MASTER OF PHILOSOPHY IN ENGLISH AND APPLIED LINGUISTICS

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1 University of Cambridge: Programme Specifications Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this programme specification. Programme specifications are produced and then reviewed annually by the relevant faculty or department and revised where necessary. However, we reserve the right to withdraw, update or amend this programme specification at any time without notice. Further information about specifications and an archive of programme specifications for all awards of the University is available online at: MASTER OF PHILOSOPHY IN ENGLISH AND APPLIED LINGUISTICS 1 Awarding body University of Cambridge 2 Teaching institution Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics 3 Accreditation details None 4 Name of final award Master of Philosophy 5 Programme title English and Applied Linguistics 6 JACS code(s) Q300 7 Relevant QAA benchmark Linguistics (English Language) statement(s) 8 Qualifications framework level 7 (Masters) 9 Date specification was produced/ March 2008 last revised 10 Date specification was last reviewed July 2011 Educational aims (i) To provide students with a solid foundation in studies of the structure of English language (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics); (ii) To provide expertise in areas of Linguistics and Psycholinguistics related to Applied Linguistics research; (iii) To provide exposure to a wide range of different theoretical approaches and methodologies in each of the academic areas taught on the MPhil; (iv) To train students in research methodologies so that they will be enabled to plan, execute and write up two research projects (at least one of which will be of an empirical nature); (v) To enable students to produce written academic discourse to a publishable standard; (vi) To provide experience in the public presentation of well-argued academic material; (vii) To provide exposure to the activities and research of the wider academic community through IT and web-based resources and through a regular programme of invited speakers. Structure and requirements of the programme The MPhil is a nine month (three term) master's programme, taught in DTAL between October and June. Participants on the MPhil should have a good first degree (first class or a good 2.1, or their equivalent). They must have a native or near-native command of English (a minimum score of 620 TOEFL and 7.5 for IELTS). The course will be particularly suitable for those who are or hope to become university lecturers, teacher trainers, and experienced language teachers who wish to develop their ability to undertake research into English and language learning. The number of participants on the course will be restricted to around 15. Page 1 of 5

2 Course Structure There are four core courses taken by all candidates. These are taught during the first two terms in weekly two-hour sessions: English Language: Grammar, Phonology, Orthography English phonology, and orthography - with practical phonetics English morphology and syntax English Language: Semantics, Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis Semantics and pragmatics Discourse analysis Language Acquisition and Development Social and functional approaches to language acquisition Principles and parameters approaches to second language acquisition Psychology of Language Processing and Language Learning Monolingual and bilingual language processing Psychological mechanisms of language learning In addition to the core courses, candidates select at least one of a range of option courses. The option courses currently offered are: Assessment of Language Proficiency Computational Linguistics Experimental Phonetics and Phonology Language Acquisition Seminar Psycholinguistics Statistics Seminar Assessment The MPhil in English and Applied Linguistics is assessed by: Two 8,000-word research essays (one of which is submitted at the beginning of Term 2, the other at the beginning of Term 3). These essays may be drawn from either core courses or option courses. Topics for research essays are negotiated between candidates and staff members A "take-home" examination in weeks 5 and 6 of Term 3 consisting of a total of eight 2,000 word essays, two essays from each of the core papers. This assessment programme is intended to provide candidates with the opportunity to explore issues in depth in the research essays, and to form cross-links between core courses in the take-home examinations. Students are required to pass all components of the course (two research essays, four examination papers) in order to obtain a pass result. Page 2 of 5

3 Knowledge, understanding and skills developed through the MPhil course The main aim is to train students to undertake research into English Language and fields relating to Applied Linguistics. It is expected that students will gain a good level of expertise in each of the core areas of teaching at DTAL. The courses cover areas of linguistics and psycholinguistics research which are relevant to the study of the structure of English or to Applied Linguistics. These are designed to expose students to the variety of theoretical traditions in the various sub-disciplines. They are also designed to foster an inter-disciplinary approach to language research. For instance, in the core course, Meaning in English, the topic of lexical semantics covers areas of psychological research, lexicographic research and morphosyntactic research. Students are given every opportunity in their own work to make interdisciplinary links. Assessment of both the research projects and the exam essays particularly rewards the making of these links. Through this approach, students come to appreciate that the study of language is approached in a number of different ways: descriptive/comparative, formal/theoretical, social and psychological methodologies. Students are expected to develop the ability to read critically within different approaches. We also expect that students become aware that within methodologies there are different programmes of research. To encourage students to reflect on these second order issues, our Basic Essentials course requires the students to discuss foundational issues in the study of language and in the cognitive sciences generally. Research training (and transferable skills) is ongoing both within the academic related courses and in the Research Methods course and Advanced Statistics course. The expectation is that our programme of research training will result in the following: that students come to appreciate how research questions arise and how they can be pursued within different methodologies that students come to appreciate how a given type of research strategy is evaluated by the relevant academic communities that students develop the ability to evaluate research in a manner appropriate to that methodology that students develop the ability to generate suitably novel research questions in a manner commensurate with the methodological background that students have sufficient substantive and methodological knowledge to conduct an empirical investigation that students have the requisite skills in planning and running an empirical investigation that students develop their skills in presenting the results of research that students are aware of the benefits of critical evaluation of their research and of selfassessment. A crucial aspect of the students research training will involve their research projects. These will be conducted in close consultation with a designated supervisor and often with other members of DTAL. Formally, there are five stages to all projects: Development, Execution, Writing-up, External Assessment and Self-assessment. Key transferable skills: The ability to conduct research. Page 3 of 5

