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Graduate Diploma / MA in Applied Linguistics

Note: The 'At a Glance' section below is indicative only.

Available: Full-time/Part-time

Level: 9

Duration: 12-16 months/2-3 yrs

Location: MIC Limerick/Online

Delivery Mode:

Fully online/Blended/Face to Face


Online assessment instruments e.g. quizzes, discussion fora, wikis, essays and oral presentations.

  • Programme Overview
  • Programme Content
  • Entry Requirements
  • How to Apply
  • Ask a Question

Programme Overview

The Graduate Diploma and Master's in Applied Linguistics provide a broad-based course of study in language description (language systems; grammar, lexis, and phonology), theories of Applied Linguistics, theories of Second Language Acquisition, frameworks for the study of discourse, sociolinguistics, as well as specialist research skills for the empirical analysis of language in context. While the programmes' main focus is on the use and teaching of the English language in a global context, they addresses a national and international need for professional development among language teachers and language professionals.

Key Features

The programmes offer a professional development opportunity for language professionals including:

  • Teachers in the fields of ELT (English Language Teaching) and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)
  • Language teachers
  • Primary school teachers 
  • Translators
  • ELT materials editors, course developers and sales teams

The aim of the Graduate Diploma / MA in Applied Linguistics is to:

  • Enhance the professional knowledge of Language Teachers and language professionals by focusing on the core features of language (grammar, lexis and phonology)
  • Develop participants’ ability to utilise theoretical frameworks for the analysis of discourse to enhance their ability to address specific language-related real-world problems concerning the learning, use, teaching and assessment of language
  • Provide a broad understanding of the key issues and debates in language teaching and learning
  • Develop specialist skills in the empirical analysis of language in context using corpus linguistics
MA in Applied Linguistics Mary Immaculate College
Graduate Diploma / MA in Applied Linguistics
This flexible programme offers a professional development opportunity for language professionals.
MA in Applied Linguistics
A Professional Development Opportunity
Dr Joan O'Sullivan outlines the benefits & flexibility of studying on the MA in AL programme.

Strong International Reputation

The programme lecturers include Prof. Anne O'Keeffe, Dr Joan O'Sullivan and Dr Brian Clancy (all from Mary Immaculate College). The course will also include guest webinars by Prof. Michael McCarthyScott ThornburyProf. Steve Walsh, Dr Geraldine Mark 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.

(See also Structured PhD in Applied Linguistics)

Media engagement available on RTÉ Brainstorm

Student Profile & Perspective

The Graduate Diploma/MA in Applied Linguistics is aimed primarily at Language Teachers and other language professionals. To offer the optimum flexibility, the course is offered in three possible delivery formats; face-to-face on campus, fully online or blended (a combination of face-to-face and online delivery).

These course delivery options:

  • Allow you the flexibility to continue working throughout the course
  • Allow you to integrate professional development into your professional working context
  • Allow you the flexibility to study at a time and place that best suits you
  • Provide a solution to travel and Visa issues

The programme can also create a structured pathway to further research at doctoral level, which is essential for a career in teaching and researching at third level.

Variety of people smiling at the camera
A Student Perspective
Giovani Santos talks about his experience with the MA in Applied Linguistics
Testimonial: MA in Applied Linguistics
Testimonial: MA in Applied Linguistics
"Such a positive experience that I’ve come back for more, and I started my PhD last September."

Studying on MIC's MA in Applied Linguistics led to PhD

"My name is Deborah Tobin and I completed the MA in Applied Linguistics programme at MIC in 2016. As a mature student who had been out of the study loop for quite some time, the prospect of returning to third-level, while exciting, was most definitely daunting. I work as an English-language teacher and have a family, so going back to school was going to be quite a different experience this time around!

"Any trepidation soon melted away. It soon became obvious to me that any support I needed to access the programme and achieve the best I could would be available whenever I needed it. I quickly settled into a study routine that fitted in with my work and life, such is the beauty of the online study option!

"The programme material was of tremendous interest and benefit to me in my English-language teaching work, allowing me to upgrade my skill-base with current research that was relevant to the language we use in our daily lives. The tutors were encouraging and so helpful. I’m fortunate in that I live in Limerick, so was also able to access the library on the MIC campus, which I found so much easier to navigate than a bigger campus. In fact, its friendly, professional atmosphere made for such a positive experience that I’ve come back for more, and I started my PhD last September! I can safely say thanks to MIC and the opportunity it has given me, I discovered a love for academia that I didn’t even realise I had."

New insights into Society, Language & Culture

International student, Yousef Al Hassan, said that when it was time to choose which educational institute he should go to, he was "frustrated and lost, until a friend of mine suggested I go to MIC".

"The first step was an interview with the programme coordinator of the MA in Applied Linguistics. I was nervous at the interview but the coordinator was helpful and introduced the programme plan to me very clearly, so I made the decision to study at MIC immediately.

"English is my second language so the small class size allows to me to speak with my lecturers in an easy and helpful way. The classes are informative and enjoyable as the topics of the modules are applicable to any society, and language, including Arabic. It was interesting to share knowledge about my culture and language and at the same time to know more about the Irish culture and language.

