MA Communication and Language Studies

Full Time
Degree of Master of Arts

Globalisation has broken down barriers of time and space. The increased contact between different linguistic communities (through migration, tourism, education, and information and media flows) has not, however, resolved the problem of linguistic and cultural barriers. As language and cultural exchanges become ever more frequent and diverse, so does our need to comprehend the nature of intercultural communication and how it may best be promoted.

This course focuses on language as a crucial key to comprehending the world today and participating in the world of tomorrow. You will explore today's increasingly complex and varied networks of communication and culture from different perspectives, from discourse analysis and ethnolinguistics to semiotics and cross-cultural pragmatics, and this makes what we offer very distinctive.

Intended specifically for international students, the course integrates English proficiency and skills training into the overall programme of study.


Globalisation has broken down barriers of time and space and led to the ever greater centrality of knowledge and information. The increased contact between different linguistic communities (through migration, tourism, education, and information and media flows) has not, however, resolved the problem of linguistic and cultural barriers, quite the opposite.

As language and cultural exchanges become ever more frequent and diverse, so does our need to comprehend the nature of intercultural communication and how it may best be promoted. The interdisciplinary MA in Communication and Language Studies, focuses firmly on language as a crucial key to comprehending the world today and participating in the world of tomorrow.

We are also particularly interested in exploring today's increasingly complex and varied networks of communication and culture from different perspectives, and this makes what we offer very distinctive.

The course provides a broad-based approach to the study of language both as a cultural resource and a cultural practice and makes use of a variety of analytic approaches from Discourse Analysis and ethnolinguistics to semiotics and cross-cultural pragmatics.

Options dealing with communication in media and cultural products from the completely different standpoints of, for example, film and television studies or political, social and international studies, provide opportunities to diversify and compare approaches, methodologically and inter-culturally.

The course is intended specifically for international students and integrates English proficiency and skills training into the overall programme of study. It will be of interest to students who are seeking to deepen their knowledge of language as a cultural object and of its uses across communicative contexts and media, as well as a range of professionals concerned with issues of interpersonal and intercultural communication across different fields.

Why study Communication and Language Studies at UEA?

Several factors combine to make UEA a particularly exciting choice.

UEA has a long-established reputation for interdisciplinarity and the MA builds on this tradition: you explore issues from the point of view of language with specialists in language and cross-cultural communication, but you also have the opportunity to work with specialists in Politics and Social Sciences or Film and Television Studies, for example, and to diversify and compare approaches, methodologically and cross-culturally.

As a student within Language and Communication Studies, you will benefit from a vibrant environment with a focus on issues relating to contemporary language and translation. The work we undertake has successfully positioned us at the cutting edge of research, ensuring our graduates are well-informed and highly employable.

Our research focuses on cross-cultural communication, with all staff sharing an interest in the cross-over of language, translation and media in a multilingual framework. The different standpoints from which they approach the interaction between language and forms of communication constitute complementary and mutually enriching perspectives.

The wide range of linguistically diverse students enrolled on both this and other MA programmes within Language and Communication Studies provides a rich environment in which to study intercultural communication.

We also provide a friendly and stimulating environment in which to study. The size of Language and Communication Studies at UEA allows for more personal staff-student contact and individual academic support than in many larger institutions.

Furthermore, we house the James Platt Centre for Language Learning which houses a media library, a state-of-the-art digitised Sanako language laboratory and interpreting suite including high-spec professional interpreter training facilities, a large multi-media self-access resources room, including computer-assisted translation, and professional subtitling software (SDL Trados and MultiTerm 2014, MemoQ, WINcaps). These materials complement the excellent holdings of the UEA library. High quality IT facilities are available throughout the University.

Course Content and Structure

The MA in Communication and Language Studies is a one-year, full-time taught course but it can also be taken part-time over two years.

The course provides students with a high level of theoretical and practical training, combined with the opportunity to focus on issues of particular individual interest. Teaching is mainly through the media of seminars and individual dissertation supervision.

The course consists of six taught modules, three compulsory and three selected from a range of options from within Language and Communication Studies or the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. There is also a compulsory Research Methods module taken by all LCS MA students.

Example of modules: English, Communication, Culture; Language Issues in a Global Multilingual Context; The Power of Discourse: Representation and Interaction; Understanding Cultures in a Global World Conflict and Conflict Resolution in Intercultural Communication; Politics and Media; New Media and Society; Asian Cinema; The Big Picture: Contemporary Hollywood Cinema.

