Postgraduate study

Linguistics and English Language

Awards: PhD

Funding available

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.

We have an outstanding international reputation in many areas of Linguistics & English Language research. We can offer expert supervision across a wide range of topics, including:

  • 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
  • linguistic fieldwork
  • morphology, including word formation
  • 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
  • various theoretical approaches to the study of language.

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

  • Developmental Linguistics
  • English Language
  • Language Evolution & Computation (LEC)
  • Language in Context
  • Language Variation and Change (LVC)
  • Meaning & Grammar
  • Phonetics & Phonology

Research in speech technology is carried out at the Centre for Speech Technology Research, a collaboration between PPLS and Informatics:

Each research student receives supervision by at least two members of academic staff, who will meet regularly with you to discuss your progress and wider issues in your field of study. This may include discussion of journal articles or books, and preparation for conference presentations, as well as discussion of your dissertation or draft chapters of your thesis.

Most research students are assigned to a research group, each of which hosts regular research activities.

The department also has a visiting speaker series (the Linguistic Circle), and research students are encouraged to participate in the School’s Language at Edinburgh research network.

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:

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a related subject.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 23 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: total 67 (at least 61 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)

  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module)

  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 22/03/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Find out more about scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • PPLS Postgraduate Office
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5002
  • Email: pplspg@ed.ac.uk
  • PPLS Postgraduate Office
  • Dugald Stewart Building
  • 3 Charles Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AD

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

Round Application deadline Date for decision
1 30 November 2018 18 January 2019
2 15 March 2019 15 May 2019

Linguistic & English Language operate a gathered field approach to PhD applications - this means that all complete applications which satisfy our minimum entry requirements will be held until the nearest deadline and the admissions panel will meet to consider all applications received together after that date.

First deadline: Friday 30th November 2018. In order to ensure full consideration of your application we ask that you submit your complete application including all supporting documentation by this date. The outcome of applications will be confirmed by mid January. This is in order to meet the external funding deadlines.

Final deadline: Friday 15th March 2019. The outcome of these applications will be confirmed by mid May.

You must submit two references with your application.

You might find it helpful to contact academics in your chosen area to discuss your proposed research and the likelihood of supervision.

References

You will be asked to add contact details for your referees. We will email them with information on how to upload their reference directly to your online application. Alternatively, they can email their comments to:

Research Proposal

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:

Further information

  • PPLS Postgraduate Office
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5002
  • Email: pplspg@ed.ac.uk
  • PPLS Postgraduate Office
  • Dugald Stewart Building
  • 3 Charles Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AD