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Language and Communication

The PhD in Language and Communication invites candidates to undertake substantial, detailed and focused research.

Our students’ interests are wide-ranging and we welcome applications from capable candidates who want to investigate topics across language and communication. The PhD programme empowers candidates both to produce innovative research and to develop themselves as independent and intellectually creative scholars.

The PhD in Language and Communication is a three-year (FT), 5-year (PT) degree which offers candidates the opportunity to research a topic that interests and excites them and falls within the expertise of staff in the Centre for Language and Communication Research.

Programme aims

  • The research programme offers knowledge and expertise to take you on to a role in higher education, or employment requiring high-level skills in research or advanced subject knowledge.
  • The programme recruits a diverse range of Home/EU and international students who want to engage in a research environment characterised by world-leading research expertise in social, applied and interactional areas of human communication, language and linguistics.

Distinctive features

  • We offer the opportunity to become involved in a wide range of staff research projects.
  • We offer teaching opportunities on the undergraduate programme, and PhD students can undertake the School’s unique "Learning to Teach" programme, accredited by the Higher Education Academy.
  • We run regular research seminars featuring staff and visiting speakers, together with a weekly postgraduate research seminar series and the academic session is rounded off with an annual postgraduate research conference.
  • Full-time PhD students are allocated study spaces with computing facilities, networked information and access to email and the internet.
  • Funding 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.

I find the vibrant research community in ENCAP really motivating because it makes you feel that you are part of something exciting and gives you the opportunity to share ideas and seek advice from other researchers (both staff and students). There is a very supportive atmosphere in which you feel safe to try out ideas and seek feedback on your progress.

Emily Powell, PhD in Language and Communication

Key facts

Mode of study Full-time, part-time
Qualification PhD, MPhil
Full-time duration PhD 3 years, MPhil 1 year
Part-time duration PhD 5 years, MPhil 2 years
Start dates January, April, October

The PhD is a three-year full-time programme or runs over five years, part-time.


The PhD is assessed by submission of a thesis of up to 80,000 words and a viva voce examination.

The MPhil is assessed by submission of a thesis of up to 50,000 words and a viva voce examination.

In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF2014), the School was ranked 10th for English Language and Literature. The very high quality of the environment and of our research training means that we form part of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Wales Doctoral Training Centre (DTC). In pursuing your postgraduate research at the Centre you will become part of a thriving research culture, noted for the excellence of its academic standards.

The Centre for Language and Communication Research is one of the foremost international Centres for research, research training and teaching in social, applied and interactional areas of human communication, language and linguistics. We use linguistic theory and a wide range of methods to explore how language works as a system, and how it is used to define identity and reflect and mould attitudes. We apply our research to important social challenges, to generate improvements in diverse areas including language learning, Alzheimer's care, multicultural interaction, legal-lay interaction and social inclusion.

Research environment

The School takes the training of research students very seriously, providing the facilities and supervisory guidance to help them flourish intellectually and work productively. The School has a dedicated suite of PhD research rooms with excellent networked IT facilities. Each student has a conference budget and is given a contribution to photocopying costs, as well as free printing facilities.

We regularly check with students what training they need and ensure that it is provided. Our PhD students can apply to get teaching experience with us and our unique “Learning to Teach” programme is accredited by the Higher Education Academy. The Arts and Social Studies Library is well-stocked with books and academic journals in all our subject areas, while also possessing substantial electronic resources and specialist collections such as Cardiff Rare Books, a rich archive of over 14,000 items ranging from fifteenth-century incunabula to twentieth-century fine press books.

In a competitive jobs market, our students are encouraged and supported in building up the skills that will make them employable, whatever their career direction. We value the rich experience of our many overseas students and actively attend to their specific needs in relation to their cultural context of study and the demands of writing elegantly in a second language.

There is a weekly Postgraduate Research Seminar throughout each semester.

There are several productive reading and research groups in CLCR and additional groups frequently emerge in line with the interests of colleagues and doctoral candidates. You can find more details about these on the Centre for Language and Communication Research Collaboration page.

PhD students in the Centre for Language and Communication Research also take part in an annual conference, sharing their research with student peers, academic staff, visiting scholars and other stakeholders.

We also run a collaborative project led by the School of English, Communication and Philosophy at Cardiff University. The CorCenCC - Corpws Cenedlaethol Cymraeg Cyfoes (The National Corpus of Contemporary Welsh) is a community-driven, interdisciplinary approach to linguistic corpus construction.

Postgraduate study in the School is a gateway to a wide variety of careers within and beyond academia.

Example employers in the UK include: Cardiff University, HMRC, Mencap, Poetry Wales Magazine, Teach First and the Welsh Government, with jobs that include Lecturer, Crime Intelligence Analyst, Librarian, Recruitment Consultant, Teacher, Writer.

Many overseas postgraduates return to lectureships with much enhanced career prospects.

Doing a PhD in Language and Communication at Cardiff University provided me with the range of resources and infrastructures needed to follow and develop my research interests. The programme pushed me to achieve a high critical and intellectual level and prepared me to become a professional academic, while my colleagues, supervisors and other members of staff were supportive throughout and made my life as a PhD student both rich and enjoyable.

Jaspal Singh PhD in Language and Communication, 2017

UK government postgraduate doctoral loans

Candidates for the Professional Doctorate programme may be eligible to apply for a UK government postgraduate doctoral loan.

Find out more about UK government postgraduate doctoral loans


See our latest PhD studentships and projects and find out more about other funding opportunities.

Tuition fees

Students from the UK

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Students from the rest of the world (international)

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

To find out how to apply, please take a look at our guide to the postgraduate application process.

Admission process

The Director of the CLCR Postgraduate Research Programme assesses all applications, taking into consideration the quality and viability of the research project, as well as the capacity of staff to supervise it. This will include consultation with potential supervisors. Applicants who pass this initial stage of assessment will then be invited for interview.

A list of potential supervisors and their research profiles can be found at the School’s website.

A First or Upper Second class UK honours degree, or equivalent is normally required, in a suitable field (such as Linguistics, Communication, Media Studies, Languages, some Social Sciences, English Literature and Humanities).

Successful applicants to the programme will also have demonstrated a strong performance at Master’s level in a subject related to 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).

All PhD candidates are required to have adequate research training.  If lacking such training, they will be considered for the MA in Language and Communication Research with progression to the 3-year PhD programme. During the MA year, in order to progress to the PhD programme, students are required to obtain a minimum overall mark of 60 or above for the taught stage of the MA. If you are uncertain whether you would be eligible to be considered for direct entry onto the PhD programme, please see the flow chart.

English language requirements

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

Please read our English language requirements for more details.


Administrative contact(s)

ENCAP Postgraduate Admissions

Administrative contact

Rhian Rattray

Rhian Rattray

Postgraduate Manager

+44 (0)29 2087 0322


Apply now
See the range of PhD studentships and projects currently available.

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