Key information



Types of study

Full time / Part time


Full-time: normally 3-4 years / Part-time: normally 6-8 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. 

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

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

How to find a supervisor

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.

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.)

Please follow this format when you email a specific supervisor:

  • 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.

If you have any general queries about PhD application, please email Admissions Office at

If you have any general queries for the School about the PhD programme, please email the School's PGR Director, Dr Ashley Yoon Mooi Ng at

Many of your queries can be answered with the information provided on this webpage, the Graduate School's How to apply webpage, and other webpages of the Graduate School. It is highly recommended to check these webpages before emailing us.

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. 

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

Please note that admission to UNNC is very competitive, and that meeting the minimum entry requirements does not guarantee an offer of a place. At the School of Education and English we currently receive a very large number of queries about PhD study, and the majority of prospective applicants are unfortunately unable to be matched with an available supervisor.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 7.0 (minimum 6.0 in all elements)
  • PTE Academic: 76 (minimum 65)
  • 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 “How to Find a Supervisor” 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

Student Recruitment and Admission Office (before application submission)

Room 231, Trent Building
University of Nottingham Ningbo China
199 Taikang East Road, Ningbo, 315100, China

T. +86 (0) 574 8818 0182

Graduate School (after application submission)

Room 451-2, Trent Building
University of Nottingham Ningbo China
199 Taikang East Road, Ningbo, 315100, China