"If I had to explain the programme in one word, I would say 'flexible' – there is such a variety of classes available on-campus and online. There is a variety of webinars, introduced by experts in the field from different countries and universities. The staff are very kind and helpful, they are available every time I need their help, and their advice is always enriching. I am glad to be a student at MIC where I can pursue my dream of qualifying with a Master's degree."

Testimonial: MA in Applied Linguistics
Testimonial: MA in Applied Linguistics
"A flexible programme with a variety of classes available on-campus and online."
Testimonial: MA in Applied Linguistics
Testimonial: MA in Applied Linguistics
"Both faculty and staff have been exceptionally supportive."

Oklahoma-based student finds online study a positive experience

Sasha Turtova described progressing through her postgraduate studies in Applied Linguistics at MIC as "an amazing experience".

"Both faculty and staff have been exceptionally supportive. What I thought would be a scary experience as an online postgraduate student has turned into one of the most positive learning experiences of my life. The structure and pace of the online programme have helped me stay on top of my assignments. Each course provides lecture components and tutorial sessions that help me understand and practice the concepts and move forward.

"The course work has stretched me to grow professionally and go deeper into understanding and teaching a language. As a single mom, working full-time, I am amazed to see myself finishing my first semester and progressing through my postgraduate studies. I’m thrilled to be a part of the programme and thank all my professors and staff at MIC for their support and encouragement."


Dr Joan O'Sullivan, Programme Coordinator

T: +353 61 774735


Programme Content

Typically, the MA programme runs over three 12-week semesters. Semesters 1 and 2 each have four taught modules (lectures and course work). Semester 3 is dedicated to the writing of a dissertation. The three semesters can be taken back-to-back in one calendar year (September–August), using the summer period for the dissertation. Alternatively, instead of completing the dissertation in the summer period, students can choose to complete it in the following (Autumn) semester. Part-time options are also available (2-3 years).

On the Graduate Diploma programme, students take the taught modules of the MA programme, but do not complete a dissertation. This means that the programme can be completed in two semesters (typically Autumn and Spring), but part-time options (2-3 years) are also available. Graduate Diploma students who successfully complete the programme have the option of progressing to an MA later by completing the Master’s dissertation.

Each module involves ongoing assessment, such as essays and oral presentations. For those students opting for the blended and online delivery formats, the assessments have online options for completion.

Semester 1
Core Features of Language: Grammar, Vocabulary and Phonology
Research Methods in Applied Linguistics 
Academic Writing: Lexicogrammar and Discourse
Plus one elective module* from this list:
Introduction to Sociolinguistics
Second Language Acquisition 
Introduction to Irish English
Semester 2
Approaches to Language in Context
Issues in Applied Linguistics
Research Methods
Plus one elective module* from this list:
Corpus Linguistics and Language Teaching
Phonetics and Phonology 
Discourse and Pragmatics

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

Semester 3 (Applies to MA only)
Dissertation (20,000 words)

Entry Requirements

A 2.2 honours primary degree, plus an interest in language and linguistics.

Alternatively, relevant prior experience in Language Teaching, publishing or translation, or related fields considered on a case-by-case basis.

Click here for English language requirements.

How to Apply

Programme intake is in January and September.

EU Applicants

Applications for Graduate Diploma/ MA in Applied Linguistics are now open.

To apply, please complete all the steps below:

  1. Download and complete the application form here (application fee Payment Ref Number required).
  2. Please pay the non-refundable €50 application fee here using Stripe, and return the completed application along with the supporting documents below by email only to and

What to include with your Application

You will be required to send:

  1. University transcripts and certificates
  2. If English is not your first language/language of qualification, you will require:
  • English translation of transcript/qualification
  • Your English Language Competency Certificate (Academic IELTS or equivalent)

For more information about this programme, please email 

Closing date for applications for the 2024 autumn semester intake is 23 August 2024.

Non-EU Applicants

You are advised to contact the MIC International Office before applying:

Email: or Phone: +353 61 204988/ +353 61 774790

Entry requirements and the application process vary according to country of origin. For information that is specific to your home country, click here.

  • Please complete your application through PAC here You will be required to upload your university transcripts.
  • In the case of non-native English speakers, a copy of IELTS is also required.
  • The application fee is €50 and is non-refundable.

Transferring from another 3rd Level Institution

The transfer route into MIC depends on the content overlap of your new and old course and the number of places on the new course in the year you apply. Before submitting an application you should contact where we will consider your case with the relevant Head of Department of the course you wish to transfer to.

EU/Non-EU Status Assessments

The designation of a student as being from the EU or a Non-EU country determines the fees they will pay at Mary Immaculate College (MIC) i.e. there may be cases where a non-EU national acquires EEA citizenship during the course of their third level studies and would qualify for EU fees, for example.

Click here for more information on EU/Non-EU assessments which will be conducted by MIC International office to determine status.  


For Postgraduate Fees click here.

US Students please note that you can apply for Federal Aid but only the face-to-face version is Title IV eligible.

EU Applicants:
061 205160 / 204348
Non-EU Applicants:
+353 61 204988 / +353 61 774787

Ask a Question

  • Programme Overview
  • Programme Content
  • Entry Requirements
  • How to Apply
  • Ask a Question