Course Assessment

Assessment is on the basis of coursework, (seminar papers, oral case studies, essays, for example), and the dissertation.

Final Dissertation

The final compulsory element is an 8,000-word dissertation on a subject chosen by students in consultation with members of academic staff. Work on the dissertation starts at Easter for submission at the beginning of September.

Transferable Skills

Students who successfully complete the MA will have developed to a high level their awareness and understanding of issues of culture and communication against claims of globalisation. They will have become familiar with different approaches to these issues, and gained the ability to assess these approaches critically and to evaluate their usefulness to their own needs and circumstances.

They will also have honed their practical and analytical grasp of English language and culture and achieved the level and range of skills consonant with the requirements of study at postgraduate level in a British academic environment: ability to read and utilise research literature, independent research, with a focus on appropriate methodology, data collection, analysis, synthesis and evaluation, presentation skills (oral and written), IT skills required to achieve these goals.

The programme will provide a suitable foundation for further postgraduate studies at MPhil and PhD level.

Course Modules

Students must study the following modules for 140 credits:

Name Code Credits


The module is designed to familiarise postgraduate students with research resources and basic aspects of research methodology (e.g. access to, and use of, sources and resources, collection, analysis and presentation of materials and data). It is taught over two semesters: the first focuses on seminar-related activities, the second on dissertation-related work. It is assessed by an oral exam on a pass/ fail basis after the end of the second semester. The module is obligatory for all LCS full-time postgraduate students on taught MA programmes and open only to them.




The dissertation is a compulsory requirement for all taught MA programmes. The choice of research topic is made by the students in consultation with their course convenor and/or supervisor. Students receive four hours (group and individual) supervision in all over the period of supervision. Work on the dissertation is begun at the end of the spring semester for full-time students and at the beginning of the spring semester in year 2 for part-time students.




The module is intended to refine linguistic and academic competences (oral and or written communication, control of academic registers), and to explore how English operates in a variety of cultural contexts (including the media, critical debate). Skills covered include seminar and presentation skills, note-taking, academic writing, self-directed study and research skills, with application to the theme of communication and language and materials specifically relevant to MA students. An important aim of the module is to familiarise students with the conventions of English academic life and the environment of the university.




This module focuses on language-related issues associated with the globalisation of communication and the media. It considers a range of materials - texts and their translation(s), multilingual sources of information (e.g. global news, consumer information, websites), products of audiovisual translation (e.g. subtitling, dubbing, voice over), IT mediated or processed texts, etc - to explore issues involved in the transposition and dissemination of (spoken and written) text into other media and other languages across different spheres of activity (e.g. media, politics, culture). Receptive knowledge of at least one language other than the mother tongue required.




This module is an introduction to some of the fundamental concepts in the fields of linguistic anthropology, intercultural communication and psycholinguistics.. Since norms of behaviour are culturally defined and varied, the beliefs and values which underlie a culture's worldview will be examined from a variety of perspectives. Indicative topics are expected to include how culture is defined; models of explanation of cultural difference; the relation between language and thought and language and culture; verbal and non-verbal communication; miscommunication and intercultural conflict; acculturation and culture shock, etc. The module is relevant to students from a variety of backgrounds and with varied interests and will provide useful background for the module "Intercultural Communication in Practice".




Language occurs in specific socio-cultural settings, among specific social actors and for a variety of purposes. In turn particular uses of language have the power to shape social encounters and relationships and to help construct and maintain specific ideologies and perspectives. Discourse analysis aims to uncover the ways in which language in use is tied to its socio-cultural context. This approach is thus at heart of the analysis of human interaction in society. This module provides the students with analytical tools that can be fruitfully applied to the study of a variety of communicative modes (written texts, spoken interaction, visual or other non verbal modes) as employed in a variety of fields (e.g. media, advertising, politics, education, business, institutional settings, creative writing) and for a variety of purposes (persuading, entertaining, informing). Students will be able to explore the significance and effectiveness of specific communicative strategies and how they may vary according to cultural context and expectations. The module is, therefore, not only suited to postgraduate students focusing on issues of linguistic communication but also to students interested in aspect of linguistic transferability (translation, adaptation, localization). There are plenty of hands-on practice and discussion.



