University of Barcelona

Applied Linguistics and Language Acquisition in Multilingual Contexts

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.