Objectives and competences

The university master's degree in Applied Linguistics and Language Acquisition in Multilingual Contexts (LAALCM) is designed to train Spanish and international students to answer key questions in applied linguistics and second language acquisition in the world's numerous, diverse multilingual contexts. Students will learn to analyse these questions, develop a general understanding of the tools, techniques and methods required to answer them, and carry out their own research in a final project, in which they can apply the knowledge they have acquired.
The principal objectives are for students to understand the main phenomena in language acquisition, to learn about the latest research questions and results in the field of applied linguistics, to learn to transfer research results to teaching practice, and to acquire the independence to propose and carry out a basic applied research project.

The programme is closely linked to on-going developments in international research in the field of applied linguistics carried out by members of the teaching staff. Among other topics, this research focuses on the role of age, input, individual differences in second language acquisition, vocabulary acquisition, perception, second language production, bilingualism and multilingualism, content and language integrated learning, and specific methodological and technological aspects of applied linguistics research.

The course is divided into the following modules, of 15 credits each:
  • Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition
  • Research Methodology in Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition
  • Research Topics in Second Language Acquisition and the Teaching and Learning of Second Languages
  • Final Project (MA thesis)
Possible bridging courses may also be recommended to students.

Basic information

TypeMaster's degree
Faculty or schoolFaculty of Philology and Communication
Branch of knowledge
  • Philology, classical studies, translation and linguistics
Mode of delivery
  • Face-to-face
Number of places available25
Length of course1 academic year
Language(s) of instructionEnglish (100 %)
Approximate price per credit27.67 euros per credit (82 euros for students who are not EU nationals and do not currently reside in Spain). Fees for the academic year 2023-2024
Course detailsIndicators
Open pre-enrolmentYes
Open enrolmentYes
Lead to doctoral studiesYes
Admission for applicants not holding a degree qualificationNo
Bridging coursesYes

Objectives and competences


The general objectives of the master's degree are to train specialized researchers in the main phenomena of language acquisition and applied linguistics in general, who can transfer research results to teaching practice and carry out a basic applied research projects. The training will enable students to deepen their knowledge of applied linguistics, particularly with regard to foreign language acquisition and advances in new technologies for language research and learning. Students will develop greater knowledge and skills in relation to the new linguistic scenarios in schools and general society, and will carry out reflexive teaching practice.


General competences

  • Capacity to analyse language in real communication situations in bilingual and foreign language acquisition contexts, and to analyse teaching discourse in the language classroom.
  • Capacity to apply the concepts of interlanguage and language transfer to the analysis of language data.


Specific competences

  • Understanding of and capacity to identify the main phenomena and factors in language acquisition, from a cognitive and sociocultural perspective, including the age factor and individual differences in learning. 
  • Understanding of the transfer and application of applied linguistics research to teaching practice in the foreign language classroom.
  • Capacity to identify the main types of studies in the field of language acquisition, and to explain and summarize empirical studies of language acquisition.
  • Capacity to acquire knowledge of new technologies and apply this knowledge to language teaching and learning.
  • Capacity to identify the features of different linguistic situations in schools and in general society.
  • Capacity to produce critical appraisals of methodological designs in empirical studies on applied linguistics.
  • Capacity to produce critical appraisals of methods and resources for language learning.
  • Capacity to design, plan and carry out a research assignment in the area of applied linguistics.
  • Capacity to use basic tools for the collection, processing and analysis of linguistic data.
  • Ability to explain and summarize logically and accurately the contents of empirical studies on language acquisition and teaching.
  • Capacity to acquire and apply knowledge of new technologies to quantitative and qualitative research in applied linguistics and language acquisition.
  • Capacity to identify the cognitive and contextual processes and mechanisms that are key to understanding vocabulary acquisition as well as the acquisition of phonology in second languages.
  • Capacity to identify the discourse and pragmatic aspects that are key to understanding language interaction in communication situations in the language classroom and in the real world.

Access and admission

Applicant profile and access requirements

Recommended applicant profile

The programme is particularly aimed at bachelor's degree or pre-EHEA degree holders in linguistics or modern languages who would like to pursue a research career in applied linguistics and language acquisition. It is also aimed at bachelor's degree or pre-EHEA degree holders in philology or areas of applied linguistics and language acquisition, including linguistics, psychology, translation and interpretation, education, teacher training or other equivalent qualifications, who wish to apply research results from the fields of applied linguistics and language acquisition to their professional activity. The programme may also be of interest to holders of degrees in other disciplines who would like to work professionally in the area of language acquisition, or who currently work in language training and would like to deepen their theoretical and practical knowledge of the field.

Since the courses are taught entirely in English, students should have a good working knowledge of the language (C1 level or higher) so that they are able to complete all of the learning activities.

Access requirements and conditions

General requirements
In accordance with Article 16 of Royal Decree 1393/2007, of 29 October, students wishing to be admitted to a university master's degree must hold one of the following qualifications:

  • Official Spanish university degree.

  • A degree issued by a higher education institution within the European Higher Education Area framework that authorizes the holder to access university master's degree courses in the country of issue.

  • A qualification issued by an institution outside the framework of the European Higher Education Area. In this case, applicants must request homologation of the degree to its equivalent official Spanish university qualification or obtain express approval from the University of Barcelona, which will conduct a study of equivalence to ensure that the degree is of a comparable level to an official Spanish university qualification and that it grants access to university master's degree study in the country of issue. Admission shall not, in any case, imply that prior qualifications have been recognized as equivalent to a Spanish master's degree and does not confer recognition for any purposes other than that of admission to the master's degree course.

