Graduate Studies

Master of Arts in Bilingualism Studies (MA)

Objectives of the Program

The program focuses on several critical issues in the field of Applied Linguistics, including methodological and technological innovations in adult second language instruction, assessment of adult second language competence, as well as language policy and planning.

The primary objective of the program is to offer a strong graduate education in Bilingualism Studies. It provides students with advanced research skills achieved through a specialized research methodology course, writing extensive research papers and, where applicable, conducting thesis related research.

The program will draw upon the expertise of professors from OLBI and from other departments in the Faculty of Arts, and in the faculties of Education and Social Sciences.


BIL5101 Issues in Bilingualism Studies (3cr.)
Theories of language and language learning. Social factors, processes, conditions, and learner factors in second language learning. Bilingualism, multilingualism, and cross-cultural communication. Political, social, and cultural factors in planning and implementing language policy. Language planning and policy evaluation. Research applications in these areas.

BIL5102 Research Methodology in Bilingualism Studies (3cr.)
Approaches to the design of studies, data collection instruments and procedures and analysis of data in second language learning and use. The role of statistics. Experimental and quasi-experimental methods. Quantitative and qualitative methodologies.

BIL5103 Assessment of Second Language Competence (3cr.)
Theoretical issues related to the assessment of second language skills. Descriptive frameworks and standards for testing receptive and productive language skills. Assessing knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Construction of language tests. Development of rating scales. Review and critique of commercial language tests.

BIL5104 Trends and Issues in Research on Technology-Assisted Language Learning (3cr.)
Critical analysis of trends and issues in research on the design, integration, use and evaluation of multimedia and information and communication technologies in adult second language learning. Overview of innovative research and development methods, and tools and unique techniques used in Computer-assisted language learning (CALL).

BIL5105 Electronic Corpora in Second Language Learning (3cr.)
The use of electronic corpora in second language learning. Corpus linguistics. Techniques and tools (taggers, concordancers, etc.) enabling the gathering, annotation and analysis of electronic corpora in second language acquisition research. Computer-aided analysis of language learners’ written and oral production errors. Impact of learner corpora on the design of language learning resources. Use of online French, English and bilingual corpus resources for language learning.

BIL5106 Adult Second/Foreign Language Skills Development (3cr.)
Critical examination of the theoretical principles underlying learning of the major language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) and component skills (grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation). Survey of research and practice related to learning language skills.

BIL5107 Language Planning and Policy in Canada (3cr.)
History and current concerns of official bilingualism in Canada. Multilingualism within an official bilingualism framework. Marginalisation, linguicism, and social class. Federal-provincial relationships and language issues. Language and social development.

BIL5108 The Politics of Language, Power and Identity: Canada and the World (3cr.)
Exploration of the politics of language, language policy, planning and practice of “global” languages in a second, minority or foreign language teaching contexts. Critical evaluation of social control of language use and through language. Macro (national) to micro (classroom) contexts of teaching. Reproduction, resistance and transformation of sociopolitical and linguistic ideologies and practices.

BIL7990 Projet de thèse/Thesis Proposal
Projet individuel. Examen critique approfondi de documents dont la liste est établie conjointement par l’étudiant et le directeur ou la directrice de thèse. Rédaction d’un projet de thèse soumis à l’évaluation de deux autres membres du corps professoral. Noté : S (satisfaisant)/ NS (non satisfaisant). Préalables : BIL5501/BIL5101 et BIL5502/BIL5102 / Individual Project. Critical review of a set of readings selected jointly by student and advisor. Drafting of a thesis proposal. Submission of the thesis proposal for evaluation by two other professors. Graded: S (Satisfactory)/NS (Not satisfactory). Prerequisites: BIL5501/BIL5101 and BIL5502/BIL5102.

BIL7998 Mémoire/Research Paper
Mémoire d’une longueur de 12,500 mots (sans compter la bibliographie) préparé sous la direction d’un ou deux membres du corps professoral choisis en accord avec la personne responsable des études supérieures. Le mémoire est évalué par le ou les personnes qui l’ont dirigé et un autre membre du corps professoral. Noté: S (satisfaisant) / NS (non satisfaisant). Préalables : toutes les exigences de cours. // Research paper (about 12,500 words, excluding the bibliography) prepared under the direction of one or two professors chosen in consultation with the director of graduate studies. The paper is evaluated by the (co-)advisor(s) and another professor. Graded: S (Satisfactory)/NS (Not satisfactory). Prerequisites: All course requirements.

BIL7999 Thèse de maîtrise/Master’s Thesis
Préalable: BIL7990 / Prerequisite: BIL7990

Career Opportunities

Career prospects for the graduates of this program are excellent in Canada and abroad. Graduates may find employment in several areas, including the following:

  • Teaching ESL or FLS to adults in educational institutions;
  • Language planning and evaluation of language policy in government, local/national and international organizations and agencies;
  • Working in private sector organizations such as language schools or community-based programs;
  • Developing language assessment tools and tests;
  • Developing language software.


  • MA with thesis;
  • MA with research paper.

Both program options will prepare students to pursue further graduate studies at the PhD level in the field.

Bilingual Program

  • The program will be offered in English and in French with an equal number of courses in each language;
  • Students will be required to take one compulsory course in English and one in French;
  • The electives can be taken in either language.

If you are unsure of your proficiency level in your second official language, please email OLBI’s Language Testing Services at to request an assessment.

All applicants must have an excellent knowledge of either English or French and at least a receptive knowledge of the other language. However, in accordance with University of Ottawa policy, students have the right to produce their work in French or in English. Graduates of French immersion programs who are capable of studying in both official languages and motivated to maintain their French language skills are strongly encouraged to apply.

Financial Support

Research assistantships are available from the OLBI Research Chairs and other OLBI professors to sponsor students registered in the program with the required academic profiles and research interests. Teaching assistantships may also be offered to qualified registered students.

Admission Information

Studies Session for admission
Fall (as of 2014)
Full-time X
Part-time X

Who should apply to this program?

Students with an honours Bachelor of Arts in:

  • Second Language Teaching / Didactique des langues secondes (or its equivalent);
  • Applied Linguistics;
  • A related discipline.

Students with a three-year Bachelor's degree in

  • Applied Linguistics, or a related discipline, in addition to a university-level, university-administered advanced certificate in TESOL (Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages), representing a minimum of 30 credits.

For further information, including the application form, consult the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

To read more on the subject of the Master's Program, consult the article in the Gazette.