4 The ability to choose and implement to appropriate statistical tests for a given research project. The ability to construct a clear argument in a manner appropriate to the traditions of analytical academic discourse found in most areas of language research. Some early training and feedback is given with regard to academic writing in the form of five short, practice assignments (2000 word essays). Public presentation skills are developed in the tutorials which run along-side the core courses. Here students will be asked to present solutions to problem sets to the rest of the group. In the Basic Essentials course, students are required to participate in a formal, parliamentary-style forum of discussion. The ability to exercise judgement in the selection and analysis of relevant data. Indicators of quality In the last two Research Assessment Exercises (1996, 2001) carried out by the Higher Education Funding Council, the Faculty of English, together with the Research Centre for English and Applied Linguistics (RCEAL, now DTAL), gained the highest possible rating (5*), and, in the last Teaching Quality Assessment Exercise (1995), the Faculty, together with RCEAL (now DTAL), was pronounced "Excellent" with respect to its teaching, assessment procedures and support for students. Between students read for the MPhil each year. The pass rate approaches 100%. In 2002, RCEAL (now DTAL) obtained approval by the ESRC for graduate funding. Learning Support All MPhil seminars and tutorials take place in our seminar room and are taught by members of DTAL s staff. All students are members of a College as well as the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and have access to learning support from both College and University. In addition to pastoral support offered by colleges, each student is assigned an administrative supervisor in DTAL. Progress is monitored through five short assignments which are marked within one week of submission and for which written feedback is given. Each student is given personal academic supervision by a member of staff for each research project. Students also undergo a self-assessment exercise with their academic supervisor upon the completion of each of the two research projects. Students are given a formal induction into DTAL in the first week of the term. Academic Notes which specify exactly the requirements for the MPhil, including submission dates, are issued and explained in the first week of the course. DTAL contains a well-stocked library which provides essential reading material for the MPhil, as well as an up-to-date resource for researchers. There are computational facilities for analysing corpora (DTAL is building up a collection of corpora of adult, child, and second language learner language), for speech analysis, and for performing psycholinguistic experiments. Students have full access to the extensive facilities offered by the University of Cambridge. They may use all the facilities of the University Computing Service and Cambridge University Library (one of the largest in Britain). Extensive and web-browsing facilities are provided by DTAL and generous provision can be found in the University centrally and in individual colleges. Evaluating and improving the quality and standards of learning Page 4 of 5

5 DTAL participates in the University s quality assurance and enhancement system: 1. External Examining: The MPhil in English and Applied Linguistics has an external examiner who submits a report which is considered by the Modern and Medieval Languages Degree Committee (which is responsible for graduate matters) and the Board of Graduate Studies. Action in response to reports includes, where appropriate, revisions and adjustments to the programme and its delivery. 2. Courses are approved in the first instance at a DTAL staff meeting and then by the Modern and Medieval Languages Degree Committee. 3. MPhil students complete a questionnaire at the end of each term and at the end of the MPhil course, providing feedback on all individual courses, administration and computing facilities. The small size of the MPhil group allows the DTAL MPhil Director to read all of the completed questionnaires and to discuss the outcomes with individual lecturers. Issues arising from the questionnaires are discussed at staff meetings, before the MPhil Director offers feedback to the students. Students also have an annual, confidential, feedback session with the external examiner, where comments and views can be aired. All feedback is recorded and acted upon. Career Destinations Around one third of the MPhil group go on to undertake PhD research (mostly in DTAL). Many former students who have followed this path now hold posts in universities in Britain and around the world. Many students come to study for the MPhil from academic or teaching backgrounds in tertiary institutions around the world and return to academic posts. Other career destinations include research and publishing. General Information More information can be obtained from our website (http://www.dtal.cam.ac.uk/) which contains an online version of our prospectus. Page 5 of 5

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