Faculty of Humanities

May 2025 Entry

About Programme
How to Apply

The research focus in the department is on applied linguistics, sociolinguistics and professional communication. Thematically, the research covers major areas such as health communication, political communication, digital media communication, advertising and (city) branding, language teaching and learning, and core areas in linguistics, including the study of language in society and discourse analysis.

Research Area

Area Studies and Intercultural Communication

This profile encompasses research on the linguistic and socio-cultural aspects of particular areas, such as Hong Kong and Europe. Research topics include intercultural communication in professional contexts, with emphases on English, German, French and Spanish speaking cultures, intercultural communicative competencies, cultural identities in multilingual workplaces, intercultural and intergroup communication, language attitudes and stereotypes, and language and gender.

Please refer to the departmental webpage for the information on the potential supervisor.

English Language and (Applied) Linguistics

This research profile includes all areas of linguistics, English language and systemic functional linguistics, including grammar, lexicology, lexicography, pragmatics, semantics, phonetics, phonology, discourse analysis, conversation analysis, corpus linguistics, typology, and description and theory of languages and other semiotic systems.

Please refer to the departmental webpage for the information on the potential supervisor.

Language and Professional Communication

This research profile focuses on all areas relating to Language and Professional Communication, including lexico-grammatical, discourse, genre and pragmatic studies in professional contexts, organisational communication, intercultural and professional communicative competencies, cultural identities in the multilingual and multicultural workplaces, and English for specific purposes.

Please refer to the departmental webpage for the information on the potential supervisor.

Language Teaching and Learning

This research area covers all aspects of language teaching and learning, including the teaching and learning of English and other languages, second language acquisition, needs analysis, programme evaluation, language policy, language in education, change management, teacher learning and professional development, multimodal features involved in teaching and learning, pronunciation, learner language corpora, corpus-driven studies of pedagogical grammar, classroom discourse, language across the curriculum, academic literacy, genre based pedagogy, pedagogy and curriculum development and English for academic purposes (EAP).

Please refer to the departmental webpage for the information on the potential supervisor.

Media and Communication

This research area focuses on all aspects of media communication in various contexts, including but not limited to creative cultural industries, public communication, and corporate communication. Research in this area analyses language, image, sound and other semiotic resources in old and new (creative) media, such as advertisements, news, comics, film, and television from different theoretical approaches.

Please refer to the departmental webpage for the information on the potential supervisor.

Research Facilities

The Department currently has two research Centres. These are the Research Centre for Professional Communication in English (RCPCE) (Prof. Kathleen Ahrens) and International Research Centre for the Advancement of Health Communication (IRCAHC) (Prof. Bernadette Watson).


The Department also has comprehensive research facilities and labs for the use of the RPG students.  The Computer Lab contains the following facilities for students:

  • Leximancer

  • Wmatrix

  • SPSS
  • ConGram
  • Endnote
  • British National Corpus via Xaira
  • Praat
  • Adobe Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Audition, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Lightroom, etc.
Other Information

Prior to official application, all applicants are expected to submit a preliminary proposal of their research project to their potential supervisor with a cover letter clearly indicating their proposed field of study and their motivation for applying to study with this particular supervisor (i.e. what previous research has the supervisor done that is particularly interesting to them and relevant to their own line of study.) Please refer to the departmental webpage for the information on the potential supervisor. The letter should also clearly indicate their academic background, including graduating institutions and GPA.

Supporting Documents
Academic Referee's Report

Compulsory - Two Academic Referee's Reports are required.

Research Proposal

Compulsory - A standard form must be used for the submission of research proposal.  Please click here to download the form.

Transcript / Certificate

Compulsory - Both Transcript(s) with grading system(s) and Certificate(s) are required.


Compulsory - Cover Letter to Supervisor is required.