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Linguistics & English Language PhD

Open Day: 21 November 2014

Our Postgraduate Open Day is an opportunity to learn more about the University and our programmes, and to meet our staff and current students.

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PhD Linguistics and English Language - 3 Years (Full-time)
PhD Linguistics and English Language - 6 Years (Part-time)

Fees & costs information

Where available, individual programme fees are linked above. For details information on fee status, policies and payment see:

Funding opportunities

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Contact information
Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5002
Address: PPLS Postgraduate Office
Dugald Stewart Building
Central Campus

Linguistics and English Language at Edinburgh is the pre-eminent department for the study of both Linguistics and English Language in the UK, having ranked top in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.

Entry requirements

To study at postgraduate level you should have a first degree in an appropriate subject or relevant qualifications and experience.

Confirm with the School to find out whether there are specific entry requirements for this programme.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English.

IELTS minimum score
  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)
Other accepted tests and scores
  • TOEFL-iBT: 100 (at least 23 in all sections)
  • PTE(A): total 67 (at least 61 in each of the "Communicative Skills") sections
  • CPE: Grade B; CAE: Grade A

Find out more about our language requirements:

How to apply

In addition to the supporting documents requested on the application form, you should include a research proposal. Your prospective supervisors, in conjunction with the relevant subject Postgraduate Adviser, will consider your research proposal to assess whether they are able to take you on as a student.

If you have been in touch with prospective supervisors, please list them in the Project Arrangements section of your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Research profile

In 2009 our standing was confirmed when we were awarded three fully-funded PhD places for Linguistics and English Language by the Arts and Humanities Research Council under their Block Grant Partnership Scheme.

Linguistics and English Language at Edinburgh has an outstanding international reputation in many areas of research.

We can offer expert supervision across a wide range of topics. Potential applicants should look through the department's webpages to see the range of research that is conducted in LEL and that we can supervise. A sample of the areas covered is listed below:

  • Developmental linguistics, including first and second language acquisition
  • Discourse Analysis
  • Historical English Linguistics, including the syntax, morphology, and phonology from the earliest periods to the present day
  • Language evolution. The study of the evolution of language was pioneered at Edinburgh
  • Morphology, including word formation, in particular of English and the Germanic languages
  • Phonetics and phonology, including diachronic phonology and the phonology of varieties of English and their history
  • Scots
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Speech technology
  • Syntax and semantics, including theoretical syntax, descriptive syntax of English, diachronic syntax and both lexical and formal semantics
  • Varieties of English, including British varieties and international varieties of English

Furthermore, there are a number of experts in a range of different theoretical approaches to the study of language.

Linguistics and English Language are studied and taught in the Linguistics and English Language department, which is part of the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences.

The department has expertise in all areas of Linguistics and English Language work, represented in a number of research groups:

  • Centre for Speech Technology Research (CSTR)
  • Developmental Linguistics Research Group
  • English Language Research Group
  • Language Evolution & Computation Research Unit (LEC)
  • Language in Context Research Group
  • Language Variation and Change Research Group (LVC)
  • Meaning & Grammar Research Group
  • Phonetics & Phonology Research Group

Training and support

Students are assigned two supervisors who provide expert academic guidance on the chosen research topic.

Supervisors and students meet regularly to discuss progress and research plans, as well as drafts of thesis/dissertation chapters, conference papers and potential articles.

Specific and generic issues research training is available for all research students.

There are several research groups that hold regular meetings and seminars. All staff members and all research students belong to at least one research group.

In addition, national and international conferences on linguistics-related topics are regularly held in Edinburgh.

There is also a weekly visiting speaker series, a regular 'Language at Edinburgh' lunch, where posters are presented and an annual postgraduate conference.


The unrivalled holdings of the University and National Libraries and the National Archives of Scotland make study of this subject at Edinburgh especially attractive.

Our students become part of one of the biggest communities of linguists in the United Kingdom.

We have state-of-the art technical and laboratory facilities:

Further Information

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