This doctoral programme in Applied Linguistics is a four-year, full-time programme which includes a combination of taught modules (in Year 1 of the programme) and individual research, the principal component being the doctoral thesis. In tandem with the doctoral thesis, this programme aims to enhance the professional knowledge of language teachers and language professionals by focusing on the core features of language as a system (grammar, lexis and phonology), language learning and acquisition, as well as language in its broader societal context.
The taught component of the Structured PhD in Applied Linguistics (PhD AL) aims to provide a broad-based course of study in language description (language systems: grammar, lexis and phonology), theories of Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition, frameworks for the study of discourse, as well as specialist research skills for the empirical analysis of language in context. Specifically, it aims to:
•Enhance the professional knowledge of language teachers and language professionals by focusing on the core features of language as a system (grammar, lexis and phonology), language learning and acquisition, as well as language in its broader societal context.
•Develop students' ability to utilise theoretical frameworks for the analysis of discourse to address specific language-related real-world problems concerning the learning, use, teaching and assessment of language;
•Promote an in-depth understanding of the key issues and debates in the field of Applied Linguistics;
•Develop specialist skills in the empirical analysis of language in context using corpus linguistics and other digital tools.
The taught modules will be offered in a face-to-face environment and blended learning will be used to offer flexibility for learners.
Strong International Reputation
The core educational principle of the programme is that it will be research-led and will entail engaging with cutting-edge research across a range of sub-fields of Applied Linguistics. This will mean promoting enquiry-based learning by posing real world problems relating to language use and acquisition. The fostering of critical thinking is also core to the educational principles of the programme. Students will be challenged throughout the programme to engage critically with received models of language use and acquisition. A range of pedagogical strategies will be deployed to promote active research-led learning and scholarship. Residential summer schools will also be a key component of the programme and will allow students to engage with high profile Applied Linguists and also to present their own research, with the aim of fostering their development as independent researchers.
The course lecturers on Stage 1 (Taught component and Research Proposal Development stage) of the programme include internationally renowned Dr Anne O'Keeffe and Dr Brian Clancy (both from Mary Immaculate College). The course will also include guest webinars by Prof. Michael McCarthy, Scott Thornbury, Prof. Steve Walsh, Geraldine Mark, Dr Ivor Timmis, and others.
Mary Immaculate College has a strong international reputation for research in the area of Applied Linguistics, especially in its sub-field of Corpus Linguistics, and it has a vibrant doctoral level research profile within its Inter-Varietal Applied Corpus Studies (IVACS) research centre. Its degrees are awarded by the University of Limerick and are internationally recognised.
The taught component (Year 1) of the Structured PhD in Applied Linguistics aims to provide a broad-based course of study in language description (language systems: grammar, lexis and phonology), theories of Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition, frameworks for the study of discourse, as well as specialist research skills for the empirical analysis of language in context.
Thesis: Research topics
Applied Linguistics covers a broad and diverse range of practical applications of the study of language in order to solve real world problems; this means that students can choose from a wide variety of research topics for specialisation. As well as second language acquisition, such topics can be based around areas such as professional communication, multilingualism, minority and endangered languages, language difficulties and language policy and planning.
The programme fosters the development of generic and transferable skills, not only through the delivery of dedicated modules but by virtue of the PhD process as a whole, which cultivates team building, problem solving and analytical skills as well as developing skills in presentation and communication, and promoting creativity and critical inquiry—all of which are highly valued by employers.