PhD Intercultural Communication



The School of English and Languages is home to the internationally recognised postgraduate programmes in Intercultural Communication with International Business and Communication and International Marketing. The QS World University Rankings by Subject has put Surrey among the world’s top 200 institutions for academic work in communication and media. The School is also home to world-leading research centres such as the Surrey Morphology Group and TRANS: Transnational Literary and Cultural Studies.

Our work explores many different aspects of communication, including intercultural communication, language and migration, intergenerational communication and applied linguistics. Our research reflects the evolving nature of the discipline, encompassing an examination of communication in contemporary communicative contexts resulting from globalisation and new technologies.

Research degrees programme overview

This area of research investigates how intercultural exchanges are enacted when communication takes place between parties who share linguistic resources, but differ in the cultural backgrounds and assumptions they bring to bear upon the communication. Our interests include communication in commercial for profit settings, intergenerational communication with family and friends, institutional communication and communication in transnational contexts, resulting from globalisation.

At the core of our PhD programmes are the regular meetings that you will have with your supervisors. For us, writing is key to understanding and developing new perspectives: you will be submitting written work from the very start. In the first year, you will –with the guidance and support of your supervisors– lay the foundations of your research by refining your research proposal, engaging with the literature and planning the structure of your work, based on an agreed timetable. Throughout your studies, we are committed to thinking about your long-term career as well as your time at the University.

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Key to the planning of your work is training in transferable skills (for example, giving presentations and managing your time). You will gradually learn to work more independently as you progress into your second and third years, or the equivalent for part-time students. Your supervisors will guide you on how to present at conferences and the process of getting published.

Key research areas include:

  • Intercultural communication in (non) business settings
  • Intercultural pragmatics
  • Language ideologies and practices in transnational arenas
  • Self and Identities in language and communication
  • Old-age and youth communication across settings and cultures
  • Conversational interaction
  • Face management and politeness
  • Professional communication
  • Teaching and learning languages in Higher Education including
  • Computer-mediated communication and computer-assisted language learning
  • We particularly welcome topics that cross discipline boundaries.

Entry Requirements

A good first degree (a minimum 2.1 or equivalent) and an MA in a relevant topic. In exceptional cases, students with a good first degree will be considered for Creative Writing where there is a substantial or promising creative portfolio. Students are initially registered for a PhD with probationary status and, subject to satisfactory progress, are subsequently confirmed as having PhD status.

Non-native speakers of English are required to have IELTS 6.5 or above, with a minimum of 7.0 in the Writing component.

Studentship opportunities

An annual Faculty of Arts and Humanities Studentship is available on a competitive basis.

Research centres / groups

  • TRANS: Transnational Literary and Cultural Studies
  • Surrey Morphology Group
  • Centre for Translation Studies
  • English and Languages

Further information
For full programme information and information on how to apply, please click on the ‘Apply’ button below.

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