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, Spanish, Irish,
Arabic 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 acquisition, change and policy; language used in new media, narrative, literature, rhetoric 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.
Opportunities to attend Professionalising the PhD sessions, designed to help you maximise your research experience, and to organise or participate in Common Grounds, the annual postgraduate conference.
Internationally Renowned Experts
- This unique programme is delivered by leading international academic experts in specialist fields including phonetics and phonology, syntax and morphology, sociolinguistics and (critical) discourse analysis.
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 Professionalising the PhD sessions, designed to help you maximise your research 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.
The last UK Research Excellence Framework (REF2014) graded over 80% of our research activity as
'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent’. While our Modern Languages department is 3rd in the UK
for its research intensity, our English department is rated by QS as being in the world’s top-100.
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
A 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 as such. 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, or sessions on ‘Professionalising the Phd’, organised by our School’s academics.
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.
A PhD programme runs for 3-4 years full-time or 6-8 years part-time. 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 or consultancy. 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 one of our academic staff. Therefore, your research question needs to engage with the research interests of one of our staff.
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
start, and how you would plan to fund the research
- a brief statement of the research question or interest, and how you think the question could
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.
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.
- Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
- Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.
INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Fees and Funding
Northern Ireland (NI) £4,327 England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £4,327 Other (non-UK) EU £4,327 International £16,300
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.
How do I fund my study?PhD Funded Opportunities
Find PhD funding opportunities and studentships by subject area.Doctoral Training Centres at Queen's
Find out more >
Queen's has seven outstanding competitive Doctoral Training Centres, with each one providing funding for a number of PhD positions and more importantly a hub for carrying out world class research in key disciplines.New UK PhD loans
Find out more >
The UK Government will introduce new doctoral loans of up to £25,000 for PhDs and equivalent postgraduate research programmes from 2019. Loans will be offered to English-resident students to study all types of doctorate at universities across the UK.International Scholarships
Find out more >
Information on scholarships for international students, is available at www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships.
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.
Fees and Funding