PhD in TESOL Research


Program Description


This PhD course is entirely dedicated to TESOL Research. This doctorate will be of interest to those who have a background in languages, linguistics, applied linguistics, or a related field as well as to language teaching practitioners who have a keen interest in research.

This course will develop your research skills and set you on the path to becoming an autonomous researcher. The PhD is a significant qualification which will mark you out as an expert researcher in the field of teaching English to speakers of other languages. You’ll achieve new skills in understanding complex matters, sharpen your problem-solving abilities, increase your confidence as a researcher and expand your knowledge of the field while also enjoying the PhD experience.

We’ll support you throughout your time on the PhD TESOL Research. Before embarking on your thesis investigation, the course will foster your research skills development through seven taught modules on TESOL, research methods and educational theories. Our PhD in TESOL Research will provide you with an opportunity to go beyond what would be required from a Masters of Research (MRes) and an Educational Doctorate (EdD) in that you’ll produce a more substantial 60,000-word thesis.

The academic environment at the University of Stirling will not only give you freedom and challenges, but it will also provide you with numerous chances for intellectual debate with fellow experts. Your PhD journey will shape your future like no other qualification – academically, professionally and personally.

By graduation, you’ll be a well-rounded professional researcher who:

  • has knowledge of the wider educational field
  • is proficient in the use of both quantitative and qualitative methods
  • has the skills needed to research any area within TESOL
  • is able to make a contribution to scholarly knowledge and professional practice

Top reasons to study with us

#1 Study in a vibrant academic division, which is ranked top 10 in the UK for Education (The Complete University Guide 2019)

#2 Receive dedicated support in your knowledge and research development process from day one of your PhD

#3 Benefit from a flexible programme delivered intensively, allowing you to read and research extensively


The taught modules in this ground-breaking PhD in TESOL Research course are delivered on a face-to-face and blended basis. The delivery style such as lectures, workshops and student presentations are carefully selected to suit the module content and your needs.

You’ll benefit from a flexible course delivered intensively (mostly on Fridays), allowing you to read and research extensively.

TESOL students are also invited to the TESOL Researcher Development Group meetings as well as to our English Language Teaching and Research (ELTR) events, which are delivered by leading researchers and professionals.

In the most recent study by QS, staff from the University of Stirling received a 5 out of 5-star rating for teaching (QS World University Rankings 2018).


Assessments for the taught modules will vary depending on their respective learning outcomes and may include a presentation, annotated bibliography, essay, and research proposal. For each 20-credit module, you’ll be asked to produce a piece of work which is equivalent to a 3,000-word essay. Your final assignment will be the production of original research to be reported in a 60,000-word thesis.

Students who have passed three of the 20-credit modules (including two core) but do not proceed to the other taught modules will exit with a Postgraduate Certificate in TESOL Research.

Students who have passed six of the 20-credit modules (including the four core) but do not proceed to TESOL Research Practice (TESPR03) will exit with a Postgraduate Diploma in TESOL Research.

Candidates who have passed all seven taught modules but do not proceed to the Thesis (TESPR04) will exit with an MRes in TESOL Research.

Study abroad

As a student on our PhD TESOL Research course, you have the fantastic opportunity to gain valuable work experience teaching English to speakers of English as a foreign language in 33 European countries through Erasmus+ traineeships.

The University of Stirling has also developed close working partnerships with two universities around the world to make finding a placement as seamless as possible and give you tailored teaching and learning opportunities. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you can apply for a placement with:

Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Germany

Undertake class observation, small-group supervision and teaching assistance in a local high school. During the school holiday, you will have a chance to work with materials development or with writing support at the university.

Széchenyi István University, Hungary

Get involved in class observation and teaching at the university or the university’s practice school.

Application information will be provided to students undertaking our PhD TESOL Research.

Course director

Dr Vander Viana

+44 (0) 1786 467681

Fees - 2018/2019

  • Overseas, Year 1: £15,250, Year 2: £13,250, Year 3: £13,250, Year 4 (If required): £13,250
  • Home/EU Year 1: £6,200, Year 2: £4,260, Year 3: £4,260, Year 4(If required): £4,260
Last updated Nov 2020

About the School

At the University of Stirling, being the difference is in our DNA – providing education with a purpose and carrying out research that helps to shape society.

At the University of Stirling, being the difference is in our DNA – providing education with a purpose and carrying out research that helps to shape society. Read less