Specific requirements
Preference will be given to candidates with prior training in linguistics or psycholinguistics, although applications are welcome from any other candidate who meets the general requirements for access to university master's degree study. Holders of undergraduate degrees who have no training in linguistics or applied linguistics may be required to take bridging courses, as determined by the Admissions Committee.The master's degree syllabus includes two bridging courses: Acquisition of English as a Second Language I (5 credits) and Applied Linguistics (5 credits). Candidates with the following degrees will not be required to complete bridging courses:

  • Bachelor's degree or pre-EHEA degree in any language.
  • Bachelor's degree or pre-EHEA degree in applied linguistics or psycholinguistics.
  • Bachelor's degree or pre-EHEA degree in modern languages.
  • Bachelor's degree or pre-EHEA degree in translation and interpreting.
  • Bachelor's degree or pre-EHEA degree in teacher training, specializing in modern languages.
  • Bachelor's degree or pre-EHEA degree in foreign language teaching.

Holders of bachelor's degree or pre-EHEA degrees in other fields, including education, humanities and psychology, may be asked to take bridging courses, depending on their specialization, the subjects they took during their degree, the foreign language courses they have studied and their experience in the field of teaching foreign languages or applied linguistics.

Candidates must have English language skills at level C1 or higher. This is a formal requirement for admission to the programme, as all work will be carried out in English. Level C1 in the European Common Framework of Reference for Languages is equivalent to the Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or a TOEFL qualification with a total CBT score above 220.

Candidates with a degree from English-speaking universities or who have completed the bachelor's degree in English Studies or equivalent may not need to present proof of their knowledge of English.



1 March - 15 September 2024.


  • Pre-enrolment fee: A pre-enrolment fee of 30,21 euros is charged. Students who apply to more than one master's degree must pay the fee for each pre-enrolment request. Pre-enrolment requests cannot be processed until this fee has been paid.Fees will only be refunded if the master's degree in question is suspended.
  • Reserved places: A maximum of 5% of the new places of the master's degree are reserved for students who meet the general and specific access requirements and accredit the recognition of a degree of disability equal to or greater than 33%.

Required documentation

Selection criteria

Preference will be given to those candidates with the strongest merits, with particular consideration given to the following aspects:

  • 1. Academic transcript: 60%.
  • 2. Relevant professional experience (in any of the areas listed above, related to language learning and language use): 20%.
  • 3. Statement of interest in the master, which should be submitted to the Committee at the time of pre-enrolment: 10%.
  • 4. Other academic merits: participation in research projects; participation in institutional and academic tasks, collaboration grants in university departments: 5%.
  • 5. Other merits: participation in Socrates/Erasmus exchange programmes, basic user-level understanding of new technologies, foreign languages, previous study outside home country: 5%.

Candidates may be asked to attend an interview, at the discretion of the Admissions Committee.


The Admissions Committee, which is formed by the Master's Coordinator and the members of the Master's Degree Committee, studies applications from prospective students during the general pre-enrolment period for university master's degrees at the Faculty.

The Committee meets once a month to discuss the applications and issue a decision.


As a general rule, at the UB you will be required to enrol online. Remember that you can lose your place if you do not enrol on the day you have been assigned

Course curriculum

Subjects and course plans

Distribution of credits

Compulsory 30
Optional 15
Compulsory placements 0
Compulsory final project 15

List of subjects

Subject Type Language Credits
Specialization: Applied Linguistics and Language Acquisition in Multilingual Contexts
Advanced Studies in Multilingualism Optional 2nd semester 2.5
Analysis of Oral Fluency, Complexity and Accuracy Optional 2nd semester 2.5
Bilingualism and Multilingualism Compulsory 1st semester 5
Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) Optional 2nd semester 2.5
Final Project Compulsory 1st semester
2nd semester
Inferential Statistics Applied to Experimental Designs Compulsory 2nd semester 5
Influence between Languages Compulsory 1st semester 5
Introduction to Basic Applied Statistics Compulsory 1st semester 2.5
Linguistic Management in Catalan-Speaking Areas Optional 2nd semester 2.5
New Tendencies in Second Language Learning Compulsory 1st semester 5
Research in the Second Language Classroom Optional 2nd semester 2.5
Research Methods in Second Language Acquisition Compulsory 1st semester 5
Research Seminar Optional 2nd semester 2.5
Second Language Acquisition and Pragmatics Optional 2nd semester 2.5
Second Language Vocabulary Acquisition Optional 2nd semester 2.5
Second-Language Speech Acquisition Optional 2nd semester 2.5
Specialized Topics in Second Language Acquisition I Optional 1st semester 2.5
Specialized Topics in Second Language Acquisition II Optional 2nd semester 2.5
Tools for Linguistic Data Processing Compulsory 2nd semester 2.5

Previous years


Placements in a company or another type of organization are an integral part of university studies, providing first-hand experience of working methodologies in students' chosen professional fields. They offer invaluable practical experience for the transition into work after graduation.

Placements are supervised by tutors and subject to assessment. They are therefore included in the academic record.  There is also an option to complete non-curricular placements of up to 500 hours, which can be extended to 900 hours. For both curricular and non-curricular placements, an educational cooperation agreement is signed between the UB and the company, institution or other organization at which the placement will be carried out.

Institutional information

Career opportunities

What can you work on ?

Students who successfully complete the master's degree will be prepared for research careers in the humanities and social sciences, particularly in disciplines such as philology, linguistics, applied linguistics, language planning, teaching and education. They will also have the skills to work as teaching professionals in all of the above areas and in a range of other professions, including linguistic and intercultural mediation.

Access to the labour market

Data from the university system in Catalonia

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