This strand aims to allow students to engage with the range of language issues faced by teachers and learners in diverse educational settings. It is designed to equip students with the academic and professional skills to negotiate the challenges and opportunities presented by language in school and society. This includes literacy development amongst diverse cohorts, increasing cultural and linguistic diversity, bilingualism and multilingualism, and second language acquisition.

Six students in a lecture theatre

Course Contact

Course Strand Leader: Dr Noel Ó Murchadha | Email

Who is this course for?

This M.Ed. strand is for those interested in the dynamics of language in education, at both national and international levels. The aim is to introduce students to contemporary debates on language development and the role of formal education in this process. It is for teachers practising in the primary, post-primary and tertiary sectors, in Ireland and abroad, who wish to extend their theoretical knowledge in the area of language. While language educators may be particularly interested, the strand engages with the dynamics of language in education more broadly and may also be of interest to specialists in other subject areas. Individuals engaged in language and educational policy may also be interested in the course, for example, as may graduates in the areas of education, language, and linguistics. The strand can also provide a pathway for those who wish to pursue further research on issues concerning language and education. Note that suitable applicants for Language Education may be invited to interview for a place on the strand.

Course Structure

The Language Education programme provides an integrated perspective on language that is grounded within the broader field of education. Overall, the strand aims to ensure a theoretically grounded understanding of language development and use through integrating oral and written language and across different media.


The taught component includes four strand modules, each with 25 hours of direct contact time. Each strand module normally includes twelve two-hour lectures in Trinity College on weekday afternoons/evenings during term (normally Tuesdays and Wednesdays 4-6pm).

In addition to the four strand modules, students will also take a common M.Ed. taught module on Academic Literacy and Research Methods (ALRM). This taught module generally takes place on Friday evenings and some Saturday mornings. The Language Education strand can be studied on a 1-year full- time basis, or on a 2-year or 3-year part-time basis.

The research component involves carrying out a research project and writing a 20,000-word dissertation under the guidance of a supervisor. Students are free to propose a study in a relevant area of their choosing. It is worth noting, however, that our supervision expertise is concentrated in the areas listed below and we particularly welcome projects on these topics: computational linguistics; corpus studies; embodied cognition and SLA; English as a global language; language and assistive technology; language and creativity; language and drama in education; language and identity; language and literacy assessment; language and migration; language attitudes, ideologies and motivation; language policy; language, power and the politics of language; literacy acquisition across languages; minority languages in education; performative language education and research; phonological acquisition; raciolinguistics; supporting additional educational needs; technology enhanced learning; translanguaging; Universal Design for Learning.

Course Modules

Integrating Language will provide students with a comprehensive overview of issues pertaining to language and language education. This core, baseline module explores key issues and concepts in language. It aims to offer a theoretical perspective, encouraging students to reflect on what language is, from a developmental point of view. Given the breadth and range of research in the field, the module will aim to examine how competing theoretical approaches to language have accounted for language development phenomena in first and subsequent languages.

Researching Language will allow students to build upon the expertise developed in the Integrating Language module and will allow them to investigate how research in language and language education generates theory and informs policy and practice. A key focus of the module will be on the appraisal of approaches to research and on the application of critical awareness to the design of research projects.

Bilingualism and Multilingualism will develop the foundational knowledge gained in the first two modules and situate it within the global context of bilingualism and multilingualism. It will allow students to explore the opportunities and challenges associated with using more than one language under the conditions of globalisation. Students will develop an awareness of the nature of bilingualism and multilingualism and will engage with and assess educational models for bilingual/multilingual individuals.

Embodying Language: This module provides an introduction to embodiment in language education and research. It aims to encourage discussion on the theoretical and practical aspects related to researching the role of play, emotions and creativity in learning. The module encourages students to cultivate a variety of research methods related to embodiment, drawing on different art forms - including drama in education, storytelling, dance, music, visual arts, media and digital arts.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

A blend of lectures and seminars. The seminars will include activities that engage the students in group work and cooperative learning. Student participation in class debates and discussions will feature, for instance students will read prescribed materials before class and class discussion will be based on the topics in the assigned readings. Learners will experience a flexible approach to teaching and learning, facilitated by experts in the field.


The course exceeded my expectations and I benefitted not only from the world-class facilities but also from engaging with staff and students of a high standard. I look forward to implementing what I have learned at TCD in my professional practice and will remember my times as a student in Ireland with great fondness.

Chelsea Whittaker (South Africa)

Graduate and Ph.D. Candidate

Throughout my learning experience at TCD I had the privilege to learn from admirable professors and work alongside incredible people from all around the world, including China, South Africa, the United States and Ireland. The Language Education strand offers interesting and engaging classes where one acquires a great deal of knowledge and research skills in language and education.

Alejandra Alvarez (Mexico)

Graduate and English Language Teacher

My experience at Trinity was indeed a memorable one. I had the opportunity to work with a diverse class of varying backgrounds and cultures. The TCD staff and community were always very helpful and accommodating, and the facilities that were provided assisted me greatly. The course taught me so much in relation to language and how great a part it plays in our everyday lives.

Mohd Naqib Lutfi Bin Abdul Latif (Malaysia)

Graduate and English Language Teacher

I really enjoyed my experience on the Language Education strand. I’m so thankful that to all of my tutors who were so supportive throughout. And my beloved classmates, I learnt a lot from them, especially when sharing experiences from our own countries. Now, I am working as a teacher in China again, but this time I am more confident, and my students love the way I teach.

Liting Li (China)

Graduate and Teacher in China

The M.Ed. Language Education was one of the best educational experiences I have had to date. It provided a solid grounding in both language theory and research skills. In classes, learning was facilitated by deeply knowledgeable lecturers who guided us to collaborate, discuss, debate, learn to work independently and grow as researchers. I consider this a really valuable programme and recommend it to anyone with an interest in language education.

Laura McNamara (Ireland)

Graduate and Post-Primary Teacher in Ireland

What do I need to include in my application

All applicants must submit i) an up-to-date CV; ii) a true copy of the transcripts for your primary degree; and iii) two academic reference (e.g. from lecturers/professors who have taught you). In addition, applicants to the full-time route to M.Ed. must submit a M.Ed. Description of Area of Research Interest 2023-24 (PDF). Students who have not studied their primary degree through the medium of English must also submit a certificate of competence in English.

Does this strand qualify me to be a teacher?

No. The Language Education strand on the M.Ed. is an academic programme designed to advance students' knowledge and practice in the area of language and language education. As such, it is not designed to qualify students as language teachers. Completing the M.Ed. (Language Education) may, however, advance graduates' employment and advancement opportunities.

When will classes take place?

A sample timetable is available and provides an indication of the contact hours.

Where can I find information on the fees for the strand?

You will find information on the fees structure for the M.Ed. on the Academic Registry website.

Who are the staff working on the strand?

The taught components of the strand are delivered mainly by 3 full-time members of the School of Education staff: Dr Ann Devitt, Dr Noel Ó Murchadha and Dr Erika Piazzoli. Combined, the lecturers on the strand cover a broad range of areas of expertise within language and language education.