Postgraduate Degrees by Research
Linguistics is recognised as a subject for MA and PhD Degrees. The Linguistics Programme in the English Department at the University of Otago has very active research programmes in cognitive linguistics, linguistic typology, second language acquisition, language teacher development, sociocultural theory, bilingual reading, and narrative. Staff members have been making significant contributions to these areas. Students will find the Department an ideal place in which to study and do research in what may be broadly characterised as a functional paradigm, which is polemically opposed to the generative paradigm. The members of staff have been invited to many international conferences and workshops in Australia, Germany, Japan and the United States. They are on the editorial boards of a number of international journals and monograph series. There has recently also been some interdisciplinary research cooperation with the Information Science Department on speech recognition.
For more information on postgraduate study at doctoral level please review the University's PhD Handbook and the Humanities Division webpage, which features links to information for postgraduate resources and support, including the application for Divisional PhD Conference funding.
Linguistics has a large, varied and successful postgraduate student population given the small size of its programme. It has an outstanding record in securing scholarships for both MA and PhD students. Both former and current students have presentations and publications in local and international outlets. A number of our former PhD students hold academic appointments both in New Zealand and abroad. Please see our postgraduate student profiles page and the topics of past theses.
There are two stages in a postgraduate application: preliminary and formal. The preliminary interest stage is conducted within the Linguistics Programme. It must be undertaken prior to the formal application stage. Proceeding to the formal application phase without having first completed the preliminary interest stage and having received an explicit agreement for supervision from a supervisor and the postgraduate coordinator will delay your application.
The Linguistics Programme (in the Department of English and Linguistics) at Otago regularly receives enquiries about MA and PhD study. It is therefore in your interests to ensure you provide sufficient information to assist the processing of your enquiry.
Please email your enquiry, along with all relevant information (see details below), to Dr Anne Feryok.
Please select the appropriate link below and read the material there before submitting your enquiry, as the department will not be able to supervise you unless you are able to meet the general admission requirements.
Upon receipt of your email, the postgraduate coordinator will review your information and contact you.
Please consult the university website if you have not already done so. All applicants should consult the page on Postgraduate students. If you are an international student, also consult the International Students webpages.
Potential applicants to PhD study in Linguistics are expected to have
• an MA with a research component (40,000-50,000 word thesis),
• an overall GPA of B+ or better,
• and a topic in an area of staff expertise and interest.
If you do not meet these requirements you are unlikely to receive a favorable reply to your enquiry. (For a PhD, exceptional students with a BA(Hons) with a research component and an A average working on a suitable topic may be considered. Typically, such students will have done their BA(Hons) at Otago or another New Zealand or Australian university and be personally known to staff.)
Consult staff webpages as a general guide to staff research interests. Staff may indicate many interests but prefer some topics, approaches, and methods to others. Consult their recent publications for more precise information about their current areas of interest.
Preliminary Interest Stage
Please provide evidence of meeting the above requirements when you initiate contact with Dr Anne Feryok, the Linguistics Postgraduate Coordinator. Dr Feryok will determine if anyone is interested in your topic and let you know the outcome of this preliminary step.
If a staff member expresses interest in your topic, you will be asked to provide (if you have not done so already)
- a CV with contact details for one to three academic referees, one of them being your MA thesis supervisor (do not provide letters),
- a copy of the transcript of your most recent degree, with certified translation provided if necessary (do not translate yourself),
- a copy of a recent IELTS or TOEFL test (see International Students pages on the university website for details) if your degree was not obtained in an English–speaking country,
- a referenced proposal situating your study in the theoretical and research literature, providing research questions, and describing the methodology of the study (for a PhD 2,500-3,000 words).
- If a staff member continues to express interest in your proposed study, you will be placed in contact with them for further discussion concerning your suitability. Staff members often request further clarification of the proposed study, revisions to the proposal, a Skype interview, or other ways of deciding whether they will offer supervision.
If a staff member explicitly agrees to supervise you, they will do so by an email copied to the postgraduate coordinator. If all documentation has been provided, the postgraduate coordinator will advise you to proceed to the formal stage of the application process, the online application.
Please see the Linguistics Postgraduate Booklet for further information.