Postgraduate study

Linguistics and English Language PhD

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

The transformative supervision meetings, labs, professional training and departmental research seminars are all conducive to a thriving linguistics training. I am exposed to cutting-edge training and research. This inspiring environment allows me to conduct world-leading research in bilingualism.

Katerina Pantoula Current PhD student in Linguistics & English Language

Research profile

We have an outstanding international reputation in many areas of Linguistics and English Language research.

We can offer expert supervision across a wide range of topics, including:

  • Applied Linguistics
  • Developmental linguistics, including first and second language acquisition
  • Discourse and conversation 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
  • Multilingualism
  • Phonetics and phonology, including diachronic phonology and the phonology of varieties of English, Scots and their history
  • Pragmatics
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Speech technology
  • Syntax and semantics, including theoretical syntax, descriptive syntax of English, diachronic syntax and both lexical and formal semantics
  • Varieties of English, both British and international

Research groups

Our expertise clusters in a number of research groups and research centres:

  • Developmental Linguistics
  • English Language
  • Language Evolution & Computation (LEC)
  • Language in Context
  • Language Variation and Change (LVC)
  • Meaning and Grammar
  • Phonetics and Phonology
  • Centre for Language Evolution
  • Bilingualism Matters
  • Research in speech technology is carried out at the Centre for Speech Technology Research, a collaboration between the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences and Informatics:

  • Centre for Speech Technology Research

You will receive 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 relevant literature (e.g. journal articles and book chapters)
  • Firming up of research proposal
  • Preparation for fieldwork and data collection
  • discussion of draft chapters of your thesis
  • preparation for conference presentations

Research students are assigned to research groups, each of which hosts regular research activities.

The department also has a visiting speaker series (the Linguistic Circle), and you 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:

These entry requirements are for the 2022/23 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2023/24 academic year will be published on 3 October 2022.

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 Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • 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 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.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhD3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhD6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

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
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • PPLS Postgraduate Office
  • Dugald Stewart Building
  • 3 Charles Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AD

We 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. The admissions panel will meet to consider all applications received together after that date.

Applications are held for processing over two deadlines:

Round Application deadline Places awarded
1 22 November End of January
2 14 March End of May

First deadline: Monday 22 November

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: Monday 14 March

The outcome of these applications will be confirmed by the end of 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
  • Dugald Stewart Building
  • 3 Charles Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AD