We offer a three-year supervised research route for students with a solid knowledge of existing research in the field and a good understanding of research methods.
We offer PhD supervision in descriptive and theoretical phonology, syntax, semantics, and morphology, with a particular emphasis on cross-linguistic variation and interfaces between different areas of grammar. Research in our department has covered a wide range of the world’s languages, including languages from Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Europe. We are especially interested in fieldwork-based and community-oriented work on understudied languages and linking empirical data to theoretical generalisations.
Examples of PhD projects which our students have undertaken include a comparative study of the phonological processes in Syrian and Jordanian Arabic, the nature of English wh-interrogatives, verb alternation and affixes in Malay and Indonesian, and the syntax of conditional sentences in Syrian Arabic.Many of our former PhD students work in higher education institutions around the world, as teachers and/or as academic researchers. Other career paths our former PhD students have taken include publishing, social work, administration, and retail.
We also offer an Mphil in this subject.
Please note, part-time research study is also available.
Within our Department of Language and Linguistics, you will be allocated a supervisor whose role it is to guide you through the different stages of your research degree. In some cases, you may have joint supervision by two members of our staff.
The support provided by your supervisor is a key feature of your research student experience and you will have regular one-to-one meetings to discuss progress on your research. Initially, your supervisor will help you develop your research topic and plan.
Twice a year, you will have a supervisory board meeting, which provides a more formal opportunity to discuss your progress and agree your plans for the next six months.
Within the Department of Language and Linguistics, we aim to provide our research students with work and storage space, including laboratory facilities and access to online bibliographies, corpora and other resources.
The University of Essex has excellent library holdings in all areas of linguistics, with online access to many periodicals and resources. We have open access computing labs running many software packages that our research students need in their work
Given the breadth of our provision within the Department of Language and Linguistics, career prospects for our graduates vary depending on the study undertaken. Often the career destination of our PhD students is university lecturing or research. Given the interdisciplinary nature of the areas of linguistics we cover, this could be in departments of English, linguistics, education, sociology or cognitive science.
You will need a good Masters degree or equivalent, in a related subject. A well-developed research proposal is also essential
You may be required to attend an interview/Skype interview for acceptance, and acceptance is subject to research expertise in the department.
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.
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A research degree doesn't have a taught structure, giving you the chance to investigate your chosen topic in real depth and reach a profound understanding. In communicating that understanding, through a thesis or other means, you have a rare opportunity to generate knowledge. A research degree allows you to develop new high-level skills, enhance your professional development and build new networks. It can open doors to many careers.
We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We’ll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, or in response to COVID-19, we’ll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.
Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.
Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.
|Status||What this means|
||You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
|Core with Options
||You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.|
||You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.|
|Compulsory with Options
||You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
||You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.|
The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.
Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.
In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.
Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:
The department or school the module will be taught by.
In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.
|The module number.||
The UK academic level of the module.
A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.
A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.
A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.
The term the module will be taught in.
On our four-year route (the Integrated ‘new route’ PhD), your first year is a preparatory MRes year so you take six taught modules and write an assessed MRes dissertation. This programme is ideal if you wish to develop your knowledge of existing research and improve your understanding of research methods before embarking on independent research.
On our three-year supervised research route, if you already have a solid knowledge of existing research in your field and a good understanding of research methods, plus a suitable research proposal, you immediately begin your independent research, under the guidance of your supervisor.
Within the Department of Language and Linguistics, throughout your research studies, your training needs will be regularly assessed. Every six months your progress is formally checked by a supervisory panel consisting of your supervisor, an adviser, and a chairperson. At least once a year this meeting takes place face to face to discuss how you are getting on. You report on your progress in writing by completing a form twice a year.
Your thesis has a maximum length of 80,000 words.
Within our Department of Language and Linguistics, throughout your research studies, your training needs will be regularly assessed. Every six months your progress is formally checked by a supervisory board consisting of your supervisor, an adviser, and a chairperson. You fill in a form answering questions about your progress, and there may be a face to face meeting to discuss how you are getting on.
We encourage you to make a preliminary enquiry directly to a potential supervisor or the Graduate Administrator within your chosen Department or School. We encourage the consideration of a brief research proposal prior to the submission of a full application.
We aim to respond to applications within four weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.
For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply’ information.
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