BA in Applied Linguistics & Discourse Studies

Do you love learning languages? Do you want to know more about how language can be learned, taught, and used most effectively in schools, universities, and workplaces? A BA Applied Linguistics & Discourse Studies (ALDS) opens doors to a variety of careers in the public or private sector, in NGOs or in educational institutions related to language teaching, language assessment, and policy.  It also provides an excellent basis for graduate work.  Visit our Alumni page to see how some of our graduate students put their degrees to use.

Info Package

ALDS develops and applies theories to solve everyday problems involving language.  As an interdisciplinary field encompassing work in Applied Linguistics, Writing Studies, Discourse Studies, and Literacy Studies, ALDS focuses on language-related issues such as the following:

  • Language Teaching and Learning: How are languages taught and learned? How are language curricula best developed and implemented?
  • Language Assessment: How are language competencies evaluated and language tests designed?
  • Writing: How is writing used in academic, workplace, and community settings to construct knowledge, accomplish learning, and perform other functions? How can writing best be taught and learned in these settings?
  • Literacies: How do people use texts in their everyday activities in society? How can access to literacies be broadened?
  • Discourse Analysis: How is language—both spoken and written—used in specific social contexts? And how are texts in other symbol systems—such as photographs and drawings—used in similar contexts?
  • Language in Society: How does language influence society, and how is it influenced by society? What role does language play in creating social identities, social structures, and relations of power?
  • Language and the Professions: For what purposes do professionals use language in their work? What makes professional communication in a first or a second language more effective?
  • Bilingual Education: How can educational institutions support bilingual development? What makes a bilingual education program effective?
  • Language Policy and Planning: How do government policies influence language practices, as for instance with measures to protect endangered languages?

Is English not your first language?

ESL students can still start a degree!

Learn how!

Click here for a list of ALDS courses in the Undergraduate Calendar.  We also regularly offer special topic courses (options vary by year).  For example:

  • Forensic Linguistics
  • Indigenous Languages in Canada
  • Affordances of Digital Technologies
  • Language and the Legal Domain
  • Introduction to Deaf Studies
  • Statistics for Language Research
  • Theories of Cross-cultural Communication

If you plan to pursue an Honours program, be sure to check out the Accelerated Pathway option which offers a streamlined pathway to graduate studies.

Learn more about Applied Linguistics & Discourse Studies by exploring our MA program page and visiting the websites of various related professional societies & associations.

Got questions, check our FAQ and contact our academic advisor Professor Karen Jesney

* In 2010 the decision was made to change the name of this program to Applied Linguistics & Discourse Studies from Applied Language Studies.