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Research degrees
Research areas
Languages and applied linguistics
Academic and professional literacies

Academic and professional literacies

Qualifications Duration Start dates Application period
PhD or Professional doctorate PhD:
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
Professional doctorate:
Part time: 4–8 years
October November to January
PhD or Professional doctorate
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
Professional doctorate:
Part time: 4–8 years
Start dates
Application period
November to January

Academic and professional literacies is a key topic in the Language and Literacies Research Cluster. Researchers and students work in a variety of areas relating to literacies in education (secondary and higher) and professional contexts.

Past and present studies have focused on writing in different disciplines (e.g. history, geography, history of science, health and social care, business and management); digital literacies in teacher development; writing by UK and international students; literacy practices in digital environments; developing teacher literacies through participation in e-reading groups; the writing for publication of scholars working in non-Anglophone contexts; and writing in professional social work practice. Methodologies include ethnography, multimodal analysis, corpus analysis, systemic functional linguistic analysis and discourse approaches, including critical discourse analysis and poststructuralist approaches.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent) and an MA or research methods training at MA level (or equivalent). If you are not a UK citizen, you may need to prove your knowledge of English.

Potential research projects

  • Academic literacies
  • The sociolinguistics of writing
  • Writing in social work education and professional practice
  • Writing for publication
  • Digital literacies in post-compulsory learning contexts
  • Writing in English as a lingua franca contexts
  • Writing in social and healthcare professional contexts
  • Writing in business and management education

Current/recent research projects

  • Students’ writing and transitions from school to university
  • A corpus-driven study of Chinese students’ undergraduate writing in UK universities
  • Explorations of student academic literacy practices in digital multimodal disciplinary contexts in South African vocational higher education
  • Women’s academic writing and widening participation in higher education in the UK
  • An exploration of subject tutor practice surrounding student writing in UK higher education
  • A study of how Canadian immigrants negotiate communication and establish relations in an employment preparation programme
  • Multimodal literacy and education in the context of new technologies
  • Scholarly writing for publication

Potential supervisors

Fees and funding

PhD fees

UK fee International fee
Full time: £4,500 per year Full time: £11,426 per year
Part time: £2,250 per year Part time: £5,715 per year

Professional doctorate fees

UK fee International fee
Part time: £3,427 per year Part time: £8,702 per year

Some of our research students are funded via the Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership or The Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership; others are self-funded.

For detailed information about fees and funding, and to see current funded studentship vacancies across all research areas, visit Fees and studentships.


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How to apply

Get in touch

If you have an enquiry specific to this research topic, please contact:

Dr Inma Álvarez, Director of Postgraduate Research Studies
Phone: +44 (0)1908 659169

Apply now

If you’re interested in applying for this research topic, please take a look at the application process.