Research course

Languages and Applied Linguistics

Open University · Centre for Language and Communications

Entry requirements

PhD: The normal minimum entrance requirement is an upper second class honours degree or master's degree, relevant to the proposed area of study, from a recognised higher education institution in the UK. You should also have experience of academic research in the previous four years, normally in the form of either a master's degree in research methods, an undergraduate degree with a research element in the final year, or work-related experience with evidence through research reports. If you're not sure if you meet the entry requirements, please contact us (

MPhil: Applicants should normally hold, or be expecting to obtain, a bachelors degree with at least first or upper-second class honours, or an equivalent qualification. However, entry requirements differ between academic areas, and sometimes a taught masters degree is also required. The research topic pages (in the menu on the right of our Research areas page) give details of specific entry requirements, and provide contact details to discuss your suitability for the MPhil with a member of academic staff.

Academic and professional literacies; Communication in social and healthcare contexts; Intercultural communication; Language and creativity; Language and globalisation; Language and policy; Language and the digital media; Language as a social semiotic in learning and teaching; Online and distance language teaching and learning; Open educational resources and open educational practices; Using eyetracking to research online language practices.

Months of entry


Course content

The Language and Literacies Research Cluster is located in the Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET). Researchers in language and literacies view language as a powerful social and cultural phenomenon and adopt a range of socially oriented approaches towards the study of language across the lifespan. A wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches are used, including cognitive stylistics, complexity theory, corpus linguistics, discourse analysis, multimodality, linguistic ethnography, metaphor theory, literary theory and criticism, semiotics, systemic functional linguistics, sociocultural theory, social network theory and sociolinguistics.

These approaches are used to explore language in many contexts such as language education, teaching and learning across the curriculum, social work, medical humanities, conflict resolution, language policy, digitally mediated communication, social media, language and globalisation.

Our work covers a range of exciting research topics with particular foci as follows:

  • Academic and professional literacies
  • Communication in social and healthcare contexts
  • Intercultural communication
  • Language and creativity
  • Language and globalisation
  • Language and policy
  • Language and the digital media
  • Language as a social semiotic in teaching and learning
  • Open educational practices
  • The teaching and learning of foreign and second languages in online and distance contexts.
Key facts
  • You will have the opportunity to work with leading researchers in their fields
  • We have 10 PhD and 36 EdD students studying with us, forming a strong research student community
  • Students participate in a wide range of academic and social events

Specialist software for language data analysis, including access to several large corpora, is available.

Fees and funding

Please see The Open University website for more information.

Qualification and course duration


distance learning
variable months
full time
36 months
part time
72 months


full time
15 months
part time
24 months
distance learning
variable months


part time
36 months


full time
12 months

Course contact details

Mrs Anne Foward
+44 (0)1908 655364