An aerial view of Singleton Campus and the bay opposite

Professor Tess Fitzpatrick

Professor, Applied Linguistics
Available For Postgraduate Supervision


Tess Fitzpatrick is Professor of Applied Linguistics at Swansea University, where she has been  Head of the Department of Applied Linguistics and Director of the Language Research Centre. She returned to Swansea in 2017 after five years at Cardiff University’s Centre for Language and Communication Research. Tess’ work on second language vocabulary acquisition and testing is informed by her early career as an ESOL teacher and teacher trainer. Her research focuses on vocabulary processing, and she supervises PhD projects in the Lexical Studies research group. Through the development of a new methodology for lexical investigation, using associative responses, she has extended her lexical research to contexts of ageing, dementia, and word choices in medical care. Tess has lived in Wales for over thirty years, and her experience of living in this bilingual part of the UK feeds into her work; she co-founded the Applied Linguistics and Welsh research group, which hosts projects related to Applied Linguistics, the Welsh Language and our bilingual community in Wales. 

Tess was Chair of the British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL) between 2015 and 2018. She is on the Editorial Boards of Applied Linguistics (OUP), Language Teaching (CUP), System: International Journal of Educational Technology and Language Acquisition (Elsevier), and Journal of the European Second Language Association - JESLA (White Rose University Press), and is a member of the IRIS Advisory Group (Instruments for Research into Second Languages - IRIS).

In 2017, Tess was awarded Fellowship of the Academy of Social Sciences for her work in lexical studies and in wider understanding of cognitive processes in language learning and education. In 2021 she was admitted as a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, and in 2023 was Ian Gordon Fellow at Victoria University Wellington, New Zealand.

Areas Of Expertise

  • Applied Linguistics
  • Vocabulary acquisition and processing
  • Second language acquisition
  • Language learning and assessment
  • Applying lexical research methods to novel contexts