Research course

Languages and Applied Linguistics

University of Portsmouth · School of Languages and Applied Linguistics

Visit the institution website for COVID‑19 updates

Entry requirements

A good honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject or a master's degree in an appropriate subject. Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. All applicants are subject to face-to-face or telephone interview.

Translation and Literary Studies requires English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 7.0 with no component score below 6.5. Other subject areas require English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Months of entry

February, October

Course content

If you're ready to take your expertise in Languages and Applied Linguistics into a postgraduate research degree, then Portsmouth is the perfect place to fulfil your ambition.

Our Languages and Applied Linguistics research investigates how words are used in different contexts, and how language influences social phenomena and identity. We're looking at how language – particularly English – can drive economic and social development, and how international companies and organisations are taught multiple languages. We're identifying how language is used in different ways such as to express ideas and empower the marginalised, and exploring how technology is changing the international translation industry.

As a postgraduate research degree student, you'll be based within the School of Languages and Linguistics (SLAL) – one of the largest departments of its kind in the UK. You'll develop your subject-specific skills as a researcher, make ambitious steps towards your future career, and contribute to our research community. Throughout your research, you'll be under the supervision of internationally-recognised researchers. You'll also receive support from our supervisory team, the Graduate School and the Centre for European and International Studies Research (CEISR).

Our staff are experts in applied linguistics, sociolinguistics, language education, translation, international development, African studies, American studies, European studies and East Asian studies.

Current Research

In our globalised society, understanding the way we communicate is important. Our research in Linguistics looks beyond the words themselves to explore how they're used in certain contexts, and the relationship words can have with social phenomena and identity, such as class or power.

It also looks at how language – particularly English – can act as the key driver of economic and social development, how international companies and organisations are both taught multiple languages, and how language is translated. We're also researching the way language is used in the world, and how it is used in different ways, from expressing ideas to empowering the marginalised.

We investigate the technology replacing traditional translation, and the ramifications to translation students. With industries looking globally, our research helps companies target international markets, employ sufficiently skilled translators and develop materials for teaching English to speakers of other languages.



Bringing together researchers and postgraduates from across the University, the Centre for European and International Studies Research (CEISR) is a supportive and intellectually stimulating place. We welcome linguists, historians, sociologists, political scientists, anthropologists and specialists in area studies. Our work crosses multiple fields in humanities, social sciences and the arts.

In the Research Excellence Framework 2014, 25% of our research in Area Studies was rated world-leading, and 43% internationally excellent. This placed it in the top 10 institutions nationally for impact and for research intensity.

A regular programme of events helps promote our research and nurture our culture. We host strategic research projects on topics such as EU language policy, the Transnational European Union, the History of the Jewish Press in Central Europe, Port Towns and Francophone Africa in a comparative and transnational context.


The structuralist legacy is a general acceptance of language as a bounded system that can be defined and learnt. Our research group is interested in studying what happens as speakers and writers cross the boundaries of language systems or transgress the rules within them, and what insights can be gained when linguists explore the contributions made by fields as diverse as semiotics, social theory, political theory, literary theory, psychology and neuroscience. We are, in short, interested in the breaking of barriers and the building of bridges. We see language as practice embedded in and shaped by socio-cultural factors.

Our focus is varied. We investigate language choices of bilingual families in diaspora, attitudes towards the spread of English as a lingua franca in globalisation, language and the internationalisation of HE, translation as creation, as gate-keeping and as bridge-building, language as ideology, language and the unconscious, language and the brain, languages and technologies, language policy and language rights in new political settings. In all our enquiries we are concerned to investigate language practices within their social and political contexts and to monitor and comment on change in an increasingly post-structuralist and post-national era.

Language Across Borders also encompasses research in corpus linguistics.

What can a postgraduate research degree do for my career?

Once you complete your postgraduate research degree, you'll be a highly-skilled researcher with the knowledge and skills to make an impact in many different industries.

Your postgraduate research qualification demonstrates to potential employers that you're an intelligent, capable and motivated person, with provable abilities and experience in critical thinking, problem-solving, project management, communication, leadership and creativity.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MPhil
    part time
    48 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
  • PhD
    part time
    72 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    36 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Admissions Team
02392 845566