The University of Essex is one of the UK's leading academic institutions, ranked ninth nationally for research excellence following the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).
We offer supervision for our PhD Linguistics in formal and descriptive syntax from a range of theoretical perspectives, especially: English, Arabic, Celtic, Romance and Slavonic languages, theoretical and descriptive phonology, phonological acquisition, second language phonology, the phonology of African languages, morphological theory, lexical semantics, and the philosophy of linguistics.
Examples of PhD projects which our students have undertaken include a comparative study of the phonological processes in Syrian and Jordanian Arabic, the nature of T- to C- movement in English wh-interrogatives, verb alternation and affixes in Malay and Indonesian, and the syntax of conditional sentences in Syrian Arabic.
Many of our former PhD students work in higher education institutions around the world, as teachers and/or as academic researchers. Other career paths our former PhD students have taken include publishing, social work, administration, and retail.
We also offer an MPhil in this subject.
You can apply until:
Always verify the dates on the programme website.
Your research degree gives you the chance to investigate your chosen topic in real depth and reach a profound understanding. In communicating that understanding, through a thesis or other means, you have a rare opportunity to generate knowledge. You develop new high-level skills, enhance your professional development and build new networks. A PhD can open doors to many careers.
Within our Department of Language and Linguistics, you will be allocated a supervisor whose role it is to guide you through the different stages of your research degree. In some cases, you may have joint supervision by two members of our staff.
The support provided by your supervisor is a key feature of your research student experience and you will have regular one-to-one meetings to discuss progress on your research. Initially, your supervisor will help you develop your research topic and plan.
Twice a year, you will have a supervisory board meeting, which provides a more formal opportunity to discuss your progress and agree your plans for the next six months.
How you will study
Within our Department, on our four-year route (the Integrated ‘new route’ PhD), your first year is a preparatory MRes year so you take six training modules and write an assessed MRes dissertation. This programme is ideal if you wish to develop your knowledge of existing research and improve understanding of research methods before embarking on independent research. Your second year is when you embark on your research topic and the writing your PhD thesis, while your third and fourth years are spent writing your PhD thesis.
On our three-year supervised research route, if you already have a solid knowledge of existing research in your field and a good understanding of research method, plus a suitable research proposal, you immediately begin your independent research, under the guidance of your supervisor and supervisory board. In your second year you continue your independent research, under the guidance of your supervisor and supervisory board. In your third year, you continue your independent research, under the guidance of your supervisor and supervisory board.
Finalising your PhD
Within our Department of Language and Linguistics, throughout your research studies, your training needs will be regularly assessed. Every six months your progress is formally checked by a supervisory board consisting of your supervisor, an adviser, and a chairperson. You fill in a form answering questions about your progress, and there may be a face to face meeting to discuss how you are getting on.
Your thesis has a maximum length of 80,000 words. No minimum is stated, and examiners could well be happy with 60,000 words of write up of good quality research.
Seminars and conferences
Our Department of Language and Linguistics has a strong research group culture, so our graduate students are encouraged to take part in our weekly departmental seminar which regularly features eminent outside speakers.
We organise two conferences annually that are specifically for our graduate students to present work and gain valuable conference presentation practice.
You need the following IELTS score:
The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.Take IELTS test
StudyPortals Tip: The UK government has confirmed new English-language testing requirements for visa and immigration purposes. Learn more
For research study within our Department of Language and Linguistics, we normally require a good Masters degree, or equivalent, in a relevant discipline. A well developed research proposal is also essential.
However, if you do not have a Masters degree, we also offer a four-year integrated PhD, where your first year is spent doing a Masters before embarking on your research. This preparatory year ensures you develop your knowledge before embarking on your independent research.
If English is not your first language, then we will require you to have IELTS 7.0 or equivalent.
For up-to-date information on funding opportunities at Essex, please visit: www.essex.ac.uk/studentfinance.
StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.
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