Masters by research, MPhil and PhD degrees Masters by research, MPhil and PhD degrees

With expert supervision, a supportive research environment and high- quality research training, we welcome applications from well-qualified candidates to our MPhil/PhD programmes and our Masters by Research in the fields of applied linguistics, including: translation, interpreting, cross-cultural communication/ pragmatics, intercultural communication and citizenship education in language pedagogy,  discourse analysis, cognitive and forensic linguistics.

Research Degrees

Information about the different types of research degree

Research and supervision

In line with UEA's tradition of interdisciplinary research, our research and supervision focus on the four interrelated and complementary areas of enquiry:

Translating and Interpreting

We work on and welcome projects exploring new ways of addressing and studying translation and interpreting with an emphasis on ethics and empathy and research directed to 'real-world' translation practice in legal, health, sports and other professional contexts.

We are particularly interested in research on translation ethics and translation quality, linked to investigation of gaps in the provision of interpreting and translation in the UK (Drugan). We also explore the development of pragmatics-driven approaches to audio- visual translation and film subtitling (Guillot), and translation and sport (Baines). Further topics for investigation are the pragmatics and translation of religious and literary texts and the religious ethics of translation (Wolf). Further interests include the study of politeness and intercultural communication through audio-visual translation (De Pablos-Ortega).

Language, intercultural communication and cross-cultural pragmatics

Under this area of enquiry, we welcome projects that focus on communication practice in media, political, religious, educational and professional contexts with specific reference to cross- and inter-cultural variation. Exploration may be carried out using a variety of methodologies, including (but not exclusively) pragmatics, conversation analysis, content analysis and discourse analysis. Data may be collected using surveys and interviews, when appropriate. A socio-linguistic approach may also be suitable and usefully combined with any of the other methodologies mentioned above.

Special expertise in this area includes: research in cross-cultural and conceptual metaphors that investigates the origin and resolution of conflict in international politics and media (Musolff); field research across languages and cultures; language and inter-religious dialogue; intercultural communication and code switching; same-sex relationships across cultures (all covered by Wolf); politeness, gender and language, historical linguistics and pragmatics, Ancient Egyptian philology and sociolinguistics and widening participation in modern language education (all covered by Ridealgh); language teaching and curriculum development research with a focus on intercultural communication pedagogy and citizenship education (Yulita). Interlanguage and cross-cultural pragmatics: pragmalinguistics and sociopragmatics, language attitudes and perceptions of non-native speakers towards the realization of speech acts (De Pablos-Ortega); Relationship between structures and meanings, theoretical pragmatics, language in context, semantics-pragmatics interface, formal models of dialogue (Elder).

(Critical) discourse analysis

This area of enquiry is closely linked to the above but focus is more specifically on ideological representation and power differentials in the discourse of media, advertising, politics and professional communication. Discourse considered may be written, spoken or multi-modal (e.g. including images). Units of analysis may be based on frameworks derived from Systemic Functional Linguistic approaches (including the Appraisal system), pragmatics and conversation analysis. Spoken data may be collected using surveys and interviews as appropriate. A socio-linguistic approach may also be relevant in combination with linguistic analysis. A comparative cross-or intercultural perspective is welcome but not essential. Specific areas of interest include the analysis of empathy and person/patient- centred communication in health or other professional domains (pounds) and the role of discourse metaphors in the construction of ideology within media and political discourse (Musolff).

Cross-cultural cognitive linguistics

Under this area of enquiry we welcome projects focusing on the relationship between cognitive and psychological processes and language production and reception. This includes research in forensic linguistics and second language acquisition. To the extent that cognitive aspects bear on translation and interpreting practice, projects in this area may also be designed to address these concerns. Special expertise in this area includes: research of the effects of spatial movement on language formation and research on semantic categorisation in second language acquisition and bilingualism (Filipovic, Hijazo-Gascon).

For further details of the topics supervised, please see the individual academic's people page:

Roger Baines, Jo Drugan, Luna Filipovic, Marie-Noelle Guillot, Alberto Hijazo-GasconAndreas Musolff,  Kim Ridealgh, Carlos De Pablos-Ortega, Gabrina PoundsAlain Wolf, Leticia Yulita

Previous theses

Examples of completed theses include:

Skorokhod Olena (2015) "Misrepresentation and Construction of Meaning in Translation of News Texts in the Context of Conflict and Intervention: the Application of Systemic-Functional Linguistics"

Hadley, James Luke (2014) Theorizing in Unfamiliar Contexts: new Directions in Translation Studies

Lilley, David (2013) The German reportative subjunctive: a relevance- theoretic analysis

Khabbazi Oskouei, Leila (2011) Interactional variation in English and Persian: A comparative analysis of metadiscourse features in magazine editorials

Ivir-Ashworth, Ksenija Corinna (2011) The Nature of Two Trilingual Children's Utterances: Growing up with Croation, English and German

Gilbert, Lori (2015 'Friends, fans and foes: Identity performances through responses to Facebook brand marketing'.

