LinguisticsSchool of Arts, English and Languages | PhD
The study of language is fundamental to the research environment across the School of Arts, English and
Languages, where various linguistic approaches are taken to varieties of English, French, Irish, and more.
You’ll be part of a dynamic doctoral research environment and will study alongside students from diverse backgrounds. We supervise students undertaking research in key sub-disciplines of linguistics, including: sociolinguistics; language variation and change; language policy (education, community languages, minoritized languages); place-names; language used in new media, narrative, literature, rhetoric, discourse analysis and translation; and advancing knowledge of languages across the levels of phonetics and phonology, lexicology, morphology-syntax and pragmatics.
As part of a lively community of over 200 full-time and part-time research students you’ll have the opportunity to develop your research potential in a vibrant research community that prioritises the cross-fertilisation of ideas and innovation in the advancement of knowledge.
Internationally Renowned Experts
- Students can not only choose from a wide variety of fields within Linguistics but can also specialist in a particular language or languages (e.g. English, French, Irish, Chinese).
Research students are encouraged to play a full and active role in relation to the wide range of research activities undertaken within the School and there are many resources available including:
- Opportunities to attend postgraduate School training sessions, designed to help you maximise your research training and experience, and to organise or participate in Common Grounds, the annual postgraduate conference.
- Access to the Queen's University Postgraduate Researcher Development Programme, including professional training and certification in Project Management.
- Opportunities to participate in activities led by the School’s Centre for Research in Linguistics.
Our Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences is ranked within the world’s top 200 (by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022).
Our English department is rated by QS 2022 as being in the world’s top 200. Modern Languages and Linguistics are ranked 12th in the UK in the Guardian Good University Guide 2022.
Employment after the Course
For further information on career development opportunities at PhD level please contact the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Career Development Team on firstname.lastname@example.org / +44 28 90975175. Development Officers Cathy Wilson and Aileen Carson will be happy to provide further information on your research area career prospects.
Many of our PhD graduates have moved into academic and research roles in Higher Education while others go on to work as professional linguists or to play leading roles in educational practice, the public sector or within NGOs. Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives such as Researcher Plus and the opportunity to certify in Project Management bolster our commitment to employability.
People teaching you
Dr Daniel McAuley
Dr Jane Lugea
Dr Marc Richards
Dr Marcas MacCoinnigh
Dr Merryn Davies-Deacon
Dr Piotr Blumczynski
Dr Simon Statham
Prof Gregory Toner
Prof Janice Carruthers
Professor, Dean of Research
Prof Joan Rahilly
Prof Mícheál Ó'Mainnín
Learning OutcomesA research degree offers students an opportunity to foster their capacity for independent research and critical thought. It also allows students to explore an area of interest and so understand and solve theoretical and practical problems within the field. Undertaking a research degree can enhance a student’s written and oral communication skills and a PhD is almost always a formal requirement for an academic post.
There is no specific course content. You are expected to carry out your research under the guidance of your supervisor. Over the course of study you can attend postgraduate skills training organised by the Graduate School, and you will undertake further training and development opportunities as deemed appropriate by your supervisory team.
You will normally register, in the first instance, as an ‘undifferentiated PhD student’ which means that you have satisfied staff that you are capable of undertaking a research degree. The decision as to whether you should undertake an MPhil or a PhD is delayed until you have completed ‘differentiation’.
Differentiation takes place about 9-12 months after registration for full time students and about 18-30 months for part time students: you are normally asked to submit work to a panel of up two academics and this is followed up with a formal meeting with the ‘Differentiation Panel’. The Panel then make a judgement about your capacity to continue with your study. Sometimes students are advised to revise their research objectives or to consider submitting their work for an MPhil qualification rather than a Doctoral qualification.
To complete with a doctoral qualification you will be required to submit a thesis of approx. 80,000 words and you will be required to attend a viva voce [oral examination] with an external and internal examiner to defend your thesis.
The PhD programme normally runs for three to four years full-time, and part-time students may complete within a normal period of up to eight years. Students can apply for a writing up year should it be required. The PhD is open to both full and part-time candidates and is often a useful preparation for a career within academia. Full-time students are often attracted to research degree programmes because they offer an opportunity to pursue in some depth an area of academic interest. The part time research degree is an exciting option for those who are seeking to extend their knowledge on an issue of professional interest. Often, part-time candidates choose to research an area that is related to their professional responsibilities.
