MA Bilingualism and Multilingualism

ma bilingualism

The MA Bilingualism and Multilingualism is a unique postgraduate qualification offered through distance learning provision, being the first degree of its kind offered in Europe and part of the University’s mission to contribute to the range of initiatives in the field of language planning and bilingual/ multilingual development, both in Wales and elsewhere.

Key Facts

Course Length:
two to four years

Location:
Carmarthen | Carmarthen
School/Faculty:
Faculty of Education and Communities
Contact Name:
Dr Hywel Glyn Lewis
Contact Email:
h.lewis@uwtsd.ac.uk
Language Choice
English   Welsh



The MA Bilingualism and Multilingualism takes full advantage of the rich linguistic experience offered by Wales’ own bilingual context, as well as University of Wales Trinity Saint David's long-established expertise within this field as part of an extended network of institutions across Europe where bilingualism, multilingualism and language planning is an everyday phenomenon.

The degree offers modules which encompass a range of aspects on bilingualism and language planning in Wales and internationally. Different pathways are offered to meet the professional demands of a variety of careers in the field of bilingualism. It consists of five modules in Part One and a dissertation of 15,000 words in Part Two.

In Part One students may choose from a range of modules according to their personal professional or vocational needs, including:

  • Introduction to Bilingualism
  • Societal Bilingualism (political aspects of language vitality)
  • Cognitive Aspects of Bilingualism
  • Models of Bilingual Teaching
  • Language Planning Essentials
  • Research Methodology

Students will choose their own research subjects for the dissertation in Part Two based on aspects of the modules studied previously in Part One and agreed in advance with the Programme Director. It is intended that students will be given the opportunity to conduct in-depth research in a field of study which will promote their professional development.

Although the modular structure of the postgraduate degree allows students to study a single module, on the successful completion of three modules students will be eligible to exit the course with a Postgraduate Certificate in Bilingualism and Multilingualism, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Bilingualism and Multilingualism on the completion of five modules. Students wishing to progress to the MA in Bilingualism and Multilingualism would undertake an additional dissertation.

A summary of the aims of individual modules

CYAD-7015: Introduction to Bilingualism

To familiarise students with developments and theoretical concepts in the field of bilingualism by introducing relevant aspects as a basis for more detailed study in other modules.

CYAD-7002: Societal Bilingualism

To examine in detail the main factors which may influence the vitality, stability, spread, shift or death of minority languages, paying attention to the process of language planning.

CYAD-7007: Research Methodology

To introduce students to different research traditions and their respective quantitative and qualitative methodologies and to equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to undertake a small scale research project.

CYAD-7008: Cognitive Aspects of Bilingualism

To explore any possible intellectual, cognitive and metalinguistic effects on the individual that can be attributed to bilingualism.

CYAD-7009: Development of Bilingual Education in Wales

To study the development of Welsh language education in Wales from the 19th century to the present day together with the various factors that militated for and against this development. 

CYAD-7010: Models of Bilingual Teaching

To examine the wide range of models included in the term “bilingual education” and, in the context of their political and educational aims, to evaluate their effectiveness from the perspective of their ability to ensure balanced levels of bilingualism in individuals.

CYAD-7012: Language Planning Essentials

To critically consider the main theoretical aspects in the field of language planning, with reference to relevant theories and analyses and practical examples drawn from Wales and foreign countries, and also to discuss the main social and political developments relating to language planning in Wales during the 12th century.

In order to ensure professional relevance, students will be given sufficient opportunity to adapt the material presented to them to their own purposes, and to refer to their own field of work in the body of the assignments.

The MA Bilingualism and Multilingualism takes full advantage of the rich linguistic experience offered by Wales’ own bilingual context, as well as University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s long-established expertise within this field. The University is part of an extended network of institutions across Europe where bilingualism, multilingualism and language planning is an everyday phenomenon.