Students will select 40 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits


The module introduces students to the study of intercultural conflict and conflict resolution, through case studies of miscommunication at the levels of everyday language use, business communication, international political disputes and the public representation of cross-cultural conflicts. The module enables students to apply discourse- and face/politeness-analytical methods to conflicts in intercultural communication on the basis of applied linguistics (contrastive semantics, pragmatics and sociolinguistics) and cultural studies. By the end of the course students will have an understanding of the linguistic dimensions of conflicts (and their mediation) in intercultural communication. Formative work includes oral and written presentations.




This module explores the issues fundamental to intercultural communication (IC) in practical contexts. The theoretical component of the module examines the different ways of thinking about effective communication in a variety of work-based environments. We will also relate theory to the practice of intercultural communication in the LCS public lectures. During these lectures, invited practitioners will introduce students to how IC operates in specific organisations, e.g. in government agencies, in multilingual business management, education etc. The module is relevant to those wishing to pursue careers in international management and relations, multilingual business and international development; it is also of interest to those who wish to become more effective communicators in other professions such as translation, interpreting, education and cultural mediation.




This module looks at the responses in political theory to the rise of multicultural societies in Europe and North America since the end of World War II. The aim is to introduce students to a range of contemporary theoretical perspectives on multiculturalism and to facilitate critical assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of competing approaches. Theorists under examination will include: Parekh, Kymlicka, Taylor and Modood as well as major liberal alternative views; Barry, Rawls and Raz. The module will combine theoretical study with analysis of practical issues/case studies surrounding multiculturalism. Among the issues to be considered are the following: models of integration, group rights, institutional racism, Islamophobia, and the Rushdie affair. The module will also consider divergent policies adopted within European states (eg, France and Germany) and give attention to the attempts to operationalise multiculturalism in the UK in particular via the Parekh Report.




Working from the assumption that the media are an integral part of modern political life, this module examines the way in which politics is represented in the media and reviews critically the argument about 'bias'. It also explores the arguments around the ownership and control of media, the increasing use of the media by political parties and the changing relationship between citizens and politics engendered by new communication technologies.




Hollywood has remained a dominant force in film production, distribution and exhibition in recent decades, despite competition from other local and transnational cinemas. This module aims to explore the success of the Hollywood system through a focus on the industry itself, and the films it produces, particularly those that have been most successful at the domestic and international box office. The module will, therefore, cover a range of relevant topics that may include: what kind of films does Hollywood invest in? Is financial gain the best lens to judge issues of 'popularity'? Who are the target audiences for those films? What is the role of the audience in receiving and popularising these hit movies? What is the relationship between domestic theatrical release, circulation in foreign markets and distribution in other media such as television, film, and DVD?




Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject Humanities or Social Sciences
  • Degree Classification UK BA (Hons) 2.1 or equivalent

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English. To ensure such students benefit from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: 6.5 (minimum 6.0 in all components)
  • PTE (Pearson): 62 (minimum 55 in all components)

Test dates should be within two years of the course start date.

Other tests, including Cambridge English exams and the Trinity Integrated Skills in English are also accepted by the university. The full list of accepted tests can be found here: Accepted English Language Tests

INTO UEA also run pre-sessional courses which can be taken prior to the start of your course. For further information and to see if you qualify please contact


This course's annual intake is in September of each year.

Alternative Qualifications

If you have alternative qualifications that have not been mentioned above then please contact the university directly for further information.


All applications for postgraduate study are processed through the Admissions Office and then forwarded to the relevant School of Study for consideration. If you are currently completing your first degree or have not yet taken a required English language test, any offer of a place will be conditional upon you achieving this before you arrive.

Fees and Funding

Tuition fees

Tuition fees for the academic year 2017/18 are:

  • UK/EU Students: £7,300
  • International Students: £14,800

If you choose to study part-time, the fee per annum will be half the annual fee for that year, or a pro-rata fee for the module credit you are taking (only available for UK/EU students).

We estimate living expenses at £820 per month.

Scholarships and Awards:

The Faculty of Arts and Humanities has a number of Scholarships and Awards on offer for 2016 entry. For further information relevant to Language and Communication Studies, please click here.

How to Apply

Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.

You can apply online.

Further Information

To request further information & to be kept up to date with news & events please use our online enquiry form.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515

International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.

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