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?

A stimulating, supportive and engaged community is what I’ve found by coming to study and research Sociolinguistics at the University of Liverpool. Beside the plentiful of opportunities to deepen my subject knowledge, make transdisciplinary connections, and acquire new skills, at the beginning of my second year of full-time study I have already been able to attend a weeklong workshop in Vienna, publish my first paper and obtain funding to organise an international conference. The people-centred approach of the Department creates a sense of belonging to a community that is both thriving and exciting.

Jessica Iubini-Hampton - PhD in Sociolinguistics
  • 4th

    in sector overall for research classified as 'world leading (4*) or 'internationally excellent' (3*) in latest Research Excellence Framework (2021)

  • 19/62

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

  • 100%

    of research environment classified 'world leading' (4*) or 'internationally excellent' (3*) in the latest Research Excellence Framework (2021)


With specialists exploring sociolinguistic issues in the Francophone, Hispanophone, Lusophone and Italophone world, as well as in North Africa and 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. 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, Algeria 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.

Members of the research group are currently leading an AHRC-funded Research Network on Multilingual Memorialisation, working in collaboration with colleagues in Algeria, Cape Verde and Eritrea to explore the extent to which monuments and historical memory is presented multilingually in the public space.
They hosted the launch of the new Linguistics Section of the journal Modern Languages Open, with contributions from the section’s editorial board. The Linguistics Section is edited by Nicola Bermingham (University of Liverpool), and is supported by an Editorial Board which consists of Michelle Harrison (University of Leicester), Kerstin Hoge (University of Oxford), Adam Ledgeway (University of Cambridge) and Leigh Oakes (Queen Mary University of London).

Recent PhDs supervised include:

  • Young speakers of Mexican indigenous languages: Contesting language ideologies and policies
  • A Sociocognitive approach to audiovisual translated texts: Dubbing/Subtitling in TV Series (English/Italian)
  • 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.

Research themes

Our research themes are:

• Linguistic Landscapes
• New Speakers
• Language policy
• Minority and regional languages
• Language and new media
• The sociolinguistics of memorialisation
• Postcolonial sociolinguistics

Research interests

We particularly welcome research proposals that match those of our researchers, including linguistic landscapes, language policy and education, language and migration, 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 UK students International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,712
  • Faculty of Health and Life Sciences £27,800 (Band A)^
  • Faculty of Science and Engineering* £27,800 (Band A)^ or £21,850 (Band B)
  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences £21,850 (Band B)
Part time 4-6 years £2,356
  • Faculty of Health and Life Sciences £13,900 (Band A)^
  • Faculty of Science and Engineering* £13,900 (Band A)^ or £10,925 (Band B)
  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences £10,925 (Band B)

The fees stated in the table above exclude potential research support fees also known as ‘bench fees’. You will be notified of any fee which may apply in your offer letter.

* Please note that if you are undertaking a PhD within the Faculty of Science and Engineering the fee you pay, Band A or Band B, will reflect the nature of your research project. Some research projects incur a higher fee than others e.g. if you are required to undertake laboratory work. You will be informed of the fee for your programme in your offer letter.

^ Self-funded, full-time international students studying a PhD programme classified as Band A will receive a £2,000 reduction in their fees for the first year only.

Entry requirements

Applications are welcomed from both full-time and part-time students. For research degrees, we would normally expect applicants to have a BA or BSc degree of 2:1 standard (and also an MA) in a subject relevant to the proposed field of research.

English language requirements

IELTS Academic requirement - SELT and non-SELT Overall 6.5 no band below 6.0
TOEFL iBT requirement Minimum 88 overall with L 19 W 19 R 19 and S 20
C1 Advanced CAE requirement Overall 176 with no less than 169 in any paper
Trinity College London, Integrated Skills in English (ISE II)ISE II with an overall pass with merit in components
Cambridge IGCSE as a First LanguageGrade C
Cambridge IGCSE as a Second LanguageGrade B
Cambridge English Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (Proficiency)Overall 176 with 169 in components
Cambridge English Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (Advanced)Overall 176 with 169 in components
Cambridge English Level 2 Certificate in ESOL International (Advanced)Overall 176 with 169 in components

How to apply

Research degree applications can be made online.  You'll also need to ensure that you have funding to cover all fees.

Applications are open all year round.

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