The programme aims to:

  • provide students with various aspects of bilingualism and multilingualism, both in Wales and in international contexts;
  • develop students’ ability to critically analyse the various factors involved in the study of bilingualism/ multilingualism and to relate those factors to national and international contexts;
  • equip students for various vocations involved with bilingualism/ multilingualism and enable them to apply basic principles, together with knowledge, understanding and subject-based skills, to their daily vocational needs;
  • introduce students to the most relevant research and thinking in the field which forms the basis for the most recent theories and learning;
  • develop students’ transferable skills and enable them to research, interpret and critically evaluate;
  • develop students’ cognitive skills including their ability to reason, to critically analyse, as well as to think creatively in appraising any current policies in the field of bilingualism/ multilingualism and to propose improvements.
  • The programme will focus on various aspects of bilingualism and language planning relevant to a range of professional and vocational posts in order to extend and deepen knowledge, understanding and skills in specific fields.
  • The professional / vocational skills related to this programme will enable students to:
  • rise to the challenge which faces individuals in the field of bilingualism / multilingualism and language planning;
  • undertake projects concerned with various aspects in the field;
  • undertake individual and team research to promote linguistic plans and strategies;
  • analyse and interpret data concerned with various developments;
  • exhibit proficiency in the use of ICT in presentations and in communication.

Students are given an opportunity to undertake field studies occasionally (eg in Scotland and Ireland) in order to study language revitalization projects and, when geographically convenient, to attend national and international conferences on bilingualism and language planning.

The advantage of the MA Bilingualism and Multilingualism to students is the flexibility which allows them to gain the necessary knowledge and skills through distance learning, by studying part-time or full-time and with the assistance of technology and the reading materials provided.

One can study as few as two modules per year and spread the cost over the period of study. By now, the course is studied by students in Wales and in various parts of the world including, for example, Italy, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, Cyprus, Greece and Mongolia.

A range of assessment methods are adopted in order to enable students to illustrate their knowledge and skills in relation to learning outcomes, including:     

  • written assignments
  • presentations (adapted for distance learning purposes)
  • extended essays.

Assessment methods are adopted on the basis of their appropriateness for ensuring that students can show that they have achieved the learning outcomes which are explicit in every module and on which the assessment criteria are based.

At the start of every module students are provided with:

  • the assignment(s) for the assessment of the module and the weighting for each assignment
  • a list of the criteria used to mark an assignment or presentation
  • further guidance in relation to the requirements of the set tasks and dates for presentation.

Following the completion of an assignment, each student will receive:

  • a formal report containing an assessment of the individual criteria on which the final mark was based, and feedback containing comments on how to improve as part of a formative process.
  • an opportunity to discuss the assignment with a tutor if necessary.

Every assignment is assessed internally by a second-marker and by an external examiner.

The admission arrangements are overseen by the Admissions Tutor and the Head of the School of Welsh and Bilingual Studies.

The School adheres to the University’s guidelines on required academic qualifications as specified in the Academic Quality Handbook. Postgraduate students are normally required to have attained an initial degree awarded by a university or an approved-degree awarding body. However, these guidelines also allow non-standard applications from students who may not conform to the academic requirements of the orthodox method of entry. The School is, therefore, able to consider applications from mature students who may have relevant experience and/ or qualifications other than those outlined above.

International students whose mother-tongue is not English applying for study at postgraduate level will normally be required to show evidence of sufficient command of the English language in order to be able to follow their course, undertake research, and produce writing without major linguistic difficulties. Such evidence is usually the Cambridge Advanced or Proficiency Certificate, IELTS minimum score of 6.5, TOEFL minimum score of 575, or TOEIC minimum score of 700.

Following the receipt and scrutiny of applications by the Head of School and the Programme Director, all eligible applicants are invited for interview. Distance learning students from abroad, are interviewed by Skype or telephone and under the same rigorous conditions as those interviewed at the University.

The University has excellent resources, thus enabling us to offer a range of modules available to suit professional developmental needs and personal interests. The degree has a broad focus which is suitable for a range of professional fields and aims to equip students with the information and skills to work confidently in the field of bilingualism / multilingualism and language planning. The course offers a range of experiences and would appeal to anyone involved in the development of the use of language in modern society, including:

  • Language Officers
  • Policy Makers & Government Officers
  • Language Planners
  • Teachers & Trainers
  • Translators
  • Youth/ Community Workers
  • Those currently working in adult education in various countries
  • Those developing learning opportunities in both youth and adult contexts

The MA degree offers opportunities to progress to undertake subsequent research for a PhD.

Key Features

  • The University has extensive expertise in the field of bilingualism and language planning together with a strong research profile
  • Trinity Saint David University is part of a network of institutions across Europe involved in bilingualism, multilingualism and language planning and collaboration and knowledge transfer opportunities are maximised
  • The University has excellent resources in this area, enabling us to offer a range of modules available to suit professional developmental needs and personal interests

This is a postgraduate course which is relevant to the national and international linguistic agenda and which can be studied at home and by distance learning, and on a part-time or full-time basis.