English Language and Communication

MPhil, PhD Applied Linguistics

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An MPhil and PhD in Applied Linguistics are offered in the School of Language Studies and Applied Linguistics. These degrees are co-ordinated by Professor Adrian Holliday, who is also Head of The Graduate School, which provides cross-institutional support and facilities for research students within an interdisciplinary community.


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 a Hong Kong secondary school
  • 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 towards 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 school
  • 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.

  • 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 School.

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 School provides central pastoral and academic support.

Full-time students must attend a programme in researcher development during the first 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.


2019/20 tuition fees for this course

Full-time  £4,327 £12,160
Part-time  £2,597  N/A

Tuition fees for all courses which last more than one academic year are payable on an annual basis, except where stated.

There will be an annual inflationary increase in tuition fees for this course. The fees for this course are set in line with the Research Councils UK Indicative fee level for Doctoral courses, which usually increases year on year in line with the GDP deflator (in recent years this has resulted in year on year tuition fee increases of approximately 1.5-2.0%). The tuition fees for the following academic year are usually confirmed in the preceding February.

Students may self-fund their course or a sponsor may fund or part-fund. Bursaries, scholarships and fee discounts may also be available.

Further information

Additional course costs

Although we aim to minimise any additional costs to students over and above the course tuition fee, there will be some additional costs which students are expected to meet.

Costs applicable to all students

Text books Own purchase text books
Travel to other sites Where travel to other sites is required, this will be payable by the student
Library Fees and Fines Where students fail to return loaned items within the required time they will be responsible for the cost of any library fees and fines applicable
Printing & Photocopying The cost of printing and photocopying undertaken by students to support their individual learning are payable by the student
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire / photography are additional costs payable by the student

General principle policy

The University’s general principles policy for additional course fees are set out here

CategoryIncluded in the tuition feeAdditional cost to student
Field trips (including trips abroad and trips to museums, theatres, workshops etc) No, if the trip contributes to the course as an optional module. Yes if the trip is optional.
Travel and accommodation costs for placements  No

Travel and accommodation costs for professional placements within the Education and Health & Wellbeing Faculties.

Travel and accommodation costs for other work placements. 
Text books No Own purchase text books.
DBS / Health checks No Yes
Professional Body registration No Yes
Travel to other sites (e.g. travel to swimming pool for lessons) No Yes
Clothing / Kit Yes, where the clothing / kit is essential for Health & Safety reasons. Yes, where the clothing is kept by the student and not essential for health and safety reasons.
Learning materials Essential learning materials (excluding text books) in connection with the course. Additional materials beyond the standard provision essential for the course or where the costs are determined by the student’s area of interest and the outputs are retained by the student.
Library fees and fines No Yes
Printing and photocopying No Yes
Social events No, unless the event forms an essential part of the course. Yes, unless the event forms an essential part of the course.
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire/ photography are additional costs payable by the student.

Fact file

UCAS institution code

  • C10


  • 2 - 3 years Full-time
    3 - 5 years Part-time

Entry requirements

  • BA/BSc degree in a relevant subject at 2:2 or above


  • Not specified


Last edited 13/03/2019 16:14:00

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Last edited: 13/03/2019 16:14:00