The Applied Linguistics for Language Teaching is a specialised distance/online Master’s degree in applied linguistics aimed at teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.

The course is particularly suited to teachers who:

  • prepare students for English-medium institution university study (e.g. EAP)
  • co-teach with content instructors in an EMI programme (e.g. ESP)
  • teach modern foreign languages, and want to further their knowledge of language learning and teaching
  • aspire to move into teaching language in diverse educational settings worldwide, where languages play an important role
  • want to enhance their theoretical knowledge of applied linguistics as it relates to language teaching

Obtaining the MSc ALLT allows many graduates to go on to teach language in universities around the world, or to progress in their career to more senior positions, where a master’s degree is essential. The degree also allows students to pursue further research degrees such as a PhD or EdD.

The programme is a two-year part time course aimed at working teachers, with a one-week induction module held in August with the possibility of attending in person in Oxford.



Watch our online video with the Department’s Director for People, Professor Heath Rose, who gives an overview of the course, who should apply, and why you should choose Oxford.

The Course

Aims of the course

This innovative two-year part-time course aims to provide a cutting-edge introduction to the linguistic and pedagogic knowledge and skills needed for teaching language. While the concepts covered in the course can be applied to all languages in most contexts, there is a strong opportunity for students to specialise in the teaching of English language in university settings.

Structure of the course

A low-residency course, it is characterised by intense online interaction and feedback, using a range of communication media. Its small-group teaching format pursues the Oxford tradition of demanding much of students and giving them much in return. The course offers a stimulating environment in which students can broaden their knowledge, deepen their understanding and sharpen their skills in contact with current research in applied linguistics.

Students take eight taught modules (six of which are graded), and complete a research dissertation.

Students complete the following modules:

  • Induction (Formatively assessed module)
  • Learning and teaching vocabulary
  • Materials and assessment in language teaching
  • Sociolinguistics and language teaching
  • Individual and group differences in language teaching
  • Listening and reading processes in language learning
  • Developing second language speaking and writing
  • Research methods (Formatively assessed module)
  • Dissertation
Overview of modules

Induction (Formatively assessed residential module). This module precedes a cohort’s first assessed module, and takes place in August.  In this module students build a learning community that will continue as an online community, acquire skills in academic reading and writing, carry out a knowledge and skills audit, acquire the basics of quantitative & qualitative data analysis, develop skills in accessing the diverse electronic resources available to Oxford students and in managing their references, develop skills in using the virtual learning environment (VLE), and complete a formatively assessed assignment.

Learning and teaching of vocabulary. Outcomes: students will develop an understanding of the major issues and concepts in the field of vocabulary learning and teaching; will understand what it means to know a word or a multi-word unit; will be aware of the empirical evidence for how second language words are learnt, stored and retrieved; will be able to judge what the lexical requirements are for efficient university study in a second language; will have a thorough understanding of word frequency and how this relates to the use of corpora in language teaching; and will develop skills in designing and implementing programmes of vocabulary teaching for their students based on needs analysis for groups of learners.

Materials and assessment in language learning. Outcomes: students will develop an awareness of the critical literature in the field of materials evaluation and design; will focus on needs analysis as a prerequisite both of materials evaluation and of materials design; will develop criteria for evaluating language teaching materials in general, and materials for university settings in particular; will acquire skills in evaluating materials at micro- and macro-levels. Students will develop an understanding of the major concepts and issues in the field of language assessment; will be aware of issues such as validity, reliability, impact, washback effect, rating procedures and the social aspects of language testing and how these can be taken into consideration in both the development of summative assessment instruments and in preparation of students for standard tests, with regard to the needs of particular groups of students.

Sociolinguistics and language teaching. Outcomes: students will develop an awareness of language in its plurality, to accurately understand how language is used in global contexts. There is a large focus on English, examining the implications of World Englishes research on the teaching of grammar in university contexts. It also looks at language spread, language contact and language change, including linguicism and linguistic genocide. It examines the impact of English on the teaching and learning of other Modern Foreign Languages. Students will learn about globalization, and the internationalization of higher education, and the implications for English language teaching in contexts where students need to learn the language as a lingua franca, of for use in English medium instruction.

