Undertaking PhD Research Undertaking PhD Research

With expert supervision, a supportive research environment and high- quality research training, we welcome applications from well-qualified candidates to our PhD programme. We can supervise PhD projects in the following areas: translation, interpreting, cross-cultural communication/ pragmatics, intercultural communication,  discourse analysis, cognitive and forensic linguistics. We also offer interdisciplinary co-supervision on the topics of politics, and modern Japanese and other East Asian art history.

Research Degrees

Information about the different types of research degree

In line with UEA's tradition of interdisciplinary research, our research and supervision in applied linguistics focus on the following 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 (Drugan and Baines). 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 and Filipovic).


We have a particular interest in the growing practice of audio-visual translation, exploring: a) the politeness and intercultural communication aspects relevant to audio-visual translation (De Pablos-Ortega) and b) the issues of  media and arts accessibility, audio-visual translation for children, and the reception of translated audio-visual content (Black).


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: 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). The analysis of empathy and person/patient- centred communication in health or other professional domains (Pounds).


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 and Hijazo-Gascon).


Further interdisciplinary supervision is offered in the following domains:


Politics and Language (with the department of Politics and International Relations and the Schools of International Development and Education and Lifelong Learning)


Under this thematic domain, we welcome projects focusing on the interaction between politics, collective memory, identity, displacement, political discourse and activism and popular music, particularly in Latin America (Marsh). Research proposals related to Romani studies are also desirable (Marsh).


Modern Japanese and other East Asian Art History (with the School of Art, Media and American Studies).


We welcome students interested in researching any aspects of Japanese and other East Asian art history, including the development of art styles, art markets, collections and international links. We have a particular interest for the perception of Nihonga (Japanese style painting) and the formation of Nihonga collections outside of Japan (Eriko Tomizawa-Kay).


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

Roger Baines, Jo Drugan, Luna Filipovic, Alberto Hijazo-Gascon, Kim Ridealgh, Carlos De Pablos-Ortega, Gabrina Pounds, Leticia Yulita, Chi-Hé Elder, Hazel Marsh, Sharon Black and Eriko Tomizawa-Kay.

Previous theses

Examples of completed theses include:

Da-Silva Sinha (2018) Linguistic and Cultural Conceptualizations of Time in Huni Kui, Awety and Kamaiura Indigenous Communities of Brazil.

Poppi, Fabio (2016) Multa paucis: Multimodal Metaphor Representation of Consumerism across the “Great Recession”. 

Viola, Lorella (2015) Towards an Empirical Approach to the Study of Dubbing-induced Language Change in Italian.

Gilbert, Lori (2015) Friends, Fans and Foes: Identity Performances through Responses to Facebook Brand Marketing'.

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
Research Culture


Research Culture

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

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

Research Activities

Research Seminars

As one of our research students, you will be invited to attend and contribute to any relevant research seminars in the School addressed by guest speakers or PPL colleagues and PGR students, as well as interdisciplinary workshops and conferences. 

Research Papers

PGR students are invited to contribute submissions to the Papers in Language and Communication Studies (PiLaCS). This is an online journal of work in progress by staff, students and researchers working in language, communication and related disciplines through UEA. Contributions include paper editing and reviewing as well as writing, enabling students to gain experience in these essential domains of research practice. Further information on PiLaCS may be found here.

Participation in 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, took place in July 2017.

The PGR conference Uniting Two Perspectives on Mental Illness, showcasing work from PGR students in linguistics and philosophy, took place in Essex in September 2018. The conference was jointly organized by two PGR students (in LCS and Philosophy, respectively) and was supported by AHRC funding.  


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. 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 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 staff, but also by other University study support services, such as the Library and Career Central.

Research meetings

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.

Financial Support

The Arts and Humanities Faculty can offer a 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: www.chase.ac.uk) of which UEA is a partner as well as a number of Faculty and School Scholarships. Up-to-date information on current funding options and how to apply may be found here.
We are also able to offer fully-funded doctoral studentships for high-quality projects that include a social science component. This is made possible because UEA, along with other ten universities (forming the South East Network for Social Science: SeNSS), has been awarded funding for Doctoral Training by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Further information on how to apply for these studentships may be found at: https://www.uea.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/research-degrees/doctoral-training-partnerships/senss-dtp-studentships 
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.https://www.uea.ac.uk/arts-humanities/graduate-school/training



Enquiries and how to apply

We welcome research enquiries from prospective students. Please contact individual academics listed above, or Dr Kim Ridealgh, Head of Language and Communication Studies.

For admissions enquiries and general information contact the PGR Office:

Tel: +44 (0)1603 591709

Email: pgr.enquiries.admiss@uea.ac.uk

How to apply

Guidelines on how to write a research proposal

LCS-specific guidelines


ESRC SeNSS Doctoral Training Partnership Studentships

The University of East Anglia invites applications for Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded studentship awards for the 2018-19 academic year. As a member of the South East Network for Social Sciences (SeNSS), a social sciences focused research and doctoral training partnership (DTP) funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), UEA will be offering fully-funded doctoral studentships over the next six years across 12 different training pathways.

For Further information about ESCR SeNSS studentships please see here.

Applications for 2018/19 entry will be open from the 2nd October 2017. For queries related to ESRC SeNSS, please contact the PGR Service via senss.dtp@uea.ac.uk