Structured PhD in Applied Linguistics
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 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
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.