Research Applied Linguistics (by distance learning)

Key information

Registration dates: There are two registration dates every academic year - October and April. Deadline for applications for April 2014 enrolment is 24 January 2014.

Please note that we have no more places available in the area of TESOL for 2013/2014. If you would like to apply for 2014/2015 entry, the deadline for applications will be in July 2014. We are still accepting applications for 2013/2014 entry in other areas of Applied Linguistics.

Distance learning available:

Part-time available: 

Fees (2014/15):
UK/EU students: £4,370 per year 
International students: £6,780 per year

These fees apply to students who complete the PhD in 4 years. After this time, a fee of £2,185 per year (home students) or £3,390 per year (international students) will apply. The maximum time allowed for completion is 6 years.

Fees (2013/14):
UK/EU students: £4,284 per year 
International students: £6,648 per year

These fees apply to students who complete the PhD in 4 years. After this time, a fee of £2,142 per year (home students) or £3,324 per year (international students) will apply. The maximum time allowed for completion is 6 years.

Application & contact:
Daniel Thomson, Research Officer
School of Languages and Social Sciences
Email: lss_research@aston.ac.uk  
Tel: +44 (0)121 204 3972
Fax: +44 (0)121 204 3766

How to apply

Studying by distance learning


This innovative new distance learning research programme in the area of Applied Linguistics builds upon our extensive experience in distance learning masters programmes.

This programme aims to

  • deepen your knowledge of key issues at the forefront of the interdisciplinary field of applied linguistics;

  • enhance your knowledge of a range of research traditions, methods and techniques relevant to your academic and professional development;

  • enable you to design and implement a research project that makes an original contribution to the field of applied linguistics in terms of new knowledge, applications or understanding;

  • encourage and promote learning, personal development and self-awareness;

  • develop the capacity for reflective, critical and independent thought and action in relation to your studies.

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Programme structure

The programme is designed to meet the needs of individual students. You will be given a individually-tailored learning pathway, in consulation with the Programme Director and potential supervisor, based on previous experience and qualifications.

During the first two years (of the part-time programme), all students will complete core Research Methods training. Depending on prior experience a student also may be asked to complete a subject specific element from the areas of Applied Linguistics, Forensic Linguistics and TESOL. This will give practice in carrying out a small-scale, subject-specfic research project.

All students must submit a qualifying report before the end of their second year in order to be admitted to the award of either MPhil or PhD.

Students who successfully complete the qualifying report will then study Academic Preparation and complete a 60,000 word thesis.

Subject-specific elements in TESOL: Course and Materials Design, Methodology, Analysis of Written Discourse, Analysis of Spoken Interaction, Grammar and Lexis.

Subject-specific elements in Applied Linguistics: Analysis of Spoken and Written Discourse, Corpus Linguistics, Grammar, Lexis, Literary Linguistics, Language Variation and Change.

Subject-specific elements - in Forensic Linguistics: Introduction to Forensic Linguistics (by distance learning or by summer school); Linguistic investigation and evidence, Linguistic disadvantage in legal contexts.

Research methods

Research Methods underpins the whole programme.  You will be introduced to the key research traditions in applied linguistics, to research ethics, to the main research methods used to collect data and to the principles and practice of data analysis.  You will be expected to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a range of research methods and this will be assessed through a portfolio submission.   

How to apply

Entry requirements and application procedures are the same as for on-campus programmes, but please note that you do not need a full research proposal for this programme. You should send an outline of your proposed area of research, making sure you cover all the areas listed below. Your outline should be written in continuous prose and be between one and three sides of A4 (excluding references). 

  • The topic of your research

  • The research setting (the socio-cultural and/or physical context)

  • The proposed research questions (no more than 4)

  • The reasons why your research is important – please explain (a)why you want to undertake this research, (b) how it relates to existing research and (c) what makes it original.

  • The areas of the literature you intend to consult

  • The methods of data collection you intend to use

  • Arrangements you need to make for data collection (possible problems of accessing the research site, for example)

  • Any ethical issues you need to address (if your research involves human participants)

  • A list of references you have consulted so far

    Find out how to apply

Programme Director

Dr Sue Garton is the programme's course director.

Research staff

Refer to the subject area pages for details of our research staff and their specialisms.

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research