Assessment of all the programmes is by coursework and dissertation. Assignments on most modules are 3,000 words long. Professional Practice modules involve coursework of 6,000 words, and the final dissertation requires 5,000 words. There are no formal examinations.
As stated, a 15,000 word dissertation is the final piece of assessed work in all the MA programmes. Students are encouraged to select a dissertation topic relating to linguistic or professional dimensions of the programme followed and are often able to relate their research to their existing or intended professional role. Within each of the specialised MA programmes, there is a requirement that the dissertation topic should be selected from within the area of specialisation.
Courses are taught by means of lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials. There is extensive guided reading and a number of written assignments. These assignments may be very varied in nature. Some are in the form of long essays, some incorporate analytical exercises with texts, some involve writing portfolios of material with a range of aims and focus. In each programme, the Research Methodology module occupies an important position. As well as providing a broad overview of research in ELT, this prepares students to carry out research for the dissertation with the support of a supervisor.
The different degree programmes are made distinctive by the range of required modules, the Professional Practice modules and the requirement to select a dissertation topic which falls within the different areas.
Within each of the degrees, there is ample opportunity for students to tailor their own programmes in accordance with their professional and academic aspirations and experience. Individuals may select options, assignment topics and their dissertation topic in accordance with their own particular interests or context.
In recent years, the different MA programmes have attracted students from Britain, Western and Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South, South East, East and Central Asia, North, and South and Central America. The students come from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds. Some have come straight from university. Others are experienced teachers and many have had a substantial professional record. They may have previously worked as teachers and heads of department in primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities; as curriculum developers, inspectors and administrators in Ministries of Education; as teacher trainers in colleges and universities; as teachers of English for Specific Purposes in universities, colleges, private schools and companies. Many former students now occupy senior positions throughout the world.