Applied Linguistics (with English Language Teaching) PhD


Fact file

PhD Applied Linguistics (with English Language Teaching)
4 year full-time, 8 year part-time
Entry requirements

Undergraduate honours degree at 2:1 level or above, and a good Masters degree (usually Merit or higher) in the relevant area.

Applicants without a Masters degree who can demonstrate equivalent expertise are invited to contact the School for further advice.

7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element) If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date

Our standard start date is 1 October.

We also offer start dates of 1 November, 1 January, 1 February, 1 April and 1 May. 

University Park
Other requirements

Research overview

The School of English has long-established excellence in Applied Linguistics, and is home to a number of leading experts in the field.  

Research areas include:

  • Stylistics and literary linguistics
  • Literature and language teaching
  • Cognitive approaches to literary text study
  • Cross-cultural pragmatics
  • International Englishes; language, culture and teacher development
  • Language and identity; sociolinguistics
  • Vocabulary description, acquisition and pedagogy
  • Lexicology
  • Spoken discourse study
  • Corpus linguistics
  • Grammar in spoken and written text (the School is home to the five-million word CANCODE corpus of spoken English)
  • Thinking skills in English teaching
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Motivation, affect
  • Language learning
  • Bilingualism, language and gender 

See the full list of supervision areas in the School of English

We offer PhDs in Applied Linguistics, with or without English Language Teaching.

Key Facts


Full time: 4 years (3 years registered study plus one year thesis pending)

Part time: 8 years (6 years registered study plus two years thesis pending)

Completion earlier than this is possible, with the approval of your supervisors and provided that the minimum study period has been completed.

Academic Entry Requirements

Undergraduate honours degree at 2:1 level or above, and a good Masters degree (usually Merit or higher) in the relevant area.

Applicants without a Masters degree who can demonstrate equivalent expertise are invited to contact the School for further advice.

IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)
Start Date

Our standard start date is 1 October.

We also offer start dates of 1 November, 1 January, 1 February, 1 April, and 1 May.                



Programme Details


A PhD in the School of English will comprise mainly independent study, with supervision meetings spread throughout the year.   There are no taught credits attached to a PhD, although it is compulsory for full-time students to attend the Arts Faculty Researcher Skills training programme. Some PhD students also choose to audit Masters modules taught by their supervisors where appropriate, however this is not compulsory, and would not involve any formal assessment.

Annual Review

All PhD students take part in Annual Review assessments to ensure they are progressing satisfactorily. This usually consists of the submission of a written report. For full-time students, the first year is probationary (first two years for part-time students), and the first year annual review involves a viva with an independent internal assessor.

Part Time / Distance Learning

The School of English does not have a formal distance learning provision for PhD study. If you are applying to undertake Research in the School without being based on campus, we would ask that you let us know at the earliest opportunity, so that we can discuss whether you will be able to meet the School and University's requirements for Research Students.

It is also recommended that you consider the following requirements:

Registration and Induction: If you are not based in Nottingham, you would usually be registered as a part-time student.

The University and School of English run a week of induction programmes before the start of term each year (usually the last week of September), which provides new students with the opportunity to meet key members of staff in the School. There are also events which help you to get started with IT access and accessing library materials. You would be expected to attend these programmes.

Supervision Meetings

Supervision meetings should be a simultaneous meeting between you and your supervisor(s), which may include face-to-face meetings, but can also include Skype, video-conference sessions, or the use of other packages which enable contemporaneous dialogue between the parties involved. However we would expect your first supervision meeting and one supervision a year to be face-to-face.


All research students in the School of English must attend the compulsory core part of the Arts Faculty Researcher Skills Programme (see Course Research Support, below).  Most sessions are delivered on campus and in term time, however the University has a substantial amount of material available electronically and online. You may also wish to refer to our student handbook to get an idea of what studying away from campus might be like.

PGR Symposium

The PGR Symposium takes place annually in May.  Attendance is not compulsory for part time students but we would expect you to attend one Symposium over the period of your registration.


Wherever possible we expect your viva to take place face to face.


Dedicated office space in the school

Research students have their own dedicated shared office space with access to networked PCs and printers. This space enables students to work alongside other research students in the School and take part in postgraduate life.

Social and meeting space

A Graduate Centre for postgraduate students in the Arts and Social Sciences is available on the first floor of Highfield House on Park Campus. Accessible 24/7, the Centre provides computer stations, a social area with informal seating and areas where students can work individually or in groups. Students can also access a small seminar room and kitchen facilities.

Library facilities

The University libraries have extensive library holdings for students in the School of English, including online access to key journals, texts and resources. 

