Applied Linguistics (Lexical Studies)

The PhD programme in Applied Linguistics at Cardiff is designed to meet the needs of part-time, distance-learning students who work in the broad areas of lexical research and lexical perspectives on language issues.

Programme aims

To develop expertise in researching applied linguistics from a lexical perspective, and to conduct original research in that field.

Distinctive features

  • The programme is tightly structured around monthly and yearly tasks which enable students to maintain the momentum of their studies
  • Students are well supported, with the opportunity for regular supervision meetings via electronic means
  • Students have the opportunity to participate in a strong research group, with access to a rich bank of source materials and research tools
  • Monthly newsletters keep students up to date with relevant activities and network news
  • There is an annual conference, held in the UK, which provides an opportunity for face-to-face contact between students, supervisors and established researchers
  • Students are encouraged to make connections between their research and their working environment, and many conduct empirical research within their day-to-day work context
  • Funding worth £1250 across the period of a PhD candidature is available for students to attend conferences and workshops, or undertake library/archive visits related to their PhD studies.

Key facts

Mode of study Part-time distance learning
Qualification PhD
Part-time duration 6 years part-time distance learning programme

The programme will include training in how to do research, how to plan experiments, how to analyse the data they produce, how to write up your experiments in an appropriate form, how to approach literature critically, how to present your work in public, and how to write up your work for publication.


The structure of the PhD Applied Linguistics (Lexical Studies) programme incorporates four strands of work: an empirical strand, a critical strand, a presentational strand and a general skills strand. During each year of the programme, specific tasks are set relating to each strand. The empirical strand allows students to build their thesis incrementally, by completing experimental studies each year, and through the other strands of the programme they build critical reading skills, and develop their expertise in research design and dissemination.

Every year students will be expected to conduct a piece of empirical research, to present their current research at a conference or workshop, and in the first two years, to write a book review. Every month they will be set a research skills task (usually a critical reading task). Students are strongly encouraged to attend the annual Lexical Studies conference, which is usually held in the UK in spring time. Formal progress reviews are conducted annually.

Students will undergo a Viva examination as part of their formal assessment. By the end of the programme, students are expected to have completed a Thesus of 80,000 words.

For more information about the PhD in Applied Linguistics, or to discuss potential research projects, please contact Tess Fitzpatrick on

Research environment

The PhD Applied Linguistics (Lexical Studies) operates out of the Centre for Language and Communication Research in the School of English, Communication and Philosophy.

‘Positioned at the interface of different traditions, methodologies, theoretical approaches, disciplines and practices, our pioneering research engenders challenging and fascinating questions for our staff and, through our PhD supervision and research-led teaching also for our students are all levels.’ Professor Alison Wray, Director of Research in the School of English, Communication and Philosophy

The School’s research is recognised internationally for its excellence and was ranked in the top ten for the quality of its English Language and Literature research, including Creative Writing, in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF2014).
Cardiff University has recently joined the world's top 100 universities for the study of English Language & Literature in the 2016 QS World University Rankings. Read in full here.

Job roles: Editor, EFL Teacher, English Teacher, Lecturer, PR Officer, Writer, Head Teacher

Employers: Oxford University Press, London Film School, Palgrave MacMillan, Universities from Cork (Ireland) to Wisconsin State (USA), Virgin Media, Literature Wales, Visit Wales


Name Deadline
Ursula Henriques Scholarship 5 May 2017

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2017/18)

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Students from outside the EU (2017/18)

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Applications must include a Research Proposal and Personal Statement. In the research proposal (around 1,000 words, 3-4 pages) please outline your rationale, proposed methodology, and research objectives, including a short bibliography. This should be uploaded to the applicant portal via the direct application service.

In your personal statement, we would like you to tell us about why you are applying for a PhD – what your current situation is, whether you need a PhD for your own personal development, or for professional reasons, what your experience has been to date as a student/researcher/teacher in the area of Applied Linguistics, and why you have chosen Cardiff as an appropriate research environment for your particular area of interest.

In addition to the research proposal and personal statement you will need to provide two academic references and copies of degree certificates and transcripts.

The deadline for application is 1 July 2016.

Admission process

The programme is no longer recruiting new students but it will continue for students who are already registered

A First or Upper Second class UK degree, or equivalent is required.

Successful applicants to the programme will also have demonstrated a strong performance at Master’s level in a subject related to Applied Linguistics, will have completed a course in research methods, and will have some experience of conducting empirical research (possibly as part of the Master’s degree).

Applicants are advised to discuss potential research projects with the Programme Director, Professor Tess Fitzpatrick prior to making an application. Please email

For non-native speakers of English, an IELTS overall score of 7.5 with at least 7.0 in each sub score is essential.

English language requirements


Administrative contact(s)

ENCAP Postgraduate Admissions

Administrative contact


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Master's Excellence Scholarships

Master's Excellence Scholarships

Scholarships available worth £3,000 each for UK/EU students starting a master’s degree in September 2017.

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