English, Culture and Communication


The PhD in English, Culture and Communication aims to help candidates produce academic results that contribute to the discipline and wider communities. We equip our students with theories and skills, provide academic support, and link them with industry, society and the globe.

Students will become independent researchers in areas including English language and culture, linguistics and applied linguistics, literature, translation and interpreting, film, digital media arts, arts and technology, entertainment industries, and media and communication.

The programme will be managed through collaboration between Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University and the University of Liverpool. Upon successful completion of the programme, you will receive a degree from the University of Liverpool, which is recognised by China’s Ministry of Education.

Pursuing a full-time PhD typically involves three years of conducting research and one year of writing a thesis, supported by subject-specific and general skills training and development. A full-time PhD student must submit their thesis within four years (or six years for part-time PhD students).

Why should I do my PhD in English, Culture and Communication at XJTLU?

Key benefits of this PhD programme:

  • The PhD degree is awarded by the University of Liverpool in the UK. The degree is recognised by the UK Department of Education as well as China’s Ministry of Education;
  • XJTLU provides every registered PhD student with an international conference fund of up to 16,500 RMB. The purpose of this fund is to support students’ academic experience, encourage the dissemination of research, and enhance XJTLU’s research profile nationally and internationally;
  • As a registered full-time PhD student, you have the opportunity to apply for a research visit to the University of Liverpool for up to six months. Your accommodation and travel costs will be covered by XJTLU and the University of Liverpool;
  • You will receive training in research methodology, engage in the research community at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Academy of Film and Creative Technology, and School of Cultural Technology; and
  • You will develop critical thinking skills to analyse complex, interconnected research questions across a variety of platforms and technologies. You will also have opportunities to disseminate your research within the University and beyond.

This programme aims to:

  • help students evaluate the existing literature and formulate relevant and original research questions;
  • equip students with research methodologies and help them design and implement new research projects;
  • help students apply rigorous standards of argumentation to their work;
  • develop students’ skills to evaluate their own work and argumentation, revise it where needed, and to defend it and understand its place in the context of the wider field of study;
  • make students cognizant of research integrity and ethics; and
  • support students in the planning, implementation, and completion of their research project.

Research areas:

  • Language and linguistics, including corpus linguistics, cognitive linguistics, discourse analysis, English linguistics, Chinese linguistics, historical linguistics, history of English, phonetics and phonology, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, semantics, pragmatics, syntax, and language and media.
  • Applied linguistics, including language and technology, language pedagogy, TESOL, multilingualism, and second language acquisition.
  • Literature, including Romanticism, Victorianism, modernism, twentieth-century and contemporary literature, environmental humanities, medical humanities, Gothic literature, cognitive literary studies, utopianism, literature and ethnicity, and literature and gender.
  • Translation and interpreting, including media translation, translation technology, translation and interpreting education, translation and culture, literary translation, theatre translation, translation history, comparative literature, translation ethics, and discourse analysis for translation.
  • Digital and new media, including citizen media, digital archives, digital ethics, digital sociology, mobile media content, new media and governance, online activism, online literature, and game studies.
  • Film, television and visual culture, including queer screen studies, ethnicity and celebrity culture, film aesthetics, film theory, European cinema, global media flows and televisual globalisation, television studies, and visual and intercultural communication.
  • Journalism, including global journalism, investigative journalism, journalism and public relations, news framing, news censorship, and political journalism.
  • Media and communication, including affect theory, attention economy, content development, globalisation and the media, global media and entertainment, intermedial studies, media and communication policy, media regulation and law, media systems and societies, media theory, political communication, and science communication.
  • Media and culture, including art history; cultural and creative industries; culture and media policy; cultural history; cultural studies; feminism studies; gender, sexuality and globalisation; gender and sexuality in popular and public discourses; grassroots publics; participatory practices; Orientalist and Occidentalist imaginaries; pop culture in Chinese, Sinophone and East Asian societies; posthumanism; transcultural audience research; digital heritage; and transdisciplinary research in the intersections of art and philosophy with publicly engaged practice.

Potential supervisors


The scholarship application is open only to those applying for a full-time doctoral programme.

1) Apply for a scholarship for a funded PhD project:

You can apply for a predefined PhD project which has received funds from the University or external funding bodies. The research topic and supervisory team for these projects have already been established.

There is no specific application deadline for a project as it will remain open until the position is filled. The start date of a PhD programme is usually the first day of March, June, September, or December. You can visit the Postgraduate Research Scholarships Page for information about the specific PhD projects available or to contact potential supervisors to discuss funding opportunities.

2) Apply for a postgraduate research scholarship with your own project

Each academic year includes two application rounds for PhD candidates’ proposed projects.

Application Rounds Application deadline Release of results
First Round 17:00 CST(UTC+8), 15 October End of December
Second Round 17:00 CST(UTC+8), 15 April Early July
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