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The award

How long you will study
2 years

Domestic course fees
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How you will study
part-time, mixed-mode

Course starts
January, April, October

International course fees
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All study options

About Adult Literacy, Language and Numeracy at University College London

This masters degree will:

  • encourage you, as an experienced practitioner, to reflect on your teaching and management of literacy, language and numeracy programmes and to experiment with and evaluate new modes of pedagogy and provision
  • stimulate you to raise fundamental questions about the context for adult literacy, language and numeracy, based on up-to-date knowledge and research
  • enable you to critically evaluate provision and reflect on your practice as a teacher, teacher educator, manager and/or policy-maker
  • develop the skills you need to engage in small-scale research in adult literacy, language and numeracy.

This masters degree provides the opportunity to:

  • access a stimulating and supportive learning community
  • gain a specialist teaching qualification in adult literacy or ESOL, which meets and goes beyond statutory requirements for teachers of literacy and ESOL in the lifelong learning sector
  • explore up-to date evidence-based research and pedagogy for English and mathematics/numeracy, including functional skills, in the lifelong learning sector
  • develop skills to critically evaluate policy, research and pedagogy in an international context.
Who is this programme for?

Teachers, teacher educators, managers and policy-makers in the field of adult literacy, language (ESOL) and numeracy.

Entry requirements

A good first degree or equivalent, and experience of teaching or management in the field of adult literacy, language and numeracy. There are additional requirements if you wish to take modules leading to a Postgraduate Certificate in Adult Literacy or ESOL Teaching.

Core topics
  • Policy in adult literacy, language and numeracy
  • Pedagogy in adult literacy, language and numeracy
  • ESOL theories and frameworks
  • Literacy theories and frameworks
  • Learning literacy and ESOL
  • Mathematics education
  • Researching post-compulsory practice
  • Understanding education research.
Related topics
  • Assessment
  • Gender, education and development
  • Language teacher development
  • Learning and teaching for adults.
How are you assessed?

By coursework and a dissertation of 20,000 words or a report of 10,000 words. For some modules you will compile a teaching portfolio, including critical reflection on assessed teaching.


Mixed mode, including face-to-face evening and occasional daytime sessions and online learning.

Where do our students go?

Graduates of this masters degree are currently working as:

  • advanced practitioners and managers
  • teacher educators
  • researchers
  • consultants.
Core modules
  • ESOL Theories and Frameworks
  • Literacy or ESOL Learning and Teaching
  • Literacy Theories and Frameworks
  • Literacy, ESOL And The Learner
  • Policy, Research and Pedagogy in Adult Literacy, Language and Numeracy: International Perspectives
  • Understanding Mathematics Education
Recommended modules
  • Assessment: Issues and Practice
  • Contemporary Issues In English Education
  • Gender, Education and Development
  • Issues and Options in Language Teacher Development
  • Learning and Teaching for Adults

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Study options for this course

Entry requirements

1. Students are normally required to have at least two years’ experience of teaching English, a good first degree in a relevant subject, and meet our minimum language requirements: IELTS score of 7.0 for direct entry, or a minimum of IELTS 5.5 and a summer pre-sessional English programme. Students with a 4.5 or higher might want to consider attending our pre-Masters course on the London Foundation Campus. 2. Applicants for the MA ALLN will be expected to have a good first degree and professional experience in the field of adult literacy, language and/or numeracy (traditionally 2 years, but this is negotiable). [These requirements do not apply in the case of those wishing to take Policy, Research and Pedagogy in Adult Literacy, Language and Numeracy: International Perspectives or ESOL/Literacy Theories and Frameworks as a freestanding course.] 3. Applicants who wish to take the ESOL/Literacy modules leading to the Postgraduate Certificate in Adult Literacy or ESOL Teaching as an interim award will also have to take part in an initial assessment process as required by government regulations. In addition these applicants should hold a generic teaching qualification and be currently employed in the Lifelong Learning Sector for a minimum of three hours per week, teaching groups of ESOL or literacy learners (not one-to-one tutoring or NVQ assessing). The place of employment must be a college, training provider or similar (NHS, for example), which falls within a government regulatory framework for QA inspection, e.g. Ofsted.

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