Master of English Linguistics with specialization in Language Acquisition and Multilingualism


Program Description

The programme is well suited for students who are interested in studying how English is acquired in first and second language settings, as well as how the English language is affected by multilingual situations. In individual speakers, multilingual situations may cause one language to influence another, in particular in the acquisition process, and may ultimately also result in language attrition due to the lack of exposure and use of one of the languages. In societies, multilingualism and language contact may result in the development of new varieties of the language. Students admitted to the programme will be closely integrated into the research group in Language Acquisition, Variation and Attrition (LAVA:, which is an active and productive research group working on various aspects of multilingualism and multilingual language acquisition. The students will get the opportunity to carry out hands-on research with the members of the group. The programme provides a good foundation for work related to multilingualism in both the private and the public sector and is well suited for students who want to pursue a career within research.

Programme description

The Master comprises a course component of 60 ECTS and a thesis of 60 ECTS. The coursework consists of five compulsory modules; two of these will run in the Autumn (first semester) and three will be offered in the Spring (second semester):

  • ENG-3040 First Language Acquisition (10 ECTS)
  • ENG-3050 Second Language Acquisition (10 ECTS)
  • ENG-3060 Multilingualism (10 ECTS)
  • ENG-3070 Varieties of English (10 ECTS)
  • HIF-3082 Quantitative Methods in Linguistics (10 ECTS)

In addition, the student can choose between the following two courses in the first semester (Autumn):

  • HIF-3010 Syntax I (10 ECTS), or
  • HIF-3022 Phonology I (10 ECTS)

The 60 ECTS based on coursework should be completed in the first year of study, while the second year (60 ECTS) should be dedicated to writing the thesis. While working on the Master¿s thesis, a seminar is offered to support the students¿ research projects. In the Autumn (third semester), the seminar involves linguistics majors from all languages, and in the Spring (fourth semester), there is a seminar on English linguistics in particular. Students also get the opportunity to present their work in the LAVA-groups¿ research seminar, LAVA lunch.

Learning outcomes

Upon the completion of the Master's programme the candidate will have the following learning outcomes:


The candidate has extensive knowledge about:

  • the acquisition of English as a first, second and third language
  • different theoretical accounts of language acquisition, variation and attrition, both in general and with regard to specific linguistic phenomena
  • how languages may influence each other in multilingual situations, and which factors determine the direction of this influence
  • how the English language can both affect and be affected by contact with other languages, and how this has shaped varieties of English around the world
  • methodological approaches to the study of acquisition, variation and attrition


The candidate can:

  • make use of available literature appropriately and evaluate it critically
  • identify linguistic structures in language acquisition, variation and attrition that may add to our knowledge of these phenomena
  • make use of appropriate methodology to study language acquisition, variation, and attrition, taking into account the context in which the relevant phenomenon occurs and the speakers it affects
  • apply a theoretical framework to the linguistic structure in question, even when this represents a novel analysis of the relevant linguistic data
  • undertake a small research project with the help of a supervisor

General competence

The candidate is able to:

  • apply methodological and theoretical knowledge to other linguistic contexts
  • communicate academic content in a way appropriate for audiences of both experts and the general public, and can do this both orally and in writing

Teaching and assessment

The coursework consists of a combination of lectures and seminars. The candidate is expected to take an active part in their own learning experience, and acceptance of an offer to study on the programme is to agree to do so. All courses include various compulsory assignments, such as oral presentations, problem-solving tasks, and smaller paper assignments.

The Master's in English Acquisition and Multilingualism is a demanding programme that requires the student to work throughout the term. The students are expected to spend 40 hours per week on their studies, including preparation for lectures and seminars, work on term papers and other assignments.

Most courses contain assignments that must be approved in order to take the exam. These may include researched or reflective writing assignments, problem-solving tasks, or oral presentations.

The most common forms of examination are home exams written on assigned topics over a one-two week period or term papers on topics that students choose in cooperation with the course instructor.

Grades range from A-F, where A is the highest grade and F is fail.

Job prospectives

With increasing migration, experts on multilingualism are constantly becoming more sought after in both public and private workplaces. The programme provides the candidate with a solid background in language acquisition and multilingualism. Upon completion of the study, candidates are well suited for work in educational institutions, administrative public institutions related to issues of multilingualism, as well as international associations, organisations, and enterprises that deal with multilingual and multicultural issues. The programme is also an excellent starting point for further study at the PhD-level, as it provides the candidate with in-depth training in an exceptional research environment which places a great deal of emphasis on teamwork and co-publishing.

Exchange possibilities

Students taking the Master's in English Acquisition and Multilingualism are encouraged to make use of one of our exchange agreements in the second and/or third semester.

The department has a student exchange agreement with the following institutions:

  • The University of Konstanz, which offers an MA in Multilingualism
  • The University of York (via the Norwegian Study Centre in York)
Last updated Jan 2019

About the School

UIT The Arctic University of Norway is the northernmost university of the world. Its location on the edge of the Arctic implies a mission. The Arctic is of increasing global importance. Climate change ... Read More

UIT The Arctic University of Norway is the northernmost university of the world. Its location on the edge of the Arctic implies a mission. The Arctic is of increasing global importance. Climate change, the exploitation of Arctic resources and environmental threats are topics of great public concern, and which the University of Tromsø takes special interest in. At UiT The Arctic University of Norway you can explore global issues from a close-up perspective. Read less
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