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Postgraduate research

Modern languages and linguistics

A student writes on a white board with a red marker in a lesson

Our PhD and integrated PhD programmes give you the skills for a range of successful professions such as teacher, researcher or lecturer.


Modern languages at Southampton is an internationally recognised centre of research excellence. We offer PhD supervision across a wide range of areas relating to language, culture and society, including applied linguistics.

You'll be part of a friendly and supportive community with opportunities to: 

  • participate in student-led, interdisciplinary reading groups
  • hear expert speakers from universities around the world in our seminar series
  • study the archives of Lord’s Palmerston and Mountbatten
  • visit Jane Austen’s library at Chawton House

We offer 2 postgraduate research routes:

  • iPhD: Integrated applied linguistics/English language teaching
  • PhD: Modern languages including applied linguistics for language teaching


This course is ideal if you're an experienced teacher or educationalist and you want time up front to re-familiarise yourself with the subject and its research methods. This study route is for applicants interested in:

  • designing English language teaching courses
  • teaching English as a second language
  • pursuing an academic career in language and linguistics education

The doctorate combines taught elements and independent research. You'll gain insights into applied linguistics with a focus on English language teaching along with the relevant research methods. When you complete the taught components you'll concentrate on a specific area of research.

You'll gain transferable skills in:

  • critical awareness
  • communication
  • presentation
  • project management


This is a thesis-only route and no taught components. The PhD is available in all areas of modern languages research including:

  • theoretical and applied linguistics
  • English language teaching
  • language education
  • discourse analysis
  • global Englishes
  • language acquisition
  • cultural and literary studies
  • world history
  • anthropology

Graduates with a PhD in modern languages from Southampton go on to teach and lecture.

Main areas of research

Our researchers generally focus on one of these areas:

  • contemporary language
  • linguistics
  • culture
  • society

Our staff are experienced supervisors, engaged in innovative research and postgraduate teaching, and there are excellent opportunities for interdisciplinary research.

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