Eye Tracking Equipment

One of the key facilities of CRAL is our eye tracker. The eye tracker is an integral part of the research of CRAL and many of our students use this equipment in their research.


Research support

Our students join a lively, diverse and international body of researchers, one in which an exceptionally wide range of specialist interests is combined with a close-knit sense of community. 

Regular Supervision

Each postgraduate research student in the School will have a team of at least two supervisors. Full-time students will meet with their supervisory team at least 10 times each year (6 times for part-time students). 

Your supervisors will help you to realise your research project and to guide you through your research to completion. Many students will also attend conferences and publish papers in conjunction with their supervisors, to gain valuable experience and contacts in the academic community.

Researcher Training

Alongside regular supervision, all students in the School are required to attend the Arts Researcher Skills Programme, provided by the University's Graduate School. This Programme is delivered at key stages throughout your research; in addition to the core programme a range of optional courses will support you to become effective, well-organised researchers, deliver your proposed project on time, and become highly employable in the Sector.

In addition to the Arts Researcher Skills Programme, a wealth of other optional training courses are available in a variety of formats to enable you to achieve your potential whether you are on-site or further away.

Postgraduate Seminars and Conference Attendance

A fortnightly seminar series is run by and for the Postgraduate students in the School during term time. The seminars provide a forum for students to share work in progress with staff and peers, to hear from invited speakers, and to explore key academic and career topics in a supportive and sociable atmosphere.

University Support

A number of University support services exist to assist you during your time at Nottingham and beyond. 

Find a supervisor

You may find it helpful to get in touch with a member of academic staff about your research proposal before submitting an application. They may be able to help you with your proposal and offer support to find funding opportunities in your area. 

Details of research supervisors can be found on the school website.



The Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership is a collaboration between the universities of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent, Leicester, De Montfort, Birmingham and Birmingham City. It supports the personal and professional development of the next generation of arts and humanities doctoral researchers. Studentships are available to UK/EU students: the AHRC focuses on the support where research questions bear on the structure, history, theory, description and application of language and languages, including pragmatics and corpus studies.

From 2017, the University of Nottingham will be part of the ESRC funded Midlands Graduate School Doctoral Training Partnership in collaboration with the University of Warwick, University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, Aston University and the University of Leicester. The ESRC focuses on support for areas of applied linguistics, computational linguistics, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, and interdisciplinary social science research involving linguistics.  

Applications for funding for 2016 are now closed.

International and EU students

The University of Nottingham offers a range of research scholarships for outstanding international and EU students.

Applicants must receive an offer of study before applying for our scholarships. Please note the closing dates of any scholarships you are interested in and make sure you submit your research course application in good time so that you have the opportunity to apply for them.

The International Office also provides information and advice for international and EU students on financing your degree, living costs, external sources of funding and working during your studies.

Find out more on our scholarships, fees and finance webpages for international applicants.



Visit the School page for additional opportunities.

Teaching Opportunities

The School of English offers opportunities for some of our Research Students to  teach at undergraduate level. Research students normally apply to be a part-time teacher from their second year of PhD registration onwards.

Average starting salary

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers.*

Consequently – and owing to our reputation for excellence – more than 84% of postgraduates from the School of English enter employment or further study during the first six months after graduation. The average starting salary for postgraduates from the Faculty of Arts was £20,250 with the highest being £33,000.**

* The Graduate Market 2013-2016, High Fliers Research.
**Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2014/15. Salaries are calculated based on those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career Prospects and Employability

The School plays an important part in the career progression of its postgraduates, who benefit from a research and mentoring culture which includes:

  • Opportunities for postgraduates to gain teaching experience
  • Postgraduate-led fortnightly research seminar and annual research symposium
  • Provision of infrastructural support for postgraduate-organised international conferences
  • Research networks created by the Research Centres, Institute, and individual research projects
  • Research Council-funded international research exchange visits with leading universities
  • Co-authorship with members of staff
  • Dedicated staff-postgraduate reading groups such as the Stylistics and Discourse Analysis Reading Group and the Vocabulary Research Group
  • CRAL research seminars and the Literary Linguistics Research Series
  • Postgraduate participation in international conferences/seminars
Our Postgraduates are extremely successful in securing academic posts and postdoctoral positions, and a significant number of students who completed their PhDs in the last five years are now in full-time academic posts.

Those who take up a postgraduate research opportunity with us will also benefit from dedicated careers advice from our Careers and Employability Service

Jo Pullen
School of English
university of Nottingham
University Park
NG7 2RD 

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