Why choose this programme
The School of Literature and Languages is internationally regarded, and our research takes a strong multi-disciplinary approach, and covers languages and linguistic settings all over the world.
Most of our research in theoretical and applied linguistics focuses on the consequences of linguistic diversity. Our postgraduate research looks at the grammatical structure of languages and the ways in which language-related research can have practical applications, with applied linguistics research considering topics such as:
- Multiculturalism and mobility
- Multilingual practices in business and educational contexts
- Intercultural pragmatics
- Second and foreign language learning and teaching
- Lexicography and corpus linguistics.
We’re also home to the Surrey Morphology Group, a linguistics research centre that focuses on theoretical morphology, morphological interfaces, linguistic typology, and documenting and describing languages.
Our research reflects the evolving nature of the discipline, encompassing a critical understanding of technology-enabled language mediation as well as quality, ethical and social dimensions of a fast-evolving language services industry. Since our formation in 1982, we have been awarded prestigious research funding that has allowed us to contribute to the theoretical advancement of translation and interpreting studies, whilst achieving real-world applicability by studying the responsible integration of human and technology-enhanced approaches, novel modalities of audiovisual translation and innovative.
The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 ranked the School of Literature and Languages 10th for research impact in the UK, with 75% of our case studies rated as having outstanding impacts, in terms of reach and significance (4*). Our submission to REF included contributions from the Guildford School of Acting (GSA).
We’re part of TECHNE, an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)-funded doctoral training partnership, which provides access to comprehensive academic and professional training programmes, as well as the possibility of funding for your studies.
What you will study
It normally takes three to four years of full-time study or six to eight years of part-time study to complete our PhD in Linguistics. You’ll take a confirmation viva at 12-15 months (or 24-30 months part-time) and then be assessed by a thesis and viva examination.
You’ll be assigned two supervisors, who you’ll meet with monthly to discuss your progress. Your supervisors will guide you through your PhD and will give you feedback and advice on your work.
As a doctoral student in the School of Literature and Languages, you’ll receive a structured training programme covering the practical aspects of being a researcher, including grant-writing, publishing in journals, and applying for academic jobs.
Your final assessment will be based on the presentation of your research in a written thesis, which will be discussed in a viva examination with at least two examiners. You have the option of preparing your thesis as a monograph (one large volume in chapter form) or in publication format (including chapters written for publication), subject to the approval of your supervisors.
The professional development of postgraduate researchers is supported by the Doctoral College, which provides training in essential skills through its Researcher Development Programme of workshops, mentoring and coaching. A dedicated postgraduate careers and employability team will help you prepare for a successful career after the completion of your PhD.
- Theoretical morphology (including network morphology and paradigm function morphology)
- Morphological interfaces
- Linguistic typology (including canonical typology)
- Language documentation and description (including Austronesian, Nakh-Daghestanian, Niger-Congo, Nilo-Saharan, Oto-Manguean, Papuan, Slavonic, Tibeto-Burman languages).
- Intercultural communication in commercial and educational settings
- Interlanguage/intercultural pragmatics
- Face management and (im)politeness
- Ethnolinguistic minorities
- Language ideologies and practices in transnational areas
- Corpora and language learning
- Corpus-based lexicography
- TESOL/SLA (topics focusing on classroom interaction, spoken language use and development, teacher training)
- Oracy skills in higher education
- Linguistic issues emerging from internationalisation.
Our academic staff
See a full list of all our academic staff within the School of Literature and Languages.
You’ll be allocated desk space within the School of Literature and Languages, and you’ll also be able to take advantage of our common rooms for socialising and networking with other students and staff.
You will also have access to a wide range of equipment for linguistic field work, including a state-of-the-art digital language lab.
Applicants are expected to hold a minimum of an an upper second-class (2:1) UK degree and an MA in a topic relevant to linguistics or applied linguistics.
In exceptional cases, students with a good first degree will be considered without the need for an MA.
International entry requirements by country
English language requirements
IELTS Academic: 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6.0 in each individual category and at least 7.0 in the writing component.
These are the English language qualifications and levels that we can accept.
If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.
Applicants are advised to contact potential supervisors before they submit an application via the website. Please refer to section two of our application guidance.
Students are initially registered for a PhD with probationary status and, subject to satisfactory progress, subsequently confirmed as having PhD status.
Selection is based on applicants:
- Meeting the expected entry requirements
- Being shortlisted through the application screening process
- Completing a successful interview
- Providing suitable references.
Start date: April 2024
Start date: July 2024
Start date: October 2024
- To be confirmed
- To be confirmed
Start date: January 2025
- To be confirmed
- To be confirmed
- Annual fees will increase by 4% for each year of study, rounded up to the nearest £100 (subject to legal requirements).
- Any start date other than September will attract a pro-rata fee for that year of entry (75 per cent for January, 50 per cent for April and 25 per cent for July).
View the list of fees for all postgraduate research courses.
There are additional costs that you can expect to incur when studying at Surrey.
A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate doctoral course.
If you are applying for a studentship to work on a particular project, please provide details of the project instead of a research proposal.
Read our application guidance for further information on applying.
Code of practice for research degrees
Surrey’s postgraduate research code of practice sets out the University's policy and procedural framework relating to research degrees. The code defines a set of standard procedures and specific responsibilities covering the academic supervision, administration and assessment of research degrees for all faculties within the University.
Download the code of practice for research degrees (PDF).
Terms and conditions
We provide these terms and conditions in two stages:
- First when we make an offer.
- Second when students accept their offer and register to study with us (registration terms and conditions will vary depending on your course and academic year).
View our generic registration terms and conditions (PDF) for the 2023/24 academic year, as a guide on what to expect.
This online prospectus has been published in advance of the academic year to which it applies.
Whilst we have done everything possible to ensure this information is accurate, some changes may happen between publishing and the start of the course.
It is important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read our full disclaimer.