Individual and group differences in language learning. Outcomes: students will develop an awareness of the theoretical and conceptual underpinnings of the study of individual and group differences in second language learning, a broad knowledge of the empirical evidence for differences, and an ability critically to evaluate studies in the area.   Differences explored will include aptitude, gender, personality, first language, culture, styles, strategies and motivation.

Listening and reading processes in language learning. Outcomes: students will develop an understanding of the mechanisms and processes involved in reading and listening to a second or foreign language; of how these modes of accessing meaning are similar, and how they are different; of the characteristics of a selection of genres of academic writing and speech that affect second language learners’ access to them; and of how language teachers can facilitate learners’ abilities to listen to and read languages.  Understanding of needs analysis based on informed analysis of spoken and written texts within the student’s context, and skill in the implementation of needs analysis, will be developed within the context of curriculum and materials design for reading and listening.

Developing second language speaking and writing. Outcomes: students will develop an understanding of the mechanisms and processes involved in speaking and writing in a second or foreign language; of how these modes of expression are similar, and how they are different; of the relationship between fluency, complexity and accuracy; of the characteristics of a selection of genres of academic speech and writing; and of how language teachers can facilitate learners’ abilities to speak and write in their learned language, with focus both on needs analysis for curriculum design, based on informed analysis of spoken and written texts within the student’s context,  and on development of materials at lesson and unit level.

Research Methods (Formatively assessed online module). Research methods will be explored in an embedded fashion through analysis of the research methods used in the research literature and through tasks that are set in relation to that literature.  This formatively assessed module will supplement that learning.  It will explore in more depth the range of experimental designs and methodologies for data collection and analysis used in applied linguistics research.  Students will also acquire practical experience of using software for data analysis.  Research groups of students may be formed to undertake a very small research project, which may be formatively assessed.

Overview of assessment methods

Except for the formative modules (induction and research methods), all modules are assessed via an end-of-term written assignment of 2,500 words. The take-home examination will be marked according to the University’s usual marking scheme and will assess the student’s ability to discuss the issues in language teaching and learning covered in the module, using appropriate metalanguage; to analyse and critique classroom practice; to analyse and critique research articles both for their content and for the research methods therein; to make links between theory and practice; to solve problems; and to draw implications for teaching in their own context. The dissertation is 15,000-20,000 words

Examples of dissertation topics
  • Lecturers’ Use of Formulaic Sequences during English Medium Course Instruction at an Italian University
  • Attitudes towards English as a Lingua Franca: A Systematic Review 2006-2016
  • The Intelligibility of Korean English Pronunciation from a Lingua Franca Perspective
  • Examining English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Teachers’ Experiences and Self-Efficacy Surrounding the Integration of Web 2.0 Technologies at Thai Universities
  • Second Language Writing Strategies: A systematic review


The Department is delighted to offer a scholarship for practising educators who are enrolled on the MSc in Applied Linguistics for Language Teaching course at the University of Oxford for Michaelmas Term 2024.

Find out more about the scholarship and how to apply here.


What qualifications do I need to apply?

For more specific details of our admission criteria please visit the course page for MSc in Applied Linguistics for Language Teaching

How many students do you recruit to the programme?

Approximately 12-16 places are available on this course, although this number may fluctuate according to need.

Can I study online or through distance learning?

MSc in Applied Linguistics for Language Teaching is a distance learning course specifically for experienced teachers of English language.  Please see the specific course page for more information.

What are the backgrounds of students on this programme?

Students enrolled in the MSc in Applied Linguistics for Language Teaching are usually experienced language teachers working in diverse contexts around the world. The majority of the students are working in English language teaching in university settings both inside and outside of the UK, which creates a very global community. Each year, we also have a smaller number of students who are working in primary and secondary schools, as well as those who teach languages other than English. What our students share is exceptional academic achievement in their previous learning and an ambition to excel academically.

How much will it cost to study and live in Oxford?

