Lancaster University’s online programmes in Corpus linguistics, Language Testing and TESOL: Quality, affordability and flexibility

Source: Pexels
Source: Pexels

Lancaster University‘s Department of Linguistics and English Language is a global leader in its field. Ranked third in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2024: Linguistics and consistently placed within the top three in the UK (Complete University Guide 2024), the department offers innovative online programmes in Corpus Linguistics, Language Testing, TESOL with Corpus Linguistics and TESOL with Language Testing.

These online programmes cater to busy lives, allowing you to pursue your academic goals without having to move country or pausing your life and career. All lectures and seminars are asynchronous, meaning you can schedule your learning around your commitments. As you can complete the programmes from anywhere, this makes them ideal for working professionals. Just ask Anastasios Asimakopoulos. He completed an MA in Corpus Linguistics while working full-time in higher education.

“I completed the modules with relative ease, thanks to the highly flexible approach of the programme,” he says. “Materials were published two weeks in advance, allowing me to speed up when possible. The assignment briefs and submission deadlines were published from the start of the module and this contributed to managing my time effectively.”

The programmes are customisable to your personal interests and career aspirations. You can pursue a full master’s degree in Corpus Linguistics, with the option to specialise in corpus-based discourse analysis or Language Teaching in your second year. Alternatively, you can begin with a TESOL programme and later specialise in either Corpus Linguistics or Language Testing. Coursework, assessments, and even dissertation topics can be personalised to your professional experiences and research interests as well.

Lancaster University, is 2nd in the UK for Overall Research Quality, in Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021). Source: Pexels

Lancaster University is 2nd in the UK for Overall Research Quality (REF 2021). Source: Pexels

Regardless of subject or format, you’ll learn from dedicated faculty members, who are leading figures in the field. They provide individual supervision, ensuring you receive tailored guidance throughout your dissertation project. These are authors of widely used textbooks and research articles. Examples include Brezina & Gablasova’s “A Frequency Dictionary of British English” (2024) and Harding’s “Pronunciation Assessment: An Intelligibility-Based Approach” (2024).

In a week, students receive theoretical input through short video lectures and assigned readings. This is followed by practical exercises designed to develop transferable analytical skills, online discussions, and comprehensive feedback from tutors who are experts in their respective fields. “I found the recorded lectures a gentle and engaging introduction to the units and the readings very informative and relevant to the tasks,” Asimakopoulos says. “The guides and answer keys were clear and encouraged participants to engage with the concepts on a practical level.”

Although the programmes are virtual, you are never left to navigate your studies alone. A dedicated support system ensures every student has everything they need to succeed. Full technical and academic support is available, with a Director of Studies offering individual consultations on academic progress, a programme coordinator to handle day-to-day concerns, and individual tutors readily available to answer specific course-related questions. This comprehensive support system contributes to a seamless learning experience — something Asimakopoulos experienced firsthand. “I felt well supported by Lancaster University during my studies,” he says. “When I had to relocate for a new job post, the school was very understanding of my personal situation and allowed me to put my dissertation module on hold for six months while I familiarised myself with my new duties and responsibilities.”

It helps that the programmes have vibrant online communities. You can connect with other students, share experiences, and even participate in online research groups. Asimakopoulos found the forums a great place to interact with his classmates, as he could read and respond to each other’s weekly posts.

Lancaster University is currently world top three for Linguistics (QS World University Subject Rankings 2024). Source: Pexels

Lancaster University is currently the world’s top three for Linguistics (QS World University Subject Rankings 2024). Source: Pexels

Employers value the qualifications and skills gained through Lancaster’s linguistics programmes. The department’s reputation translates into qualifications that signal academic excellence and the development of practical transferable skills. “I acted as a moderator on the Corpus Linguistics MOOC on Future Learn, being involved in corpus collection projects, or acting as a mentor on the programme ‘Mentoring Social Science Researchers in Corpus Methods and Critical Discourse Analysis’ organised by Dr. Luke Collins (Lancaster University) and Dr. Kathryn Spicksley (Keele University),” Asimakopoulos says.

Many alumni credit these programmes as a crucial step in advancing their careers, with some even finding themselves in leadership positions within their fields and receiving awards. Among them are Juliana Bahia, 2022 Caroline Clapham IELTS Masters Award recipient and Radosveta Valkova, 2022 Language Cert Postgraduate Research Award recipient.

Asimakopoulos obtained a Distinction and speaks highly of the quality of his MA. “At no point did I feel that Lancaster University was delivering less in terms of academic rigour and support,” he says. “If anything, the programme was evidently well thought-out and delivered with great care and the tutors were present and engaging on the forum and via email.”

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