If you meet the Entry Requirements, the next step is to check whether we can supervise research in your chosen area. We only take students to whom we can offer expert research supervision from amongst our academic staff. Therefore, your core research question needs to engage with the research interests of one of our staff. (Note that students who see themselves as primarily based in the disciplinary field of a particular Language (e.g. French, Irish) can alternatively apply for a PhD in the language area and opt to specialise in Linguistics).
Please review the eligibility criteria on the webpages. If you believe that you meet these criteria then follow the steps below:
Select ONE potential supervisor from our list of Academic Staff above and send an email containing:
- a brief CV (1-2 pages maximum)
- a concise statement that you are interested in studying for a PhD, stating when you would
wish to start, and how you would plan to fund the research
- a brief statement of the core research question or interest, and how you think the question could be investigated
- an indicative bibliography
- a statement of how you believe the proposed work related to the research expertise of the potential supervisor you have selected.
Our academic staff welcome approaches from prospective students; staff can liaise with applicants to develop a research proposal of mutual interest. The potential supervisor should get back to you within a couple of weeks. They may invite you to meet with them or they may invite you to apply formally.
The closing date for applications is 31st August each year, for part-time and self-funded fulltime study. For full-time candidates who wish to compete for a studentship, the deadlines are much earlier in the year. Available scholarships and closing dates are detailed on the Graduate School's web page: http://www.qub.ac.uk/graduate-school/funding-scholarships/Subject
Assessment processes for the Research Degree differ from taught degrees. Students will be expected to present drafts of their work at regular intervals to their supervisor who will provide written and oral feedback; a formal assessment process takes place annually.
This Annual Progress Review requires students to present their work in writing and orally to a panel of academics from within the School. Successful completion of this process will allow students to register for the next academic year.
The final assessment of the doctoral degree is both oral and written. Students will submit their thesis to an internal and external examining team who will review the written thesis before inviting the student to orally defend their work at a Viva Voce.
Supervisors will offer feedback on draft work at regular intervals throughout the period of registration on the degree.
Learning and Teaching
This is a research degree.
Learning and Teaching
A 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. While a Master's degree (or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University) is not essential, it is desirable and applicants without this qualification will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.
English Language Requirements
Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last two years
International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.
For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
|Northern Ireland (NI) 1||£4,596|
|Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2||£4,596|
|England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1||£4,596|
|EU Other 3||£18,900|
1 EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled or pre-settled status, are expected to be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident, however this is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly Student Fees Regulations. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB are expected to be charged the GB fee, however this is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly student fees Regulations.
2 It is expected that EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI will be eligible for NI tuition fees. The tuition fee set out above is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly student fees Regulations.
3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.
All tuition fees quoted relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. The NI/ROI, GB and Isles fees relate to academic year 2022-23 and will be updated to 2023-24 rates once they have been confirmed. All fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
More information on postgraduate tuition fees.
There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.
Additional course costs
Depending on the programme of study, there may also be other extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies . Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £100 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges. Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen. There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, and library fines. In undertaking a research project students may incur costs associated with transport and/or materials, and there will also be additional costs for printing and binding the thesis. There may also be individually tailored research project expenses and students should consult directly with the School for further information.
Some research programmes incur an additional annual charge on top of the tuition fees, often referred to as a bench fee. Bench fees are charged when a programme (or a specific project) incurs extra costs such as those involved with specialist laboratory or field work. If you are required to pay bench fees they will be detailed on your offer letter. If you have any questions about Bench Fees these should be raised with your School at the application stage. Please note that, if you are being funded you will need to ensure your sponsor is aware of and has agreed to fund these additional costs before accepting your place.
How do I fund my study?1.PhD Opportunities
Find PhD opportunities and funded studentships by subject area.2.Funded Doctoral Training Programmes
We offer numerous opportunities for funded doctoral study in a world-class research environment. Our centres and partnerships, aim to seek out and nurture outstanding postgraduate research students, and provide targeted training and skills development.3.PhD loans
The Government offers doctoral loans of up to £26,445 for PhDs and equivalent postgraduate research programmes for English- or Welsh-resident UK and EU students.4.International Scholarships
Information on Postgraduate Research scholarships for international students.
Funding and Scholarships
The Funding & Scholarship Finder helps prospective and current students find funding to help cover costs towards a whole range of study related expenses.
How to Apply
Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.
Find a supervisor
If you're interested in a particular project, we suggest you contact the relevant academic before you apply, to introduce yourself and ask questions.
To find a potential supervisor aligned with your area of interest, or if you are unsure of who to contact, look through the staff profiles linked here.
You might be asked to provide a short outline of your proposal to help us identify potential supervisors.