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Thread: MA dilemma

  1. #1
    John Ho is offline Newbie
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    Default MA dilemma

    I've been teaching ESL/EFL for about 12 years now, and finally have made up my mind to go ahead and earn an MA in AL. Looked at many programs and have them narrowed down to either University of New England (Australia) or University of Nottingham (UK) -- but would still consider other possibilities.

    My dilemma: UNE offers classes that seem more interesting to me personally -- and they don't require a dissertation. UNott requires a dissertation and offers few classes that appeal to me. Some of my friends think this is a no-brainer. But I'm not so sure. Teaching English is my chosen career, and I want to do what's best for the future in that regard. Not sure if I'll ever be interested in a Ph.D. I really enjoy teaching. I want to be able to teach English anywhere without worrying about the 'respectability/acceptance' of my degree. And I'm interested in teaching at the university level --either in the regular curriculum or in a university ELC.

    Does it really make a difference whether I have an MA from UNE or UNott???

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: MA dilemma

    Some criticise courses without dissertations as part of a lightweight downward trend, yet I have taught in ELCs without being asked about mine- . However, Nottingham is in the top 100 universities in the TES list, while UNE doesn't make the top 500 according to my search and this may well have some cachet, which could be an edge in an increasingly competitive area.

    It is a hard call to make not a no-brainer to me- I had a look around the UNE site and I left with a nagging feeling about it. How much more interesting is their course?

  3. #3
    John Ho is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: MA dilemma

    Hey. Thanks for the reply. Well, the courses can be compared as below:

    UNE
    The Design of Language
    The English Language
    Issues in AL
    Intercultural Communication
    SLA Theory
    SLA Applications
    Bilingualism, Education and Society
    Research in AL

    UNott
    Descriptive Linguistic Analysis I
    Descriptive Linguistic Analysis II
    Teaching Eng. and Lit. I
    Teaching Eng. and Lit II
    Syllabus Design & Methodology I
    Syllabus Design & Methodology II
    Discourse Analysis
    Research in AL
    Dissertation

    Oddly, the cost is nearly the same. UNE seems more general, and more interesting, to me. And, honestly, though I think I could do it, I'm a bit intimidated about doing a dissertation. But would give it a go, if I could feel strongly that it was worth the extra effort -- for what I want to do. Also, it looks like you could easily do the UNE program in two years. UNott, with the dissertation, may take longer.

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    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: MA dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by John Ho View Post
    Does it really make a difference whether I have an MA from UNE or UNott???
    Hi,
    I had a quick look at the websites. The MA(AL, UNE) looks similar to the MAppLing I'm doing by correspondence through Monash Uni.
    The MA (UNott) looks like a higher quality degree. But note the entry requirements:
    "Entry requirements:2.1(Upper 2nd class hons degree or international equivalent)"
    Do you have an honours degree?
    The UNott degree seems to offer the prospect of leading into a PhD, while the UNE probably does not.
    This tends to suggest that the UNE degree would be easier to pass. UNE is a well-known and respected uni in Australia.

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    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: MA dilemma

    Doesn't easier to pass also smack a bit of MA-lite by the same measure? And a dissertation isn't that bad.

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    I'm With Stupid's Avatar
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    Default Re: MA dilemma

    I hope you don't mind me hijacking your thread to ask a question that's been bugging me. What is the difference between an MA in TESOL and an MA in Applied Linguistics? I've been looking into it, and Applied Linguistics always seems to be aimed at experienced teachers and generally asks for at least 2 or 3 years experience teaching, whereas some TESOL MAs let you in without any experience at all and say they're for people with little or no teaching experience. What is the difference between the two in the actual job market, because it seems to me that an MA in TESOL is just a more in depth version of a CELTA, whereas an MA in AL is a more in depth version of a DELTA, but they've got the same Masters level.

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    Default Re: MA dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Doesn't easier to pass also smack a bit of MA-lite by the same measure? And a dissertation isn't that bad.
    Yes. Masters Lite is exactly what I call these MAs that don't require a BA in the same subject prior - ie. all MAs (or MBAs or others Masters) which don't require prior knowledge. Apart from an accelerated introduction, they are usually based on the university's upper Bachelor subects. I didn't say that being Lite made it a better choice in itself. But if the subjects look more interesting to John, perhaps that makes it the better alternative.

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    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: MA dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by I'm With Stupid View Post
    I hope you don't mind me hijacking your thread to ask a question that's been bugging me. What is the difference between an MA in TESOL and an MA in Applied Linguistics?
    Not a great deal in many cases- some MAs in TESOL used to be in MAs Applied Linguistics.

  9. #9
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: MA dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Yes. Masters Lite is exactly what I call these MAs that don't require a BA in the same subject prior - ie. all MAs (or MBAs or others Masters) which don't require prior knowledge. Apart from an accelerated introduction, they are usually based on the university's upper Bachelor subects. I didn't say that being Lite made it a better choice in itself. But if the subjects look more interesting to John, perhaps that makes it the better alternative.
    I agree with you about the subjects, and I'd far rather study something that interested me, but if my primary purpose were to acquire a professional asset I would probably play it safe.

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