More MA ideas

Having invesitagated current BELF practitioners and theorists, I moved onto looking at communication and intercultural type MAs, then drifted ino a slightly looser search which returned some previously encountered MA ideas and locations. Here’s what I found, and a few comments to help point up underlying prejudices.

Communication related MAs

MRes Cultural Studies – Sheffield Hallam University

Course website


You choose up to 120 credits

  • qualitative methodologies and interviewing skills
  • qualitative research designs
  • discourse and linguistic theory and analysis
  • survey design
  • introduction to survey analysis
  • multivariate statistical analysis
  • approaches to media and communication
  • cultural policy
  • current issues in cultural policy and management
  • digital media and society
  • language and discourse analysis
  • news making
  • researching communication
  • researching the media
  • research methods and skills for the cultural sector

The attraction lies in the discourse and language theory and analysis, as well as the gathering of data.
Both these fields would tie into BELF issues. Other modules also hold interest, and some very little from the title, e.g. cultural policy.

MA Linguistics – Nottingham University

MA Applied Linguistics – DL
MA Literary Linguistics – DL
MA Applied Linguistics and English Language Teaching – DL

Typical topics

  • The Teaching of Language and Literature
  • English Vocabulary: Teaching and Learning
  • Discourse Analysis
  • Corpus Analysis
  • World Englishes
  • Syllabus Design and Methodology
  • Language and Gender

Previously inspected, these three MAs are closely related, modules selected whilst on the course determining the final qualification.

I like the flexibility of not having to commit to a specific field upfront. Corpus analysis is particularly valuable for generating BELF materials.

MRes Linguistics – UvA

Course details

The University of Amsterdam houses specialists in all important subareas of linguistics. The research programme of the Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC) and the Institute for Language, Logic, and Computation (ILLC) includes research in Creole Studies, Discourse Analysis, Functional Grammar, Generative Grammar, Language and Speech Development and Pathology, Language Typology, Language Variation and Change, Phonetics, Second Language Acquisition, Semantics, and Sign Linguistics. The university is equally rich in terms of the languages and language families covered in linguistic research and teaching. Linguistics seminars are taught on Arabic, Dutch (including Dutch as a Second Language), English, French, German, Greek (classical and modern), Italian, Latin, Rumanian, Scandinavian, Slavic, and Spanish. A general characteristic of linguistic research at the University of Amsterdam is that research projects aim at theory formation through the analysis of large data sets.

Interesting electives

Pictorial and Multimodal Metaphor and Cognition
New Perspectives on Dutch Golden Ages Studies

Being in Amsterdam

At once completely unworkable and incredibly relevant, also when combined with the Dutch Golden Era elective.
The multimodal thing could be interesting or a complete red herring (for me).


A selection of what’s on offer that could be relevant

  • Dutch Linguistics
  • Dutch as a Second Language
  • English Linguistics
  • First Language Acquisition
  • History of Linguistics
  • Italian Linguistics
  • Language Philosophy
  • Language and Speech Development and Pathology
  • Language Technology
  • Language Variation and Change
  • Second Language Acquisition
  • Sociolinguistics and Creole Studies
  • Speech Communication and Speech Technology
  • Theoretical Linguistics

Rhetoric, Argumentation and Philosophy – UvA

course details

The Research Master’s programme in Rhetoric, Argumentation Theory and Philosophy (RAP) is ideal for students who wish to acquire a sound intellectual basis for conducting research in the interrelated fields of rhetoric, argumentation and philosophy. The programme provides students with insight not only into the normative and descriptive study of communication and argumentation, but also into the philosophical conceptions of rationality and reasonableness in which they are grounded.

This may be more or less suitable for me to follow along. The philsophy of language is analytical and the course really does revolve around argumentation, persuasion. Whilst there seem to be tools being provided for research, this tight focus might be a bit too limiting for me. Then again, it might be okay. Not completely clear as to whether the course is delivered in English or Dutch.

Discourse and Argumentation Studies – UvA

Course overview
Think it forms part of the MA in Philosophy

The programme presents an overview of recent descriptive and normative research in language use covering a broad range of topics, including conversational analysis, style, classical and modern rhetoric, informal logic, fallacies and juridical and conversational argument.

So, useful research and analysis skills are covered.

It’s at this point of looking, again, into MAs that I start to wonder at the whole idea. Especially when considering MAs in the Netherlands.

MA Philosophy – UvA

Course overview
Selected modules in no particular order are here


One elective course can be taken from another Humanities field, which opens up options for Dutch Golden Era and Global Narratives.

MRes Language and Communication – Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen


Have to say, the website gives the most detail of the modules on offer, albeit in previous year. Still, they give a good flavour of what can be expected to be on offer. The structure comes across as very practical, 4 general modules from which you select a main and a secondary to pursue throughout the rest of the MRes, followed by 4 core modules to equip you with the necessary skills. I’m sure that most other MAs must follow a similar pattern, it’s just that here, it’s all been laid out in a very clear manner.

Advanced modules

The two that catch my eye are

Further attraction

Yes, there are also four elective options coming form within the Arts faculty. Tricky to work out what these can be, but shouldn’t be an issue, and potentially interesting to broaden out a bit.

MRes Philosophy – Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen

Course overview


Master Seminars

These two catch my eye

Research focus

A specialist research focus is required from a choice of four, this seems the obvious one for me

The research programme Metaphysics and Epistemology focuses on the development of the hermeneutic tradition — key figures being Schleiermacher, Dilthey, Heidegger, Gadamer, Ricoeur and Derrida.

Research seminars

These two seem obvious, two more to choose


Here we go! Nijmegen really gets my vote for being well organized. Also, of all the philosophy courses I’ve looked at, this is really the first that offers a pathway that catches Ricouer and Continental Philosophy.


Picked up a load of pointers to MA courses from, although several of the links were dead and needed a quick search to find the course referred to.

Closing comment

So, today has run the gamut of MAs. I am taken by the idea of studying in the Netherlands even though it’s a completely unreasonable prospect, just how could it ever work? Maybe it’s far enough off in the future for it to somehow become possible. My focus did start off related to getting ActualEnglish related studies under my belt, quipping myself with tools to do the work of research that seems a necessary part of any BRIC undertaking.

Indeed, the thought has crossed my mind more than once today that it might be that the ideas I have are really going to find their place only within a course of MA study. I know I feel very underprepared to undertake them as is. I’m uncertain of how to proceed. I need to get to grips with getting a business plan together, have to keep a hold of the long term view, but at the same time can’t afford to get lost in dreams os study.


About Christopher J
I teach English, make digital images, write and encourage others. I believe.

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