Key information


PhD Education, PhD English Studies (School of Education and English)

Types of study

Full time


3 years

Start date

February or September each year

Programme overview

The PhD programme offers flexible supervision between the University of Nottingham Ningbo China and the University of Nottingham (UK). Students will be registered at the University of Nottingham Ningbo, China, and graduates will be awarded a University of Nottingham (UK) degree, which is also recognised by the Chinese Ministry of Education. Depending on the proposed area of research, students may be required to spend part of their studies at the University of Nottingham (UK). Supervision between the campuses will be settled for each individual student. 

We teach postgraduate programmes designed to fully prepare the rising stars in the education sector for the challenges of a rapidly-transforming system. Our experts design courses suited to the unique requirements of individual institutions that would like to ensure that their professionals are abreast of the latest developments, practices and strategies in the field.

You can find information about some of our School’s current and recent PhD students here.

(As an alternative to the PhD, the School of Education and English also has a Professional Doctorate in Education – EdD – programme, designed for experienced education professionals to develop the critical knowledge and skills necessary to undertake their own research and thereby improve their educational practices and contexts. Please check the webpages on the EdD to find out more.)

Research interests

Currently, we are interested in supervising PhD study in the areas listed below. To identify staff who supervise PhDs in these areas, please check faculty individual profiles on our People webpages.

  • English for Academic Purposes
  • English for Specific Purposes
  • second language acquisition
  • robust technology enhanced second language learning
  • language teacher training and development, teacher expertise and identity
  • language teacher classroom practice and pedagogy
  • materials writing in English Language Teaching
  • multilingualism, multilingual education
  • bilingual literacy development
  • English medium instruction, transiting from non-EMI to EMI/EAP learning
  • translanguaging as a pedagogy
  • corporate cross-cultural training
  • business/workplace communication
  • World Englishes, English as a lingua franca
  • language policy
  • sociolinguistics and the application of linguistic measures towards solving language, education, ethnic and related problems in multilingual communities
  • higher education
  • internationalisation of higher education
  • academic literacies
  • graduate/student identity, graduate employability
  • excellence in classroom learning, teaching and professional practice
  • learner and teacher change
  • systemic functional linguistics
  • Canadian literature
  • theatre in and for education
  • English literature and drama
  • action research and educational practitioners
  • research methods in education
  • leadership in crisis, toxic leadership
  • leadership and cultural context
  • teacher well-being
  • Universities of the Third Age
  • rural education
  • multimodality
  • classroom discourse analysis
  • literacy research
  • genre studies
  • contextualization
  • learning style and scaffolding within L2 contexts
  • exploration of learners’ engagements with texts
  • intercultural communication
  • discourse analysis
  • pragmatics
  • stylistics
  • agency, agentivity
  • semantics
  • psycholinguistics
  • cognitive neuroscience of language
  • effects of aging on language learning
  • corpus linguistics
  • language assessment/testing
  • research communication
  • pedagogy in non-language subjects (e.g. sciences, mathematics, history)
  • content and language integrated learning (CLIL), content-based instruction (CBI)
  • online/digital education
  • comparative education
  • curriculum studies
  • learner autonomy and motivation
  • multimodal critical discourse analysis
  • media discourse studies
  • business discourse analysis
  • female identity from different cultural perspectives
  • gender/women/feminism in/and translation, (feminist) translation history
  • mobile translation and language learning
  • museum narratives and translation
  • war interpreting/interpreters
  • translation and intercultural communication
  • sociocultural meanings of translation
  • media framing and translation studies
  • translation of texts with cultural-specific items
  • city branding
  • didactics of translation and interpretation


As discussed on the Graduate School’s How to Apply webpage, it is expected that you make contact with a supervisor who agrees for you to study under their supervision, before you submit your application for a PhD. There are two ways to make contact with a supervisor:

  1. Email a specific supervisor Look through the School of Education and English People webpages and find a supervisor whose research interests and experience may match your own research proposal. Then email the supervisor with the information below. (Please, do not contact several supervisors at the same time. Our faculty work closely together, and applicants who send bulk emails to a large number of faculty at once are unlikely to be considered as suitable for enrolment.)
  2. If you can’t identify a supervisor yourself, email the School PhD Coordinator If you are unable to find a suitable supervisor listed on the People webpages, or the staff you contact is not available for supervision, you can alternatively email the School’s PhD coordinator at The PhD Coordinator collates these emails and shares them with all faculty several times a semester. Any potential supervisor will then contact you directly. (Please note that the PhD coordinator is unable to offer help developing research proposals.)

Whether you email a specific supervisor or email the School PhD Coordinator, please follow this format:

  • Email subject: Contact for PhD supervision
  • Attachments: Research proposal; CV; transcript from your most recent completed degree (usually Masters degree transcript) showing that you meet the entry requirements detailed above
  • Email body: Within the body of your email, please make sure to include the title of your research proposal, and also your full name.

If a supervisor believes their expertise, current research focus, and available capacity may be suited to your research project, and assuming that your application meets the entry requirements, the supervisor will contact you directly to arrange an interview. This may be in-person or online. If successful at this interview with the supervisor, you will then be invited to submit your formal application to the Graduate School, with your supervisor identified on the application form.

Please be advised, currently most queries trying to find a suitable supervisor are ultimately unsuccessful. It is difficult to match an application with a supervisor who has the available capacity as well as the appropriate expertise and research focus. We try to respond to all applicants attempting to find a supervisor within one month of your email, either to let you know that no suitable supervisor was found or to invite you to interview. This response time may be longer during holiday periods or at particularly busy times of the year.

If you have a query, please first make sure that it isn’t already answered on this webpage, on the Graduate School’s How to apply webpage, or on the other webpages of the Graduate School.

If you have already checked these webpages and made sure that your query isn’t answered, you should email Graduate School enquiries at

Entry requirements

To be enrolled onto a PhD programme, it is generally expected that you hold a Masters degree. For degrees studied in the UK system, your undergraduate degree should be at 2.1 level and/or your Masters degree at Merit level, in a relevant subject. For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.0 out of 4.0. For applicants with a degree from China, the minimum weighted average score is 80 out 100. Applicants with other international qualifications should meet the equivalent of the above UK minimum entry requirement. Please note that admission to UNNC is very competitive and that meeting the minimum entry requirements does not guarantee an offer of a place.

You can find information about the academic and professional backgrounds of some of our School’s current and graduated PhD students here.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 7.0(minimum 6.0 in all elements)
  • PTE Academic: 67(minimum 55)

  • TOEFL (IBT): 100 (minimum 20 in Speaking and 19 in all other elements)

How to apply

Key dates

We usually admit PhD students in February and September each year, with most joining in September. Please check the Graduate School’s How to apply webpage for details of their application deadlines. Since you are expected to arrange a supervisor before submitting the application to the Graduate School, it is best to contact a potential supervisor well in advance of the relevant application deadline.

How to apply

Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about applying for postgraduate research. Information about making contact with a potential PhD supervisor, before you submit your application, can be found at “Supervisor List” above.

Fees and funding


Please follow the Graduate School's fee information for details.


The School awards a full PhD scholarship once a year. Note that competition for this scholarship is very strong and students are advised to explore additional external sources of funding. Please see the University's PhD scholarships pages for further information. 

More information


Graduate School enquires

Room 340-341, Trent Building
University of Nottingham Ningbo China
199 Taikang East Road, Ningbo, 315100, China


School of Education and English PhD Coordinator

University of Nottingham Ningbo China
199 Taikang East Road, Ningbo, 315100, China