Skip to main content

PhD programmes – University of Reading

Show access keys
  • Postgraduate Research

PhD programmes

As a postgraduate research student in the Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics at Reading, you will be part of a large and vibrant community. You will work alongside a thriving group of researchers who are making a substantial contribution to the field.

For information on PhD Studentships in Linguistics: SeNSS ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership, please click here


The University of Reading has been known for decades as a centre of excellence in English Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics. Our postgraduate programmes have more than 1500 graduates in over 40 countries, many of whom have gone on to become well-known teachers and scholars whose work has come to define the field of English Language Studies.

English Language at Reading runs two lively PhD programmes in the fields of Applied Linguistics and English Language Teaching, and can offer training and supervision to doctoral students in several key specialisms in these fields.

World-leading research

The latest Research Excellence Framework assessment (2014) recognised 80% of our research as World Leading or Internationally Excellent. Find out more on our research pages. Research activity within the Department is broad and extensive and brings a breadth of applied linguistic expertise to explore the use and learning of English as a first and second language, and into how the multilingual mind works in context. We focus on 4 main themes, using a wide range of cutting-edge methodologies:

  • Analysis of language (grammar, phonetics and phonology)
  • First and second language acquisition and language pedagogy
  • Sociolinguistics and discourse analysis
  • Literacy and multilingualism

We also contribute via strong links to other areas of linguistic research within and beyond the university through the Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism , including the Institute of Education , Psychology & Clinical Language Sciences, International Study & Language Institute, Languages and Cultures.


PhD Opportunities


We offer flexible modes of study designed to fit with your needs. Our PhD is available for study on a full-time basis over 3-4 years and part-time over 5-6 years. Both full-time and part-time variants are available for study in Reading or working away after the first year of study on campus


Over the course of your PhD you will also be involved in opportunities to communicate your work and network with other researchers, present a seminar, speak at conferences and workshops, and visit or host researchers from elsewhere. Every year, all Applied Linguistics PhD students present at the annual Language Studies PhD Conference, an event that is organised by the department and which is open to the Institute of Education, Psychology & Clinical Language Sciences, International Study & Language Institute, Languages & Cultures


In the first year of your degree course, you will benefit from a programme of relevant postgraduate courses which will be agreed between you and your supervisor/s as well as a programme of transferable skills organised by the Graduate School.

The Graduate School

All postgraduate research students automatically become members of the University-wide Graduate School. The Graduate School provides training, professional development, study space, advice and administrative support in a dedicated building for the postgraduate research community at Reading.


Our PhD students go on to work in academia as postdoctoral researchers, lecturers and language teachers, but also sometimes find employment in industries such as Publishing, Public Relations and Journalism, as well as Government Agencies.

PhD programmes: detailed offer information

"Doing a PhD in Applied Linguistics at Reading University was an extremely enriching and rewarding intellectual experience thanks to the academic community of the Department which offers remarkable support and inspiration. I benefited immensely from my supervisor's consummate expertise and the seminars and conferences included in the PhD programme. Although engaging in research is to a great extent a solitary pursuit, real scholarship thrives only in the context of a truly academic community of the standard I have found in Reading."

Barbara Brozyna

Recently graduated PhD student



The department offers a range of groups and activities for staff and research students to meet and share research work in their particular field:

All are open across the university and to affiliate members beyond the university

Current research groups


For other events, see also:


Meet the Team

Current Postgraduate Students




Hear what some of our current postgraduate researchers have to say about...

The areas they are researching

Why they chose to study at Reading

What life on campus is like


'Doing a PhD at Reading, you always have staff and other PhDs to ask questions, learn from and importantly have a bit of a laugh with now and again. I really have felt that no question is a stupid question. My supervisors have been absolutely great throughout my PhD, with regular meetings, useful advice, lots of encouragement, and help with keeping calm when life gets stressful!'

Julia Abery

Mature PhD student with children


Researcher development programme

Graduate School homepage

How To Apply

Our postgraduate taught offer

PhD Programmes: detailed offer information


We use Javascript to improve your experience on, but it looks like yours is turned off. Everything will still work, but it is even more beautiful with Javascript in action. Find out more about why and how to turn it back on here.
We also use cookies to improve your time on the site, for more information please see our cookie policy.

Back to top