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Applied Linguistics - Structured PhD

Programme Overview
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.

Key Features
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.

Programme Content
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. 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.

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.

Skills development
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.

Entry requirements

Any one of the following criteria must be met for entry:
•A first class honours primary degree in Applied Linguistics or a related area.
•A 2.1 honours Master's degree in Applied Linguistics or a related area.
•A 2.2 honours Master's degree, plus two years' experience in Language Teaching, publishing or translation, or related fields.

Alternatively, if you meet the below criteria, you may apply for MIC's MA in Applied Linguistics. You may then transfer to Year 2 of the Structured PhD in Applied Linguistics if you meet progression requirements including required grade average on this programme:
•A 2.2 honours primary degree, plus two years' experience in Language Teaching, publishing or translation, or related fields

or
•Relevant prior experience in Language Teaching, publishing or translation, or related fields considered on a case-by-case basis

English Language Requirements
Applicants for whom English is not a first language must provide evidence of their proficiency level in English in the form of an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) composite score of 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any one component, or IELTS equivalent accepted by UL. Such applicants will also be required to undergo an interview through English.

Careers or further progression

Career Opportunities
The programme creates a structured professional development opportunity for those working in the following areas:
•Language teaching and language education in general
•Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) / Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)
•Learning materials editing and publishing
•Language course development
•Translation

The PhD AL is also key in the development of a structured pathway to an academic career in the area of Applied Linguistics and in building a strong research profile. A doctorate is required for most higher education faculty members, which includes both lecturers and researchers. The programme will also enhance opportunities in teaching and programme design at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in third level institutions.

Other careers associated with Applied Linguistics lie in the areas of communications, journalism, speech and language therapy, media and public relations.

Further enquiries

For further information about the course, please contact: Dr Joan O'Sullivan joan.osullivan@mic.ul.ie

Subjects taught

Semester 1 (Year 1) - Taught and Research
Core Features of Language: Grammar, Vocabulary and Phonology
Research Methods in Applied Linguistics
Academic Writing: lexicogrammar and discourse
Choose one of the Elective modules* from this list:
Introduction to Sociolinguistics
Second Language Acquisition
Classroom and Learner Discourse
Introduction to Irish English

Semester 2 (Year 1) - Taught and Research
Approaches to Language in Context
Issues in Applied Linguistics
Research Methods
Choose one of the Elective modules* from this list:
Corpus Linguistics and Language Teaching
Phonetics and Phonology
Discourse and Pragmatics
Analysing Media Discourse

* Electives will be offered on the basis of there being an adequate level of student uptake.

Summer Semester (Years 1, 2, 3 & 4)
Individual doctoral thesis work under supervision of designated supervisor and Doctoral Studies Panel
Summer School

Semester 3-8 (Years 2-4)
Individual doctoral thesis work
Generic and transferable skills courses

Application date

Closing Date for Applications: 2 August 2019.

Enrolment and start dates

How To Apply
Download and complete the application form from "Application Weblink" below.

•The application form must also include your university transcripts.

•In the case of non-native English speakers, a copy of IETLS is also required, or equivalent.

Pay the application fee* and return the application form by email to: RGSO@mic.ul.ie or by post to: Research and Graduate School Office, Mary Immaculate College, South Circular Road, Limerick, Ireland, V94 VN26.

*Pay your application fee (EU: €33; non-EU: €55) using Realex System. Please note down the payment reference number, make a screenshot or print a copy for your own records.

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!