Master of Arts in Second Language Acquisition

Duration: 2 years
Medium of Instruction: Chinese, English or Portuguese (1)



  • Second Language Acquisition is a study of theories and methods of language teaching, learning and assessment.
  • It provides us with an understanding of how children and adults learn a second language.
  • It helps us design and plan curricula for teaching, learning and assessment in educational contexts.
  • It motivates us to conduct full-scale research projects or small-scale action research relevant to second language teaching and learning.
  • It is a critical area of theory and practice in the field of applied linguistics.


  • Provides high quality professional development in 3 specializations: Teaching Chinese, Portuguese or English as a second language
  • Combines teaching, learning and assessment theory with practice
  • Offers Teaching Qualification Option for teachers in Macau secondary schools
  • Includes 3 semesters of taught courses and an academic or applied thesis

Programme Intended Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this programme, students should be able to:

  1. Utilize their theoretical understanding of language learning by applying it to their teaching practice and/or scholarly work
  2. Demonstrate the knowledge and skills acquired in the programme by their completion of written course assignments, by their performance in teaching language tutorial classes, and by their development of an Applied Thesis related to their teaching practice, or a more theoretical Academic Thesis on a relevant topic.

Graduation Requirements

  • A coursework plus thesis requirement of 30 or 33 credits:
    • 8 to 10 courses (which is equal to 24-27 credits) taken over 3 semesters;
    • Academic Thesis (6 credits) or Applied Thesis (3 credits) in the 3rd and / or 4th semester
  • In order to graduate, the student must complete all coursework with an overall result of Grade B- (73% minimum), and submit and successfully defend the required Master’s thesis.

Entry Requirements

  • Meets the University general application requirements
  • Bachelor’s degree in English, Portuguese or Chinese, or a related subject from a recognized university.
  • For language requirements, please refer to Remarks, item 2.

Career Prospects

  • Teaching Chinese, Portuguese or English as a Second Language
    • In regional secondary schools, colleges and universities
    • Overseas schools, colleges or universities
  • Advanced career prospects for Macau teachers in schools, educational institutions and government
  • Further studies in Ph.D. programmes to conduct research in applied linguistics
  • Working in the areas of linguistics, language assessment and research methods
  • Other related areas include writing and publishing educational materials, delivering online education and educational administration.


  1. Medium of Instructions:
    • The core compulsory courses will be taught in English or bilingually (English/Chinese or English/ Portuguese).
    • The electives offered by the Department of English will be taught in English while electives offered by the Department of Portuguese will be taught in Portuguese, and electives offered by the Department of Chinese will be taught in Chinese
    • The Applied/Academic Thesis may be written in English, Chinese or Portuguese, as appropriate to the track chosen by the student. Students of PSL and CSL may elect to write the Applied/Academic Thesis in English with the permission of the MA Coordinator and the agreement of their Supervisor.
  2. Language requirements for admission:
    • For students who apply for English track, at least an IELTS score of 6.5, or TOEFL iBT score of 92, or TEM4/8 score of 70, or CET6 score of 610, or GEPT level of high-intermediate; For students who apply for Portuguese or Chinese track, at least an IELTS score of 6.0, or TOEFL iBT score of 80, or CET6 score of 530, or TEM4/8 score of 60, or GEPT level of high-intermediate;
    • For non-native Chinese who apply for Chinese track: at least HSK Level VI Certificate (National Chinese exam, higher level) or equivalent;
    • For non-native Portuguese who apply for Portuguese track: at least DIPLE Level B2 (Diploma Intermédio de Português Língua Estrangeira, Portugal) or CELPE-BRAS (Nível Intermediário, Brazil).
  3. Class timetable of SLA (English/ Chinese / Portuguese track) for 1st semester of 2020/2021
  4. General Rules and Regulations
  5. Enquiries
  6. Definitions of Academic Thesis and Applied Thesis (for Portuguese track only)