FAQ for MA English Language (Distance)

Back to English Language (Distance) MA


  • What does the MA English Language (Distance) cover?

    This scheme takes a broad view of what constitutes English language studies. It focuses on the description and explanation of the English language, including its structure, functions and social contexts of use. The main subject specific aim will be to instil a knowledge and understanding of:

    • the structure of English at all linguistic levels,
    • the uses of English,
    • the history of English,
    • the regional and global varieties of the English language,
    • the genres of English, including their variation across speech and writing, various media, and so on,
    • the socio-historical contexts of English.


  • How long will the programme last?

    The scheme is part-time, taking place over three years (modules in the first two years, dissertation in the third year).

  • Who is the programme for?

    Anyone with a relevant background can apply for a place on the scheme.  Past students have come from a range of backgrounds, and have worked on the MA whilst in full-time or part-time work. Note that this programme is not about the teaching of English as a foreign language (e.g. TEFL, TESOL), although there are other MA schemes in our department in this area (e.g. MA Applied Linguistics and Language TeachingMA Language Testing).

  • How will the programme be structured?

    We have a tried and tested formula, devised to accommodate busy people (most of our students have full-time jobs). To graduate with an MA you must do six modules and a dissertation in an area of your choice. You do three modules in Year 1, 3 modules in Year 2, and in Year 3 you work on your dissertation, with regular online supervision (and face-to-face meetings, as available). Modules run over the course of a whole year, and consist of 9 x 2 hour 'slots'.

    As well as distance learning, there will be three compulsory 'face-to-face' days per year, which will each be held on a Saturday.  This is so that each module can be started in face-to-face mode, and also so you get to meet your colleagues in 'real life' before you chat and debate with them online. It's good to put a face to the pseudonym!

    Please note, residentials for the academic year 2017-18 and onwards will be held at Lancaster University.

    Coursework is worth 60% of the whole programme (each module is worth 10%, and is assessed by one essay of around 5000 words), and the dissertation the other 40%.

    There are no exams - all modules are assessed by coursework. Making a contribution to 50% of the distance tasks is compulsory.

  • What modules will be offered?

    The modules are as follows:

    • Corpus Linguistics
    • Discourse Analysis
    • English Grammar
    • History of English
    • Investigating Spoken English
    • Stylistics
  • Will we receive research methods support?

    Yes. In addition to the modules outlined above you will receive research methods support, especially in your third year, which will not only help your own research for your dissertation, but also, if you are a teacher, will provide a good foundation for research your students are likely to want to do in their investigations.

  • Can I pursue a particular interest of mine in more detail?

    Yes, through the dissertation. With over 30 full-time academics in the department, we are likely to be able to find an expert to supervise whatever you choose to do.

  • When will the residentials be held?


    COHORT 11 (starting Sept 2018)
     Year 1Year 2
    Residential I: 15 September 2018 14 September 2019
    Residential II: 5 January 2019 11 January 2020
    Residential III: 4 May 2019 9 May 2020


    COHORT 12 (starting Sept 2019)
     Year 1Year 2
    Residential I: 14 September 2019 TBC
    Residential II: 11 January 2020 TBC
    Residential III: 9 May 2020 TBC
  • How much are the fees?

    The fees for MA English Language (distance) are the same as for a one-year on campus MA, but are spread over the three years of study. You pay 40% of the fees in year 1, 40% in year 2, and 20% in year 3.

    For confirmation of the current tuition fees please see Postgraduate Fees & Funding.

    Paying in instalments is possible. For more information about fees, email the Fees Officer on tuition-fees@lancaster.ac.uk.

  • Is there a limit on the number of places available?

    Yes. There is an upper limit of 20 places on the programme each year. We encourage you to apply early to guarantee your place. If you are offered a place but the programme for the upcoming year is fully booked, we will add you to the waiting list for the following year. People on the waiting list are offered a place on the next available programme on a 'first come, first served' basis.

  • When is the application deadline?

    The application deadline for the programme beginning in September 2019 is: 31 August 2019.

    Please note that if you need accommodation for the September residential, you should have applied, and accepted an offer before you book. Note you will need to make your own overnight accommodation arrangements if required.

  • How do I apply?

    The next course to run will be September 2019. Applications are accepted at any time while early applications are preferred. Applications received by July will definitely allow a September start.

    If you are interested in applying please go to the postgraduate admissions portal and follow the instructions. If you have any queries please contact our Faculty PG Admissions team:

    Postgraduate Admissions Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
    Lancaster University
    LA1 4YL

    For more details about how to apply please see our General Application Advice.