as a first degree.
Finally we apologise that this listing is less comprehensive than usual. However, while we spent over two working weeks on the research, emailing every course coordinator at least twice, copying emails to at least one other member of staff listed on the website, and calling, or attempting to call, those who did not answer written requests, we received no information on several of the courses we have listed in previous issues. Since the categorisations we are using depend on the designation of the course director, not Gazette guesswork, only in rare instances where we knew the courses well did we use our own discretion. We are happy to hear from any academics whose courses do not appear in this listing and will retain their information until the next time we run the grid. We will, however, not be able to publish apologies or updates regarding courses for which we have requested information but not received any.