Sociolinguistics PhD

The nexus between people and language is where most sociolinguistic research takes place, and at the University of Liverpool, research in sociolinguistics focuses in particular on the relationship between society and language, drawing on expertise from Modern Languages.

Why study with us?

The University of Liverpool is home to many knowledgeable linguistic landscape experts and it is a privilege to be working with them.

Jasem Eidan - Sociolinguistics PhD student
  • 72%

    of our publications were rated 4* and 3* ('world leading' and 'internationally excellent').

  • 19/62

    in the Guardian League Table for Modern Languages and Linguistics for 2018.

  • 90%

    of environment was also rated 4* and 3* REF (2014).


With specialists exploring sociolinguistic issues in the Francophone, Hispanophone and Italophone world, as well as in the Middle East, Sociolinguistics at the University of Liverpool is ideally positioned to provide a range of national and transnational perspectives on research into language and society. 

Sociolinguistics at the University of Liverpool is home to a critical mass of researchers examining the Linguistic Landscape, including a wide range of questions around language in the public space. The Department of Modern Languages & Cultures boasts two members of the Editorial Board of the journal Linguistic Landscape: An International Journal, including the editor, and in 2016, the University of Liverpool hosted the eighth international Linguistic Landscape Workshop. In addition to testing out methodological approaches to language in the public space, researchers in Sociolinguistics at the University of Liverpool consider the linguistic landscapes of France and Italy, with particular emphasis on regional and minority languages. This work has also been extended into the Middle East with recent projects undertaken in Jordan and Kuwait.

In addition, researchers in Sociolinguistics at the University of Liverpool explore the themes of migration studies and minority languages as part of the rapidly burgeoning field of new speakers. Set against a context of language policy, language ideologies, and linguistic legitimacy, colleagues have tackled issues around linguistic capital.

Recent PhDs supervised include:

  • Regional Languages in the Linguistic Landscape: The visibility and status of Occitan and Corsican in southern France
  • Brand Names in the Linguistic Landscape of Aqaba, Jordan
  • Managing France's Regional languages: Language policy in bilingual education in Alsace
  • Investigating Current Language Policy in Alicante: a case study
  • Multilingualism in the Linguistic Landscape of Urban Jordan.

Our research interests

We particularly welcome research proposals that match those of our researchers, including linguistic landscapes, language policy, language and migration, and new media.

Research themes

Our research themes are:

  • Linguistic Landscapes
  • New Speakers
  • Language Policy
  • Minority and regional languages
  • Language and new media.


The University of Liverpool has excellent research facilities within the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences. For postgraduate researchers, these include designated shared office space and access to a vast repository of sociolinguistic journals (including e-journals), through the Sydney Jones Library.

As a postgraduate researcher at the University of Liverpool, you will become part of the Liverpool Doctoral College. The LDC supports all postgraduate researchers across the University to thrive in their doctoral programme with our dedicated team of esteemed supervisors, professional services staff, and student peers, ensuring that our students succeed in their studies.

Research groups

  • Image, Sound and Performance and Conflict
  • Memory and Heritage
  • Place, Space and Belonging
  • Media Histories: From Manuscript to Digital

Study options and fees

PhD Duration Home/EU Students International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,407* (2020) £23,650* ^ (lab based programmes)
£18,000* (non Lab based programmes) (2020).
Part time 4-6 years £2,204* (2020) £11,825* (lab based programmes) £9,000* (non Lab based programmes) (2020)

*This fees excludes potential research support fees also known as ‘bench fees. You will be notified of any fee which may apply in your offer letter.

^Self funded full time international students studying a lab based programme will receive a £2,000 reduction in their fees for the first year only.

Entry requirements

Applications are welcomed from well qualified graduates who would typically hold a UK first degree or equivalent in the first or 2:1 class, or a 2:2 class degree plus a Masters degree, in a relevant subject.

We welcome applications from within the EU and around the world. You should ensure that your qualifications are equivalent to those required to study for this research degree. See our guidance on international qualifications.

You must also have reached a minimum standard of English and be able to provide evidence of this. See our English language requirements for international students.

How to apply

Research degree applications can be made online.  Before you apply, we recommend that you identify a supervisor and develop a research proposal.  You'll also need to ensure that you have funding to cover all fees.

Applications are open all year round.

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Your supervisor is your main source of academic support and mentoring. You'll need to find a supervisor before you start your research degree. It's helpful to identify a supervisor and discuss your research proposal before you apply.

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