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MA in Applied Linguistics

Available fully online or blended.
  • Programme Overview
  • Programme Content
  • Entry Requirements
  • How to Apply
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  • Programme Overview

    The Master's in Applied Linguistics provides 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 its main focus is on the use and teaching of the English language in a global context, it will address a national and international need for professional development among language teachers and language professionals.

    Key Features

    The programme offers 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 aims of the MA in Applied Linguistics are 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
    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  Dr 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 WalshGeraldine MarkDr 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.

    (See also Structured PhD in Applied Linguistics)

    Student Profile & Perspective

    The MAAL 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 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 (see here), which is essential for a career in teaching and researching at third level.

    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 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 Masters 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 course will run over three 12-week semesters. Semesters 1 and 2 will each have four taught modules (lectures and course work). Semester 3 will be 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 module.

    Alternatively, the course can be taken over one and a half years. Part-time options are also available. Each module will involve ongoing assessment, such as essays and oral presentations. For those students opting for the blended and online delivery formats, the assessments will 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 
    Classroom and Learner Discourse
    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
    Analysing Media Discourse

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

    Semester 3
    Dissertation (20,000 words)


    Entry Requirements

    • A 2.2 honours primary degree, plus two years’ experience in Language Teaching, publishing or translation, or related fields.
    • 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 English in the form of an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) composite score of 6.5 – 7.0 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.

    How to Apply

    Applications for September 2021 entry now open. 


    Fees: Click here.

    Please pay the non-refundable €50 application fee using Realex hereand return the completed application form by email to:

    See procedures for EU and Non-EU applications below.

    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. 

    To determine status, EU/Non-EU Status Assessments are conducted in MIC by the International Office.

    More information here.

    EU Applicants

    Download and complete the application form here.

    Please pay the non-refundable €50 application fee using Realex hereand return the application form by email to:, copying

    Please Note: In the case of non-native English speakers, a copy of your IELTS results (or equivalent) is required also.


    Non-EU Applicants

    You are advised to contact the MIC International Office before applying on +353 61 204988 /+353 61 774790.

    Please click on the link to complete your application through PAC.

    Please note the following:

    • 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


    Programme Coordinator
    Dr Joan O'Sullivan
    +353 61 774735

    Ask a Question

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