PhD in Applied Linguistics

Four years $6,000 per academic year


The PhD in Applied Linguistics/TESOL allows students to examine the interconnections between linguistics and language acquisition in an in-depth fashion. The programme provides an understanding of various linguistic theories and methodologies from a wide range of perspectives (e.g., theoretical and applied). The research focus of the programme allows graduates to pursue a teaching/lecturing career in Applied Linguistics at both secondary and tertiary levels. The PhD programme is suitable for students who have been specialised in English Language, Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, TESOL, English Literature, sociolinguistics, Translation, Interpretation, or other specialties related to Applied Linguistics at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.  The programme entails full-time study, with students taking 60 credits of coursework during the first year of the programme, which are writing focused. The programme’s second year is devoted to working on a complete version of a dissertation proposal on a chosen original topic within Applied Linguistics that includes a near complete first three chapters (Introduction, Literature Review and Methodology) including a pilot study that tests the methods and instruments employed. Students are required to defend their proposal in front of a committee of UKH faculty. The third year of the programme is devoted to the students’ collecting data for their research and the fourth year focuses on the students writing up their findings and preparing to defend a final version of their dissertation.  The PhD programme in Applied Linguistics/TESOL provides students with an in-depth focus a chosen area of Applied Linguistics related to faculty specialties.   The main aims of PhD in Applied Linguistics/TESOL are to: 

  • provide an advanced study of Applied Linguistics that focuses on topics relevant to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (e.g. multilingualism, qualitative approaches to sociolinguistics, sociolinguistic variation, teaching methodologies, the role of L1 in teaching foreign languages, digital literacies and multimodality, among others).
  • promote understanding of the methods, theories and data collection practices for PhD research in Applied Linguistics.
  • facilitate the ability to apply theories of Applied Linguistics to advanced research study (e.g. sociocultural activity theory, translanguaging theory, decolonialisation theories and others).
  • develop advanced skills in conducting research, synthesising literature to critically express opinions and understanding of canonical and recent texts in Applied Linguistics.
  • enhance advanced skills of research and presentation specific to the Applied Linguistics.
  • lay the groundwork for students to conduct research on their own that contributes to the field of Applied Linguistics.
  • develop and assess the ideas of reading, re-reading and interpretation.
  • examine contemporary critical developments in Applied Linguistics.
  • conduct original research that employs a certain theory, trend, or a point of contention on which expert opinion is divided and current data are contradictory, and its application in the field of Applied Linguistics.

Admission Requirements

  • Candidates must have an average of not less than 60 and 70 in BSc and MSc respectively.
  • English Language Proficiency: Minimum English Language requirement is 68 in PTE – 7.0 in IELTS or 96 in TOEFL iBT.
  • An equalised transcript is required for students who have graduated from international institutions.
  • Note! Applicants dismissed for any reason from any university, school or college will not be considered.

  • Application Form: Online application form is required.
  • Official Transcripts: Provide a copy of your undergraduate transcript with your application.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Two recommendation letters are required to be submitted with your application, preferably one of which will be from a university academic.
  • Interview: Applicants who meet all of the academic entrance requirements will be invited to attend an interview at which they may be asked questions regarding their intended programme of study. The interview is a compulsory stage of the selection process.
  • Research Proposal
  • Applicants with high quality publications are preferred.
  • A copy of your CV.
  • A copy of your passport/ID.
  • One passport size photo.


Modules There are two compulsory courses for the PhD programme ENG 611 Current Issues in Applied Linguistics (30 Credits, Semester 1) Students will learn about current hot topics in the field and will be required to have an understanding of various theories, methods and current debates of importance to the field.   ENG 612 Research Methods in Applied Linguistics (30 Credits, Semester 2) Students will write a 7000-word research proposal that will draft the first three chapters of their dissertation (Introduction, Literature Review, & Methodology).   Upon successful completion of their first year of coursework, students will need to engage in serious PhD-level research in the three subsequent years of the programme on a full-time basis. Each PhD student will be assigned a supervisor who guides the research from early stages of a proposal to the production of a lengthy scholarly manuscript at the end, which will be evaluated by renowned experts in the field of Applied Linguistics. However, a PhD student is expected to work independently and benefit from other opportunities such as academic conferences and conventions to conduct and progress their research project. Prior to the submission of their theses, PhD students must have published at least one scholarly piece (e.g. articles, book chapters) in an internationally-reputable journal or book by a renowned international publishing body. A PhD thesis must be an empirically valid work with a compelling and original contribution to the knowledge in the field of Applied Linguistics.  

Skills Development

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