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m.a. applied linguistics

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 MA Applied Linguistics

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the program

Applied Linguistics is an interdisciplinary field of research and practice dealing with problems relating to language and communication in society, the media, organizations, business, and politics. Students in this M.A. program are given the tools to identify problems and to work on solving them by applying linguistic theories and employing empirical and experimental methods.

The program aims at developing knowledge of the theories and methods used in intercultural communication, second language acquisition, language processing, and translation studies. Course topics include interpersonal communication, regional and social variation in language behaviour, (im)politeness across cultures, pragmatic competence, writing in a second language, and cognitive processes in translating.

Students are given an overview of the field of Applied Linguistics and may choose to specialize in a wide range of subdisciplines. The core modules are intercultural communication, second language acquisition, language processing, and translation studies. Teaching and research supervision are also offered in pragmatics, discourse analysis, genre analysis, sociolinguistics, dialectology, cognitive linguistics, psycholinguistics, and metalexicography.

small classes and hand-picked learning materials

Students and teachers work together closely throughout our two-year program. Small class sizes ensure that every student has a chance to be heard, and, in turn, receive individualized feedback from their teachers. Our students are encouraged to think critically and read assignments carefully in preparation for in-class discussion, a core component of the program. No textbooks are used—rather, students are introduced to a repertoire of relevant literature in the field, with an emphasis on both current research as well as foundational theories in the field of applied linguistics.

empirical research

The M.A. Applied Linguistics program lays a strong focus on empirical research. Our students spend their first semester gathering the building blocks for putting together a successful empirical project. This includes selecting a topic and crafting a strong theoretical framework, formulating a research question, working on experimental design, choosing the best-fitting methods for collecting data—whether through field observations, experiments, or the use of linguistic corpora—deciding on a coding scheme or using software to analyse data both quantitatively and qualitatively, and employing critical thinking techniques to discuss findings and draw conclusions. All papers written throughout the program, including the final thesis in the fourth semester, are expected to be empirical research projects designed by the students themselves. The Research Center for Empirical Pragmatics (RCEP), which hosts a large library of linguistic corpora as well as hardware and software for data collection and analysis, provides additional support for students as they work on their projects.

first-hand conference experience

At the end of the first semester, students are expected to put their newly-acquired knowledge to use and design their own empirical research projects from start to finish as they write their first empirical term paper. This first paper is then presented at the yearly BAELc conference during the second semester, which gives our students a chance to practice presenting their own work in a professional environment and receive direct feedback from other students and academics in the field.

the program structure

The M.A. Applied Linguistics is a two-year program consisting of four semesters for a total of 120 credits (30 credits per semester). All courses are taught in English. The third semester can be spent abroad. The program culminates with an empirical master's thesis, written in the fourth semester.


 MA Strukturplan

  • Duration: Two years (four terms), full time
  • Credits: 120
  • Language of Instruction: English
  • The third term can be spent abroad. In the past, students have completed the semester at e.g. York University (Toronto, Canada), National University of Singapore, the University of Stavanger (Stavanger, Norway) and the State University of New York (Albany, USA), among others. Alternative courses will be offered for all students staying in Bonn.
  • Final term: Empirical Master's thesis

an international learning environment

With students from over 30 countries, the M.A. Applied Linguistics program offers a culturally-rich environment that allows the exchange of ideas, languages, and perspectives from all around the world. 59% of the students currently enrolled in our progam are Internationals from various countries. Our MA students are from Armenia, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, DR Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Moldova, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Korea, South Sudan, Spain, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, UK, Ukraine, and the USA.

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