English Language and Applied Linguistics PhD/MA by Research

Start date
Flexible – September or January encouraged
Duration
Full time: PhD – 3 years, MA by Research – 1 year
Course Type
Postgraduate, Doctoral research
Fees

Full-time annual tuition fee 2020/21:
UK/EU: £4,380
International: £17,880
More detail.

Carry out your research with one of the UK’s leading English Language departments, renowned for our expertise in Corpus Research, Cognitive Linguistics and Psycholinguistics, and Discourse Analysis and Stylistics.

We also offer an Applied Linguistics PhD via distance mode, in two formats: traditional and modular.

Doctoral Training Partnership studentships available

The University of Birmingham is part of the Midlands4Cities DTP and the Midlands Graduate School ESRC DTP, both of which are offering postgraduate research studentships to campus-based UK/EU applicants across each DTP's partner institutions. AHRC awards are available across arts, law and humanities disciplines, and ESRC awards are available for a range of social science disciplines including Applied Linguistics, Area Studies (African Studies), Economic and Social History, and Socio-Legal Studies.

Find out more

We offer two options for postgraduate research, whether you are looking to complete your academic studies with a PhD or to pursue an MA by Research following an undergraduate degree a related field. To find out more about what to expect from a PhD and MA by Research, please read our detailed guidance.

At Birmingham, you also have the opportunity to learn graduate academic languages free of charge, to support your research activity.

The staff are extremely friendly and approachable, which makes for a really productive atmosphere, and I really value the range of expertise across the Department. Life as a researcher is great as we have access to a lovely campus, workshops, our own office space, summer schools and seminars.

Helena

Why Study this Course?

  • World-leading research: The Department celebrated excellent results in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) results. 34% of research at the University of Birmingham for English Language and Literature was rated 4*, ‘world-leading’. A further 53% was rated 3*, ‘internationally excellent’.
  • World ranking recognition: The University of Birmingham was ranked 34th in the world for English Language & Literature and Linguistics by the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019. These rankings are compiled annually to help prospective students identify the leading universities worldwide in a particular subject.
  • Research resources:  Our English Language programmes benefit from the 450 million-word Bank of English corpus, an invaluable collection of authentic language data. All students and researchers working within English Language also have free access a variety of language corpora, and, where necessary, training in how to use them. Additionally, the Main Library houses an extensive collection of books on English language and linguistics, including English language teaching, and subscribes to 250 periodicals in the fields of English language and literature.

The postgraduate experience

The College of Arts and Law offers excellent support to its postgraduates, from libraries and research spaces, to careers support and funding opportunities. Learn more about your postgraduate experience.

Fees

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2019/20 are as follows: 

  • UK/EU: £4,320 full-time; £2,160 part-time*
  • International: £17,040 full-time 

The above fees quoted are for one year only; for those studying over two or more years, tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.

* For UK/EU postgraduate research students the University fee level is set at Research Council rates and as such is subject to change. The final fee will be announced by Research Councils UK in spring 2019.

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate funding database.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

How To Apply

Application deadlines

Postgraduate research can start at any time during the year, but it is important to allow time for us to review your application and communicate a decision. If you wish to start in September, we would recommend that you aim to submit your application and supporting documents by 1 July 2019.

Before you make your application

Please refer to our six step process on applying for PhD, MA by Research and MRes opportunities for Arts subject areas, which includes detailed advice on research proposals and how to write them.

You may also wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Making your application

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Our Standard Requirements

Our requirements for postgraduate research are dependent on the type of programme you are applying for:

  • For MRes and MA by Research programmes, entry to our programmes usually requires a good (normally a 2:1 or above) Honours degree, or an equivalent qualification if you were educated outside the UK, usually in a relevant area.
  • Applicants for a PhD will also need to hold a Masters qualification at Merit level or above (or its international equivalent), usually in a relevant area.

Any academic and professional qualifications or relevant professional experience you may have are normally taken into account, and in some cases, form an integral part of the entrance requirements.

If you are applying for distance learning research programmes, you will also be required to demonstrate that you have the time, commitment, facilities and experience to study by distance learning.

If your qualifications are non-standard or different from the entry requirements stated here, please contact the admissions tutor.

International students

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries - use our handy guide below to see what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements: standard language requirements apply for this course - IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band. If you are made an offer of a place to study and you do not meet the language requirement, you have the option to enrol on our English for Academic Purposes Presessional Course - if you successfully complete the course, you will be able to fulfil the language requirement without retaking a language qualification.

IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band is equivalent to:

  • TOEFL: 88 overall with no less than 21 in Reading, 21 Listening, 22 Speaking and 21 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE): Academic 59 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced - minimum overall score of 176, with no less than 169 in any component

Learn more about international entry requirements

International Requirements


We specialise and welcome applications from prospective research students interested in corpus linguistics, cognitive linguistics and psycholinguistics, and stylistics and discourse analysis.

A summary of our key research areas, and staff working within those, can be found below. General queries which are not subject-specific (including fees, scholarship enquiries and paperwork) are best directed to the College of Arts and Law Graduate School.

Related research

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for your future career, but this can also be enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University and the College of Arts and Law.

The University's Careers Network provides expert guidance and activities especially for postgraduates, which will help you achieve your career goals. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated  careers and employability team who offer tailored advice and a programme of College-specific careers events.

You will be encouraged to make the most of your postgraduate experience and will have the opportunity to:

  • Receive one-to-one careers advice, including guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique, whether you are looking for a career inside or outside of academia
  • Meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs and employer presentations
  • Attend an annual programme of careers fairs, skills workshops and conferences, including bespoke events for postgraduates in the College of Arts and Law
  • Take part in a range of activities to demonstrate your knowledge and skills to potential employers and enhance your CV

What’s more, you will be able to access our full range of careers support for up to 2 years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: English Language and Linguistics

Birmingham's English Language and Linguistics postgraduates develop a broad range of transferable skills that are highly valued by employers, particularly in relation to verbal and written communication. They also develop crucial skills in organisation, time management, analysis and interpretation of information.

Many of our graduates enter roles for which their programme has prepared them, such as becoming a language analyst or data scientist. Others use their transferable skills in a wide range of occupations including teaching, research administration and events. Over the past 5 years, 83% of English Language and postgraduates were in work and/or further study within 6 months of graduating (DLHE 2012 - 2017).