Linguistics (Modern Languages) PhD

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PhD Linguistics (Modern Languages)
Entry requirements
We would usually expect you to hold, or be working towards, a masters degree in a relevant subject.
7.0 (6.5) If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
1 October 
University Park
Other requirements



A PhD in linguistics (modern languages) allows you to research a linguistic topic related to one or more modern languages. Our areas of expertise for supervision include the following:

  • Sociolinguistics (including language standardization, historical sociolinguistics)
  • History of Linguistics (i.e. history of ideas about language, including the history of grammar-writing of particular languages)
  • Pragmatics and Interactional Linguistics (including Conversation Analysis in workplace and institutional settings, Politeness Studies, Intercultural Communication Studies)
  • Discourse Analysis
  • Translation and Interpreting Studies
  • Corpus Linguistics (especially diachronic linguistics)
  • Applied Linguistics, especially Foreign/Second Language Education and its history
  • Historical Linguistics

You can research any modern language but the school has particular expertise in French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian-Croatian and Slovene, as well as expertise in Italian and Chinese. We also have a Centre for Translation and Comparative Cultural Studies and an MA Digital Technologies for Language Teaching.

For guidance about whether we can offer supervision for your chosen research topic, please contact us.  The course is normally completed in three years full-time or six years part-time. You will follow a course of directed research under the supervision of your supervisors. This will lead to the completion of an 80,000-word thesis.



  • Postgraduate study suite
  • Designated computing facilities within Trent Building
  • Support for research trips and conference attendance, Inter Library Loans and printing and photocopying costs. 

Hallward Library

The Hallward Library is dedicated to the Faculty of Arts and is situated in the centre of the campus, just a few minutes walk from our school. It holds a wide range of subject-specific resources.


IT Facilities

The University provides students with access to general IT facilities through a number of computer rooms spread across its campuses. Such areas are conveniently located around the University in all University libraries.

The majority of computer rooms are open to all members of the University and contain PC workstations and printing facilities. In some of the larger rooms, more specialised equipment is provided such as text and image scanners, colour printing and high powered Unix workstations.

Connected Campus Network Zones are areas in the University where you can either access wireless networking or plug laptops directly into the University network. This is a major development which provides students with roaming access to the internet and University network.

The Language Centre

The Language Centre houses a Self Access Centre providing facilities to support the language teaching in the school, such as books, audio/video tapes, satellite TV, reading, reference and multimedia materials.

You can visit the centre to improve your fluency in a language you are studying for your degree, or you can learn additional languages from beginners’ stage, such as Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Modern Greek, Italian, French, German, Japanese and Spanish. These languages can be studied independently on a self-learning basis, or as part of taught courses


Research support

The school runs a number of professional development activities for postgraduates.  These include work-in-progress seminars, visiting speakers, workshops on writing conference abstracts and preparing one's work for publication, training sessions to support postgraduates who are contributing to the teaching on undergraduate modules etc. The School hosts at least one postgraduate conference each year.

The key skills that a postgraduate researcher should be aiming to achieve are also supported by the Arts Graduate Centre, the Graduate School, SEDU, Library and IT, Careers and Academic Support Services.

The Students' Union is another important source of support


Find a supervisor

We encourage you to get in touch with a member of academic staff about your research proposal before submitting an application. They may be able to help you with your proposal and offer support to find funding opportunities in your area. 

Details of research supervisors can be found on the School website.


Fees and funding

UK/EU Students

If you choose to study with us, there are various sources of funding to which you can apply.  Some are administered by the school, others by research bodies to which the school has links, and others by the University and central government sources.  These opportunities are often specific to particular degree programmes, or to the fee-status of a student, so it is important to read all related information very carefully. All studentships and bursaries are competitive and are awarded on academic merit.

Midlands4Cities funding

The Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership supports the personal and professional development of the next generation of arts and humanities doctoral researchers. Studentships are available to UK/EU students.

How to apply to the University of Nottingham through Midlands4Cities


Please see our school funding opportunities website for additional sources of funding.

Research students need to be accepted by the University in order to apply to external funding bodies in support of their studies.  The School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies offers advice on funding applications and all students who intend to apply for funding should keep an eye on the school website for notification of bursaries and studentships as well as the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) website and other sources of funding.  Please note while the AHRC website normally has a May deadline for receipt of applications, the school deadline is normally February. Applications can only be submitted through the school and the University, and applicants may apply for AHRC funding only through one university. EU students are eligible to apply to the AHRC for fees-only scholarships, and those from new accession countries are eligible for special support.

The University Graduate School operates two schemes of its own to help support current postgraduate research - the Graduate School Travel Prize and Universitas 21 funding.  The Graduate School holds a list of other sources of funding.

Government loans for doctoral study

The Government recently introduced doctoral student loans of up to £25,000 for PhDs and equivalent research programmes. Applicants must ordinarily live in England.

Doctoral training programmes

Linked to research councils, doctoral training programmes offer funding opportunities connected to our research priorities.

International and EU students

Research scholarships are available for outstanding international and EU students. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure your course application is submitted in good time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.



Visit the school page for additional opportunities

Average starting salary and career progression

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers.*

Consequently - and owing to our reputation for excellence - over 95% of postgraduates from the Faculty of Arts entered employment, voluntary work or further study during the first six months after graduation in 2015. The average starting salary was £20,250 with the highest being £33,000.**

* The Graduate Market 2013-2016, High Fliers Research.
**Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2014/15.
Salaries are calculated based on those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career Prospects and Employability

Those who take up a postgraduate research opportunity with us will not only receive support in terms of close contact with supervisors and specific training related to your area of research, you will also benefit from dedicated careers advice from our Careers and Employability Service.

Individual guidance appointments, career management training programme, access to resources and invitations to events including skills workshops and recruitment fairs are just some of the ways in which they can help you develop your full potential, whether you choose to continue within an academic setting or are looking at options outside of academia. 


This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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Postgraduate and Research Office
School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies
B7, Trent Building
University of Nottingham
University Park

Student Recruitment Enquiries Centre

The University of Nottingham
King's Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

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