Mphil and PhD in Applied Linguistics

An MPhil and PhD in Applied Linguistics are offered by the Centre for Language and Linguistics. 

We have:

  • a major emphasis on critical qualitative research into social and cultural issues in language education and intercultural communication, and also interest in grammar, discourse and pragmatics
  • a small friendly community of about ten full-time and twelve part-time students
  • a strong pastoral ethos, where full-time students can see their supervisors regularly and part-time students can have regular email contact
  • Cultural identity and cultural values in the UK-published ELT coursebook. Cultural transfer in translation: a psycholinguistically-orientated, empirical investigation into the translation of culture-bound lexis.
  • Discursive Struggle: linguistic imperialism and resistance on Chinese university campuses.
  • Filial piety: a barrier or a resource? A qualitative case study of English classroom culture in Hong Kong a secondary Centre.
  • Gender awareness, confidence and achievement in English language learning in China.
  • 'Loud and clear': students' voices of disaffection on university practices in Mexico.
  • Perceptions and attitudes held by Chinese language teachers toward western influence on English language teaching in China.
  • Perspectives on change among English language teaching professionals. Producing and reproducing a professional culture of English language teacher training.
  • Revolution or evolution in educational change in the English language teaching and learning context of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Teacher attitudes to the use of the 1st language in a Ugandan secondary Centre.
  • The mobilisation of culture in professional discourse within the international ELT profession.
  • The role of group interactions in 2nd language learning. The socio-cultural construction of learner independence in a tertiary EFL institution in Turkey.
  • Tracing the changes of attitude and belief among student teachers in Mexico.
  • Culture and the classroom: the effects of globalisation and socio-political changes on the development of cultural identity and on learning English in Kuwait
  • The “native speaker” English language teacher in a globalising world
  • Language use within bilingual families: stories from Istanbul.
  • The leisure reading habits of first-year, female Emirati university students: an investigation.

The minimal qualification for MPhil and PhD applicants is:

  • A good bachelor's degree in a relevant subject
  • An excellent research proposal
  • All candidates must have successfully completed an English-medium course of study with a substantial research element.

A British masters degree is often preferred as evidence of experience in research within the British system. The majority of students in TESOL also have professional experience.

  • an application form and two academic referees who can comment on their research potential.
  • a 1500-word research proposal
  • interview of applicants who have the required academic qualifications and a promising research idea

During the interview candidates should be able to demonstrate: a basic understanding of research methodology (e.g. the difference between and the limitations of qualitative and quantitative methods); that the research topic has sufficient breadth and depth to sustain three to four years of investigation and a thesis of 80-100,000 words; how and where data can be realistically collected; sufficient drive and determination to sustain extended self-directed study.

Where the applicant is overseas interviews may be by telephone.


Apply Direct / Part-time study

Location Length Start  
MPhil/PhD Applied Linguistics apply
Canterbury 42 months full-time September 2020
MPhil/PhD Applied Linguistics apply
Canterbury 42 months full-time January 2021
MPhil/PhD Applied Linguistics apply
Canterbury 42 months full-time February 2021


  • MPhil students enrol for a period of two years and PhD students for three years.
  • Up to one year can be spent away from the University to collect empirical data.
  • Within the first six months, students must submit a 6,000-word piece of written work.
  • Within the first 18 months, students must submit work for upgrade to PhD.

MPhil students enrol for three years and PhD students for five years.

Unlike many British universities, Canterbury Christ Church University allows part-time students to spend all this time away as long as the following conditions are fulfilled:

  • The location of residence must be the place where data is being collected.
  • Candidates must be able to visit the University at least once per year for their annual review and at other times as agreed, and not during the summer vacation.

There must be:

  • access to an adequate library
  • local academic support in the form of a "mentor"
  • sufficient access to a suitable academic research community
  • sufficient email contact
  • sufficient internet provision to access the University’s electronic library and learning resources

Where there is a group of students from one location, with an appropriate increase in fees, arrangements can be made to provide supervision at that location.

Within the first year, students must submit a 6,000-word piece of written work.

Within the first two years, students must submit work for upgrade to PhD.

Each student has a 1st and 2nd supervisor.

The 1st supervisor sees the student (or makes email contact) on a regular basis. The frequency of contact is by mutual arrangement. Students are expected to be pro-active in arranging contact with supervisors and suggesting their research approach and programme; and the supervisors play a responsive role unless there is need for intervention.

Once per year the students’ work is evaluated at a review meeting which is chaired by a senior researcher (Professor or Reader) in a related academic area. The purpose of the review is to evaluate the student's work and ensure appropriate academic standards.

All students have 24-hour access to the Research Student Study Room in the Graduate College.

Adrian Holliday convenes an open-agenda meeting for all Applied Linguistics research students every Thursday at 1.00. Students may also attend this by Skype.

There is a rich programme of research seminars across the University, where cross-disciplinary discussion is encouraged.

The annual Cutting Edges conference provides an international forum in which students can engage in discussion with world-class academics in their field.

The Post Graduate Research Association organises an annual Research Student Conference and other academic and social events.

The Graduate College provides central pastoral and academic support.

Full-time students must attend a programme in researcher development during the 1st year. This is an institution-wide, inter-disciplinary programme which covers the full-spectrums of research approaches. It thus allows the student to establish a broad perspective within which to place her or his work, and also to become part of a larger community of research students.

Our PhD students range from novice to accomplished professionals or academics from across the world. Many of them are part-time students and manage to do their research while conducting busy professional schedules. Their places of work are the bases for the data collection.

Many of our PhD graduates hold posts in universities in the UK, Hong Kong, Uganda, Iran, the UAE, Kuwait, Mexico, China, and the US. In a significant number of cases they have acquired university positions or promotions to senior university posts as a result of gaining their PhD.


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Last edited: 15/03/2021 11:49:00