A PhD in Linguistics enables you to undertake a substantial piece of supervised research in the subject that makes an original contribution to knowledge and is worthy of publication.
A PhD, also known as a doctorate, is a requirement for a career as an academic or researcher. In addition, it has become a qualification valued by many employers who recognise the skills and commitment a PhD requires. Employers also recognise that a PhD indicates excellent research capabilities, discipline and communication skills.
Over the duration of the PhD, you produce an original piece of research of up to 100,000 words.
Current PhD projects include: ‘Prosody of Language and Music’, ‘Mapping the Musical Rhythms of Autistic Speech’, ‘Arpitan: A Study of An Emerging Linguistic Variety’, ‘It's A Funny Old World: The Construction of Possible Worlds in Jokes and Stand-up Comedy’ and ‘Investigating and Defining Urdu Phonology and its Role and Use in L2 (English) Perception and Production’.
The Department of English Language & Linguistics offers supervision from world-class academics with expertise in a wide range of disciplines, able to support and guide you through your research. Your progress is carefully monitored to ensure that you are on track to produce a thesis that is valued by the academic community. Throughout your programme, you are able to attend and contribute to research seminars, workshops, and research and transferable skills training courses.
You may be eligible for a fully-funded PhD scholarship to support your studies with us. The PhD in Linguistics at Kent can be funded through the Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) scheme, through the South East Network for Social Sciences (SeNSS) Doctoral Training Centre, or through the Consortium for the Humanities and the Arts South-East England (CHASE) collaborative doctoral partnerships. Please indicate in your application if you want to be considered for any of these programmes, and explain your eligibility for the chosen scheme.
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, modern languages and linguistics was ranked 3rd for research quality, 3rd for research output and in the top 20 for research intensity, research impact and research power in the UK.
Our submission was the highest ranked nationally to include modern languages – a testament to our position as the UK’s European university. An impressive 100% of our research was judged to be of international quality and the School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.
Postgraduate work in English Language and Linguistics prepares you for a range of careers where an in-depth understanding of how language functions is essential. These include speech and language theory, audiology, teaching, publishing, advertising, journalism, public relations, company training, broadcasting, forensic and computational work, and the civil or diplomatic services.
About the Department of English Language and Linguistics
English Language and Linguistics (ELL), founded in 2010, is the newest department of the School of European Culture and Languages (SECL). ELL is a dynamic and growing department with a vibrant research culture. We specialise in experimental and theoretical linguistics. In particular, our interests focus on quantitative and experimental research in speech and language processing, variation and acquisition, but also cover formal areas such as syntax, as well as literary stylistics. In addition to English and its varieties, our staff work in French, German, Greek, Romani, Korean, Spanish and Russian. Staff and postgraduates are members of the Centre for Language and Linguistics (CLL), a research centre that seeks to promote interdisciplinary linguistic research. We also have links with research networks outside Kent, and are involved with national and international academic associations including the Linguistics Association of Great Britain, the British Association of Academic Phoneticians, the Linguistic Society of America, the Association for French Language Studies and the Poetics and Linguistics Association. We welcome applications from students interested in MA and PhD research. Please see our staff and research pages for more information on the topics staff are able to supervise.
Our students benefit from training by enthusiastic and dedicated staff with expertise in a variety of areas of linguistics, from formal to quantitative and experimental fields.
ELL students also benefit from excellent library facilities and a linguistics laboratory equipped for research in speech acoustics (recording equipment, studio, software for speech analysis), speech and language processing and acquisition (including eye-tracking, DMDX and E-prime), and general data analysis (MS Office Suite, Statistica, R, and Matlab running on both PCs and Macs).
The Department organises seminars with local and invited speakers that take place throughout the year. Additionally the Centre for Language and Linguistics also organises various events from talks to symposia. In addition, postgraduates can attend any one of three reading groups: the Experimental Reading Group; the Stylistics Reading Group; and the Syntax Reading Group. These groups provide a space where staff, final-year undergraduates and postgraduate students have the opportunity to exchange ideas and learn more about current research issues in their area of interest. All three groups meet regularly to discuss recent research papers as well as draft research papers written by individual members of each group.
Although ELL is a new department, the study of linguistics has a long tradition at Kent and the Templeman Library is well stocked in all areas, particularly those in which we specialise, including sociolinguistics, phonetics, acquisition, language processing, language teaching and stylistics.
