Ph.D. in Language and Communication

"Nowhere in the world are PhD students given the opportunity to study and work with so many internationally renowned scholars."

The PhD program was originally developed by Basil Hatim with the support of Advisory Council members such as Carol Chappelle, the late Eugene Nida and late Christopher Candlin. It was substantially revised by Juliane House who is also the Director of the Program. As a student in the Program you will benefit from the teaching and guidance of such internationally renowned scholars as:


About the Program

The Ph.D. in Language and Communication program features eight core courses on topics such as Research Methodology, Discourse Analysis, Critical Applied Linguistics, Text–Discourse–Genre Analysis, and Communication across Cultures. (See the course catalog for a complete list of courses and course descriptions).

Building on the common foundation of these courses, students can then specialize in areas such as Second Language Education, Discourse Analysis, Intercultural and Professional Communication, and Translation and Interpreting. Since both core courses and discipline-specific strands are all firmly research and discourse-focused, there is also an opportunity for creative and constructive interaction between strands. In this way, graduates gain a much broader perspective on language in use than their own area of specialization allows them.

Flexibility for Working Professionals

The PhD program is a highly flexible program that combines short-term intensive courses on campus with ongoing guidance and supervision from faculty as students write their project and qualifying papers, conduct research and complete their thesis. The structure of the program thus means that students who already work can continue doing so while enrolled in this program. Indeed, working professionals in the program are encouraged to draw upon their work experience to highlight issues of professional practice in their coursework, and conversely, to apply insights newly gained in the Ph.D. program to challenges they face in their work. Students’ work experience has been in in fields such as second language education, translation and interpreting, law, business, political science, diplomacy, linguistics, and other areas in which language and communication is of prime importance.

Structure & Admissions

The program is normally completed in 4 to 5 years and includes coursework, research and a dissertation, for a total of 58 credits.

Specifically, students need to complete:

  • 8 core courses, together with 7 project papers
  • 3 discipline-specific seminars
  • 2 qualifying papers and
  • the PhD dissertation

During the first year of the program students attend eight week-long intensive seminars held on campus, during which they gain insights into topics such as Research Methodology, Discourse Analysis, Critical Applied Linguistics, and Communication across Cultures. During the interim between residencies they work on a project paper related to the course they have just finished.

Students then begin to specialize by taking 3 courses in one of three strands: Second Language Education, Intercultural and Professional Communication, and Translation & Interpreting. Students receive close attention from their supervisor as they then develop their Qualifying Papers and finally their dissertation.

For a detailed view of the program and course descriptions, see the course catalog for the Ph.D. in Language and Communication. 

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements are the same as those in all other Hellenic American University graduate programs with the following exceptions:

  • You should already hold a master’s degree
  • You will be asked to submit 3 reference letters
  • You will also need to submit a sample of academic writing


Students in the program benefit from:

  • Residential, on campus, core and strand courses that guide them through the formulation of their research agenda
  • Internationally renowned faculty from universities of Europe, Asia and USA who teach and supervise students as they work towards the completion of their PhD dissertation
  • Option to specialize in Second Language Education, Intercultural and Professional Communication or Translation and Interpreting,
  • Wide exposure to a broad spectrum of research themes, including discourse analysis, intercultural and professional communication, foreign language teaching and assessment, translation and interpreting
  • Systematic exposure to Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods
  • Broad perspective in language that enables students to gain a broad understanding of language in use, beyond the student’s area of specialization
  • Opportunities to publish research and attend conferences
  • Faculty mentoring and personal support for their academic and professional development

Career Development

Throughout the program students receive personal support and guidance from their faculty mentor on their academic and professional development. At the same time, they also benefit from the career guidance provided by other faculty members and counselors at the Career Development Office.

Career Prospects

Sophisticated communication specialists with deep knowledge of how language functions are increasingly in demand in nearly all professional fields. Graduates of the Ph.D. in Language and Communication are equipped to compete successfully for key positions in universities, research institutes, businesses, national organizations, the diplomatic corps, NGOs and global media.

Language and Communication at this level of expertise will look in particular for careers as high-ranking government officials, including diplomats; as policy advisors and consultants in educational agencies, corporate communication specialists and executive trainers; as editors and publishing consultants; as curriculum supervisors, evaluators, and assessors of language and communication competence, and senior academic staff in research centers or as directors of translation and interpreting divisions in supra-national organizations.

The program was renamed after HEC approval on October 2019 from Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics to PhD in Language and Communication

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