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Course content

We offer excellent candidates the opportunity to carry out research in one of the most dynamic institutions in Britain.

We specialise in, and welcome applications from prospective PhD students interested in the following areas: Corpus Research, Cognitive Linguistics and Psycholinguistics, Discourse Analysis and Stylistics, and Language Learning and Teaching.

The MA by Research programme requires you to prepare a dissertation of up to 40,000 words on a topic of your choice, for which an academic staff member will provide expert supervision.

The PhD – the most advanced research degree – leads to a dissertation of up to 80,000 words on a subject of your choice and under the expert supervision of an academic member of staff.

Our principal areas of research are:

Corpus Research - We are well known for our innovative approaches to the analysis of large corpora, which have had a strong impact on language teaching, dictionary development, and research into academic discourses. We are home to the Centre for Corpus Research (CCR), which supports the use of corpus analysis in research, teaching and learning. CCR provides access to a range of corpora and has a dedicated computer suite with specialist resources as well as an eye-tracking laboratory.

Cognitive Linguistics and Psycholinguistics - Our research in cognitive linguistics and psycholinguistics covers a wide range of areas including figurative language, idioms, embodied cognition, language and perception, sign languages, second language acquisition, and construction grammar. We have particular strengths in British Sign Language, Australian Sign Language and gesture studies.

Discourse Analysis and Stylistics - We are known for the development of several highly influential discourse analysis frameworks, and for our work on narrative, the discursive representation of inequality, new media, the language of politics, as well as new ideas on evaluation and phraseology. Our research draws on a variety of linguistic and theoretical traditions, including: systemic-functional linguistics; critical discourse analysis; corpus linguistics; multimodal analysis; narrative analysis; conversation analysis, and genre analysis. Our particular strength at Birmingham is that we combine discourse analysis with corpus analytic methods of research.

Language Learning and Teaching - We research and publish in: academic literacies; phraseology; the teaching and learning of metaphor and other types of figurative language; applications of cognitive linguistics to second language learning and teaching; and the use of corpora in language teaching.

About the School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies

"Welcome to the School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, in the College of Arts and Law. This is one of the largest Schools in the College, and variety is our watchword. We offer one of the most extensive ranges of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in the country. Our research expertise is equally diverse, and we welcome students and researchers from all over the world." - Professor Andrzej Gasiorek, Head of School

We particularly encourage creative thinking, with a range of pioneering programmes including Masters opportunities in Creative Writing, Film and Television and Shakespeare and Creativity. Our creative offerings are also strengthened by the development of our Department of Film and Creative Writing – established in 2015 – which has opened up exciting new opportunities for postgraduates to benefit from synergies between the two fields.

Our well-established Departments also provide an excellent environment for postgraduate study. The Department of Drama and Theatre Arts has a highly respected national and international reputation for excellence in teaching and research. We are also one of the leading centres for the postgraduate study of English in the UK, spanning language and literature. The Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics is a world-leading centre of excellence for both teaching and research in this field.

We are also proud to be home to the world-renowned Shakespeare Institute, based in Stratford-upon-Avon. Situated within walking distance of Shakespeare’s birthplace, school and grave, and the theatres of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), the Shakespeare Institute offers postgraduate students and scholars an academic experience unrivalled by any other university.

Funding and Scholarships

There are many ways to finance your postgraduate study at the University of Birmingham. To see what funding and scholarships are available, please visit: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/funding

Open Days

Explore postgraduate study at Birmingham at our on-campus open days.
Register to attend at: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/visit

Virtual Open Days

If you can’t make it to one of our on-campus open days, our virtual open days run regularly throughout the year. For more information, please visit: http://www.pg.bham.ac.uk

Visit the English Language and Applied Linguistics MA by Research page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!

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