You are viewing information for England.  Change country or region.
Research degrees
Research areas
Languages and applied linguistics
Language as a social semiotic in education

Language as a social semiotic in education

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

A key focus of work in the Language and Literacies Research Cluster is a social semiotic approach to learning and teaching. Our research explores language use across academic subject areas and among users, and the implications for students and teachers. Projects to date have focused on learning and teaching in higher education in applied subject areas, including health and social care, education, and media studies. The work draws on systemic functional linguistics and a number of related theories to locate language as a primary semiotic mode in the increasingly multimodal world of education.

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

  • The analysis of educational dialogues in formal and informal settings
  • The technological mediation of learning and teaching
  • The use of multimodal environments for language learning and teaching
  • Processes of learning and teaching in the creative arts
  • Teaching and learning across the disciplines

Current/recent research projects

  • Sociocultural understandings of technology-mediated educational practices: Improvable objects and meaning-making trajectories in the ICT-literate classroom
  • How is creative work shaped by interaction when undergraduate composers work with each other and with students from other disciplines?
  • Video conferencing and multimodal expression of voice: Children’s conversations in English as their second language
  • Gesture: multimodal learner interaction via videoconferencing on mobile devices in a framework of negotiation of meaning

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.


Teacher and pupils in classroom

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.