Viola, Lorella (2015) Towards an empirical approach to the study of dubbing-induced language change in Italian.

Research Culture

We have strong interdisciplinary links with colleagues working in other specialist areas at UEA, including literary translation, literature and creative writing, film, television and media studies, politics, philosophy, education and health. In a field of literary translation we have links with The British Centre for Literary Translation (BCLT) to which a number of our staff are affiliated. These relationships enable us to supervise students wishing to write their theses on areas that cross disciplinary boundaries. In the field of language education, we have links with the School of Education and Lifelong Learning, which also enable us to co-supervise students researching pedagogical aspects relating to language, intercultural and citizenship education.

International collaborators include the universities of California Davis, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest), Koblenz-Landau, Leuven, Southern Denmark, Strasbourg, Zaragoza and Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina.

International events

In summer 2013 our doctoral students helped organise and participated in our third interdisciplinary cross-cultural pragmatics conference- Cross- Cultural Pragmatics at a Crossroads III: IMPACT: Making a Difference in Intercultural Communication- as a follow up to the very successful events in 2006 and 2011. Further details are available on the conference website.

In 2014, doctoral students had the opportunity to attend the first major East Asian Translation Studies conference to be hosted in the West at UEA.

Our doctoral students participated in the organisation and delivery of the annual UEA International Postgraduate Translation Research Symposium, the sixth of which was held in November 2015 on the topic of Untranslatability.

In June 2016 doctoral students were invited to the international Historical Politeness Symposium organised by Kim Ridealgh.

An international workshop on miscommunication, open to doctoral students, is planned to take place in July 2017.


Academic Supervision

You will be allocated a primary and secondary supervisor. Sometimes supervisors will assume equal responsibility, but the primary supervisor is responsible for administrative arrangements. Your supervisors will help you refine your initial proposal and chosen field of study, read outlines and draft chapters and give advice on the general standard and direction of your work, providing ongoing encouragement all the way.

Personal and Professional Development

The Arts and Humanities (HUM) programme for postgraduate researchers will support you in developing your research skills, from the writing of the thesis to working within a wider academic environment, and from working as a professional academic to disseminating work to a wider public culture. The programme has been developed to address your intellectual and practical needs as a higher level researcher. You will be invited to design your own programme with your primary supervisor. Although some of the training takes place in formal sessions, students are also encouraged to identify external and informal opportunities for development. The programme also aims to create and support a distinct research community that draws together research students and Faculty. Most of the sessions are provided by research active academic staff, but we also work with other parts of the University in providing practical and technical training and career development for HUM students. Further information

Research Seminars

In addition to supervision, we will support you through a series of student-led monthly Postgraduate research seminars. During the seminars you will have the opportunity to present your research informally and without pressure to your peers and hear feedback and receive advice on various aspects of researching, writing and submitting a PhD thesis from Faculty members and more experienced students.

As one of our research students, you will be also be invited to any other research seminar in the School addressed by guest speakers or PPL colleagues, as well as interdisciplinary workshops and conferences. Current LCS-led research activities include the translation workshop In Other Words and the discussion group Research in Applied Pragmatics (RAP).

Financial Support

The Arts and Humanities Faculty can offer a limited number of scholarships and studentships. These include the prestigious Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)- funded doctoral studentships awarded by the Consortium for the Humanities and the Arts Southeast England (CHASE: of which UEA is a partner. Up- to date information on current funding options and how to apply may be found here.

We can also provide financial support to help you attend specific training workshops, conferences and undertake research fieldwork. Further details of fees and maintenance grants can be found on the PGR Fees and Funding pages.

Enquiries and how to apply

We welcome research enquiries from prospective students. Please contact individual academics listed above, or Dr Gabrina Pounds, the LCS Postgraduate Research Director, to discuss your proposal.

For admissions enquiries and general information contact the PGR Office:

Tel: +44 (0)1603 591709


How to apply

Guidelines on how to write a research proposal

LCS-specific guidelines