To find out how much it will cost to undertake your studies at the University, please visit the Fees and Living Costs webpage for details. As this is a distance degree, the only living costs in Oxford are associated with a one-week compulsory residential week at the start of the programme.

Can I apply for more than one course?

We would strongly encourage you to focus your application on the course for which you have the most interest and experience.

Can I apply for your courses if I am in the process of achieving my qualification to gain entry onto the programme?

Yes, you may apply for any of our courses whilst studying for another degree. If you are successful in achieving a place on one of our programmes, we would make a conditional offer which would include the condition of you achieving your qualification. You are required to submit an interim transcript at application. However, your final outcome would need to be available prior to you commencing the course at Oxford.

English is not my first language; which higher level language qualification is acceptable? And what score do you require?

If you do not have English as your first language, and you did not conduct your undergraduate education through the medium of English, we would like you to have achieved the higher level competence in English Language proficiency i.e. IELTS 7.5 overall with at least 7.0 in each component, or TOEFL 110 (Internet-based).

We do not accept tests which are more than 2 years old. We encourage applicants to apply with a successful IELTS test. If evidence that you successfully meet the English language condition cannot be provided with your application, the language requirement will be set as a condition if an offer is made.

Further information can be found by visiting the Application Guide.

Can I apply for a waiver of proof of proficiency in English?

For information on applying for a waiver of the English test requirement please visit the Application Guide.

Should I declare a college preference in my application?

Please see here for guidance about colleges and making an open application.

How do I apply?

For information about applying to this course please see the specific course page.

For a more detailed explanation of the process, please click here for the application guide.

Not all of my qualifications will fit on the application form, what shall I do?

If you require more space on the application form, please contact Graduate Admissions for advice.

What should I do if there is not enough space on the application form?

Please contact Graduate Admissions for advice.

I have been outside of an academic setting for some time now; who shall I have to act as my referees?

We strongly recommend that you have at least one reference from your most recent academic tutor. If you are currently in employment, you would be expected to provide a reference from your employer as well as an academic referee who is able to comment on academic capability/suitability for Higher Degree study.

What do I need to include in my ‘Personal Statement’ (‘Statement of Purpose’)?

Your ‘Statement of Purpose’ should be a maximum of 750 words, written in English and explain your motivation for applying for the course at Oxford, your relevant experience and education, and the specific components of the course that interest you. This will be assessed for:

  • The reasons why you are applying to this particular programme of study
  • The areas of study in the subject which interest you
  • Relevant academic, research, or practical experience
  • What you want to achieve from the programme you are applying for
  • Your future aspirations i.e. where you will take what you have learnt from the programme
What do I need to include for the samples of written work?

Ideally, we would like to see examples of academic writing from your previous studies. If this is unavailable, we would ask you to write a critical review of a piece of research or one a key topic in applied linguistics or language education. Further information can be found in “how to apply” section of the relevant course page.

Am I required to attend for interview?

Yes. We will arrange an interview by Microsoft Teams. You will be given advance notice of your interview date and time and we require confirmation of attendance.

What will the interview be like?

The interviews are normally conducted by two interviewers on Microsoft Teams, and will focus on your academic background. You may be asked to outline your research interests and how these might be developed during the dissertation element of the course. You may also be asked about your reasons for wanting to study in this area and the reasons why this particular course is of interest to you.

When will the outcome of my application be known?

Applications will be considered by the admissions panel within the Department and decisions will be made in accordance with the following deadlines:

Application deadline Decision deadline
See admissions page for details See admissions page for details

You will be informed of our decision by email to ensure that you receive the outcome as soon as possible.

In the event that we are not able to offer you a place, we regret that it is not possible to provide you with feedback on your application.

Can I defer entry to a course?

The University will only consider requests for deferral of entry due to exceptional unforeseen circumstances, and only after all conditions set for the offer (both academic and financial) have been met.



Couldn’t find your answers under our FAQ section?

Please direct any queries to administrative team will be happy to assist you.

Phone: 01865 274187
Email: applied.linguistics@education.ox.ac.uk