The School also provides high-quality IT facilities, including state-of-the-art media laboratories, dedicated technical staff and designated areas for postgraduate study. Other facilities include all-purpose teaching rooms, two networked multimedia laboratories equipped for teaching in phonetics and psycholinguistics and a streamed film library. Experienced technicians can provide support with computing, sound recording and digital media.
In addition to one-to-one meetings with their supervisor, our research students benefit from many additional events that are either specifically designed for them or provide them with opportunities to liaise with all staff.
These events include:
- an ELL-specific induction day for all postgraduates
- the chance to act as peer-mentors for MA students
- presentation of their research at LingLunch and our annual Research Day
- participation in training seminars covering statistics, the peer-review system, experimental techniques in linguistics
- reading groups, of which three are currently meeting on a regular basis: the Experimental Linguistics Reading Group, the Syntax Reading Group and the Stylistics Reading Group.
For those who wish to gain in-depth understanding of syntax, semantics and phonology additional training is provided through the Advanced Core Training in Linguistics (ACTL) of which Kent is a member along with Cambridge, Essex, Oxford, Queen Mary, University of London, SOAS and UCL. ACTL classes are offered in the autumn and summer and are open to all postgraduates.
Researcher Development Programme
Kent's Graduate School co-ordinates the Researcher Development Programme for research students, which includes workshops focused on research, specialist and transferable skills. The programme is mapped to the national Researcher Development Framework and covers a diverse range of topics, including subject-specific research skills, research management, personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking and teamworking, and career management skills.
A first or upper-second class BA honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject, and a distinction or merit in an MA in Linguistics or a closely related field.
International applicants for whom English is not their first language must have IELTS overall 7.0 with at least 6 for each component.
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country. Please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.
English language entry requirements
The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Need help with English?
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
For details of research clusters, outputs and public engagement see the English Language and Lingustics website.
Centre for Language and Linguistics
English Language and Linguistics is the main contributor to the Centre for Language and Linguistics. Founded in 2007, the Centre promotes interdisciplinary collaboration in linguistic research and teaching.
The Centre welcomes members of the School of European Cultures and Languages that have an interest in the study of language, as well as researchers in philosophy, computing, psychology and anthropology. This reflects the varied routes by which individuals come to a love of language and an interest in the various disciplines and subdisciplines of linguistics.
The department of English Language and Linguistics also has links with research networks outside Kent, and is involved with national and international academic associations including the Linguistics Association of Great Britain, the British Association of Academic Phoneticians, the Linguistic Society of America, the Association for French Language Studies and the Poetics and Linguistics Association.
Staff research interests
Brief details of English Language and Linguistics academic staff are given below.
It's possible to have a supervisor from another school, providing their expertise matches your research interests. The ‘find a supervisor’ page allows you to search by keyword or person.
You are strongly encouraged to contact the relevant department to discuss your proposed research and potential supervision prior to making an application.
Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.
Professor Amalia Arvaniti: Professor of Linguistics
Phonetics, phonology, sociophonetics; the production and perception of prosody, cross-linguistic intonational pragmatics, sociophonetics, Greek linguistics, English linguistics and dialectology, bilingualism.View Profile
Dr Laura Bailey: Lecturer in Linguistics
Theoretical syntax and typology, with a focus on polar interrogativesView Profile
Dr Gloria Chamorro: Lecturer in Applied linguistics
Second language acquisition, bilingualism, first language attrition, TESOL.View Profile
Dr Vikki Janke: Lecturer in Linguistics
Syntax, language acquisition and psycholinguistics.View Profile
Dr Eleni Kapogianni: Lecturer in Linguistics
Semantics/pragmatics interface, experimental pragmatics, and intercultural pragmatics.View Profile
Dr Christina Kim: Lecturer in Linguistics
Experimental pragmatics/semantics/syntax, psycholinguistics, syntax/pragmatics interface.View Profile
Dr Tamara Rathcke: Lecturer in Linguistics
Tone and rhythm in music and language, variation and change of prosody, comparative phonetics and phonology.View Profile
Dr Jeremy Scott: Senior Lecturer in English Language and Liteature
Literary representations of dialect, stylistics, narratology and creative writing.View Profile
Dr David Hornsby: Senior Lecturer in French and Linguistics
The history of the French language; sociolinguistics of French; sociolinguistic theory.View Profile
Dr Angelos Lengeris: Lecturer in Linguistics
Phonetics, phonology, the practice of TESOL.
The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for Home/EU PG Research programmes have not yet been set by the Research Councils UK. This is ordinarily announced in March.
General additional costs
Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.
Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both: