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Language, Discourse & Communication MPhil / PhD with option of a joint MPhil/PhD with HKU/NUS

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The School of Education, Communication and Society (ECS) at King’s College London is a leading home of interdisciplinary social science research, with particular strengths in public policy, STEM education and linguistics. It was ranked 2nd in the UK for research quality in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). We are looking for outstanding candidates to join a supportive and dynamic research community.

Students are supervised by staff in one or more of our three Research Centres:

  • Centre for Research in Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
  • Centre for Public Policy Research
  • Centre for Language Discourse and Communication

In addition to its world-leading academic contributions, the School has a proud history of contributing to public policy debates and the concerns of professional communities of practice across multiple sectors, both nationally and internationally.  We provide programmes of study that lead doctoral students to the cutting edge of knowledge, and help education professionals critically analyse, research and effectively respond to changes in thinking and policy in their fields.

We recommend that prospective students read through the Research Centre webpages to find their preferred area of research and potential supervisor.

Information is current, but staff members can change.

Key information

Duration 2-4 years FT, 4-6 years PT. Students can start the programme in September (mid-end of)/October (beginning of). The official start date would be 1 October or, students can start the programme in February (beginning of). The official start date would be 1 February. The compulsory induction is usually held earlier than the official start date. Please contact the PGR Programme Officer for more information (doctoral-students-ecs@kcl.ac.uk)

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Further details

Awarding institution King's College London/King's and HKU/NUS for joint programme

Faculty Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy

Department School of Education, Communication & Society



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Course detail


The School offers extensive research training and supervision on a range of themes including the dynamics of language and literacy within globalisation and intercultural contact, and we focus on language, literacy and discourse in everyday interaction, in education, literature, and popular culture, in new & mass media, and in medical and workplace settings.

There is a particular emphasis on rigorous interdisciplinary and critical perspectives with staff and students working in and across a range of disciplines.

We also run MPhil and PhD programmes in Education Research and Interdisciplinary Policy Studies. We are home to  a range of research projects, funded by research councils (ESRC and AHRC) and major charities (e.g. Wellcome, Leverhulme and Nuffield).

Current/ recent PhD topics include:

‘The co-construction of ageing identities: a linguistic ethnography of older women’s talk and practices in a hair salon’; ‘The Development of Metaphor Comprehension in Arabic-Speaking Children’.

Course study environment

The Centre for Language, Discourse & Communication offers a supportive, lively and cutting-edge research environment that will compliment the support MPhil/PhD students receive from their departments and their partner organisation. All students are allocated two supervisors, who will work with you through your studies.

Postgraduate training

The Centre for Language, Discourse & Communication runs a number of seminar series, some in collaboration with other parts of the University of London. These include: LDC Seminars; LDC Research Days; Research workshop in language and literacy (RWLL); Micro-Discourse Analysis data sessions (MDA); Cross-London Seminars in Culture & Communication (XLS); Language, Mind & Society. Students are also encouraged to participate in the training provided by the College-wide Social Science Doctoral Training Centre.

Head of group/division

Professor Alexandra Georgakopoulou-Nunes and Professor Beatrice Szczepek Reed

Contact for information

Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office
tel: +44 (0)20 7848 7429
fax: +44 (0)20 7848 7200 

Professor Ben Rampton Professor
Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 3711
Fax: +44 (0)20 7848 3182

Dr Alexandra Georgakopoulou
Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 2629

Contact email

Course website

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

LDC Research Entry Requirements
Minimum UK requirements   Minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree and a Masters degree with at least a high Merit in a subject appropriate to the research area. 
International requirements   Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
English Language requirements Band B Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.


Applicants should provide evidence of capacity to work at distinction level, and a piece of independently produced academic work (e.g. a Master’s essay/dissertation or published or unpublished paper) that has been assessed by the supervisor and admissions tutor as showing potential for doctoral level work.

An approved professional qualification and extensive practical experience in the relevant field may be taken into account when evaluating an application.

Those applying for the joint degree are encouraged to contact an academic at King's to develop research links with the partner institution.

Application procedure

First identify a potential supervisor who will be able to support the application, by searching our Research Centre pages. You will need to complete a case for support, the specific nature of this will vary according to the supervisor.

After you have applied
Your application will be considered carefully. Applicants may be invited for an interview. (either in person or via phone/skype). We try to process all applications within six weeks of the receipt of a completed application form.

We strongly encourage you to apply well in advance of the time when you would like to begin your study. Starting an MPhil/PhD can involve a lot of organisation, arranging accommodation, financial support etc.

For more guidance see our Application FAQs.

Personal statement and supporting information

This requires a research proposal of 500 - 1,000 words covering the research questions, the research area, the potential fieldsite, the methodology, timescale of the project and an indication of the relevant literature. In addition a Personal Statement up to 500 words explaining your personal and/or professional interest in the research area and topic.

Course intake

No set number.

Joint PhDs - Application advice

Applicants for the Joint PhD programme must contact the relevant departments at both universities before submitting an application in order to discuss the suitability of their topic for the joint programme and to locate potential supervisors. Applications should initially be submitted to the proposed home institution only, ie where the student will start and finish their programme. Students should note that acceptance onto the programme may take slightly longer than for single-institution PhDs because of the additional steps involved. Further details, including FAQs, can be found on the King’s Worldwide web pages.

Applicants who choose King’s as their home institution should apply through the online system, selecting the appropriate Joint PhD option from the drop-down list. In addition to the standard supporting documentation, applicants should submit a Travel Plan form indicating how they intend to divide their time between the two partner institutions. Students must spend a specified amount of time in each institution, details of which can be found in the ‘Notes’ section of the Travel Plan form.

It is recommended that students submit applications for the Joint PhD programme by the end of March to begin the following September.

Application closing date

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible as we may need to request further information from you to assess your application. This is also important if your application is successful and you are required to meet any offer condition, and/or you need a Student Visa to study here at King's.

The final application deadlines are detailed below; on these dates, the programme will close at 23:59 (UK time) and we will open for the corresponding intake in 2023 soon after the same intake has passed in 2022.

  • February 2022 entry – 12 November 2021 for Overseas fee status and 6 December 2021 for Home fee status

  • June 2022 entry – 1 April 2022 for Overseas fee status and 11 April 2022 for Home fee status

  • October 2022 entry – 29 July 2022 for Overseas fee status and 26 August 2022 for Home fee status

  • February 2023 entry – 21 October 2022 for Overseas fee status and 22 November 2022 for Home fee status

  • June 2023 entry – 3 April 2023 for Overseas fee status and 17 April 2023 for Home fee status

Please note that funding deadlines may be earlier than the application deadlines listed above.

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

International Foundation

Fees and funding

UK Tuition Fees 2021/22

Full time tuition fees: £5,820 per year

Part time tuition fees: £2,910 per year

International Tuition Fees 2021/22

Full time tuition fees: £21,870 per year

Part time tuition fees: £10,935 per year

UK Tuition Fees 2022/23

Full time tuition fees: £6,120 per year

Part time tuition fees: £3,060 per year

International Tuition Fees 2022/23

Full time tuition fees: £22,980 per year

Part time tuition fees: £11,490 per year

EU Students starting their programme in the academic year 2021/22 will pay international tuition fees.

These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King's terms and conditions.

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.


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Next steps

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Learn more about postgraduate degree programmes at King's.

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