Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)

The Faculty offers a PhD programme by research in languages and linguistics.

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) is University of Malaya’s premier research training degree. The pinnacle of academic achievement at University of Malaya, the Ph.D is awarded based on the foundation of the thesis prepared under supervision, resulting in an original and significant contribution, displaying extensive knowledge and comprehension of the subject and field of study.

Evaluated by independent experts using current and internationally accepted standards, the University’s Ph.D programme produces human capital, which is not only intellectual and skilful in modern technology but also very versatile and able to handle problems in real life situations. Ph.D. students will carry out focused research in their area of specialisation, which is of immediate relevance to local interest. Additionally, they will be alert to the challenges faced in the international arena through the media, seminars, conferences and keynote addresses, and also through research attachments and collaborative exchange arrangements with internationally recognised research centres.

The candidates will carry out focused research in their area of specialization, which is of immediate relevance to local interest. They will be alert to the challenges faced in the international arena through the seminars, conferences and many more.

Students may also choose to undertake research in the one of the following areas of specialization subject to the availability of academic staff to supervise them:

  • Computer Assisted Language Learning and Instruction
  • Corpus Linguistics
  • Critical Discourse Analysis
  • Genre Analysis
  • Historical Linguistics
  • Language Learning and Assessment
  • Language Acquisition
  • Language for Specific Purposes
  • Lexicology
  • Morphology
  • Phonetics And Phonology
  • Pragmatics
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Semantics
  • Semiotics
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Discourse Analysis
  • Stylistics
  • Syntax
  • Functional Linguistics
  • Translation Studies
  • World Englishes


The Ph.D programme is more than just an academic distinction. The programme is designed to ensure the fields of study remain relevant to the needs of today. At the same time, the candidates in pursuit of their Ph.D degrees foresee the changes of societal and industry standards, trends and behavioural patterns; the very same qualities that make them brilliant and effective leaders.

Career Opportunity
Graduates from this programme can work, for example, (i) in the media, advertising and publishing industry (e.g. script-writers, journalists, writers, editors, copywriters, proof-readers); (ii) in corporate communication; (iii) in the education industry (e.g. corporate trainers, language teachers/instructors, teacher educators, programme/curriculum developers, education managers/administrators at government and private schools and institutions, researchers and lecturers in higher education); (iv) as translators and interpreters; (v) as language or linguistic consultants (e.g. linguistic and language-related fieldwork, researchers, analysing linguistic aspects of spoken and written texts).
Course Structure
This PhD programme is based on individual supervised research. At the end of the candidate's study, a thesis must be submitted and upon successful defence of the paper, the candidate will be granted a doctoral degree. All research proposals must be approved and supervised by the Faculty. PhD candidates’ theses must not exceed 100,000 words. They are required to complete their studies within 12 semesters.
Language Requirement
Before registering, international applicants are required to obtain at least a band 6.0 for IELTS or a minimum score of 550 for the paper-based TOEFL, or a score of 213 for the computer-based TOEFL, or a score of 80 for the internet-based TOEFL if their undergraduate and master’s degrees were not obtained from a university that uses English as the medium of instruction, or a pass in any English Language Proficiency Programme (ELP) approved by the University.
Entry Requirement
A master’s degree from a recognized university. Those who have obtained a bachelor’s degree with a CGPA of 3.7 and above can apply directly for the PhD programme.
Intake Schedule
Twice per academic year
September for Semester I
February for Semester II
Last Update: January 10, 2018


Our Alumnus

Kaoru Kobayashi
Kaoru Kobayashi

Graduated with a PhD in Applied Linguistics in 2003. She teaches English to university students in Japan. Her research interests are in genre analysis and vocabulary acquisition. She has published in the Malaysian Journal of ELT Research, the JALT (Japan Association for Language Teaching) CALL Journal and TESOL Journal. 
Mohamed Pitchay Gani
Mohamed Pitchay Gani

Completed his Phd in Linguistics in 2014. He is currently a Senior Education officer with the Ministry of Education Singapore. He is currently working on the biography of the father of modern Malay poetry, the late Masuri S.N. and the compilation of short stories and poems for the Singapore SG50 project. 
Mohsen Pornour

Graduated with a PhD in Applied Linguistics in 2012. Mohsen Pornour has taught in many Middle Eastern countries. Since graduating from UM, he has been a faculty member at the Language Centre, Sultan Qaboos University, Oman. His research interests include second language reading and teaching pronunciation. 
Munif Zarirruddin Fikri bin Nordin

Completed his PhD in Discourse Analysis in 2009. His thesis won the Best PhD Thesis Award at the Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin Thesis Awards 2010. He was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford in 2012-2013. Currently, he is an Associate Professor at Universiti Utara Malaysia in Kedah, Malaysia. 
Pairote Bennui

Graduated witha PhD in World Englishes in 2013. He is currently working as an Assistant Professor of English Language at Western Languages Department, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Thaksin University, Songkhla, Thailand. 
Yunisrina Qismullah Yusuf

Graduated with a PhD in Phonology in 2013. She is a lecturer in the Study Program of English Education, Faculty of Teacher Training and Education, University of Syiah Kuala in Aceh, Indonesia. She is currently the editor-in-chief of Studies in English Language and Education and the English Education Journal, journals that are managed by University of Syiah Kuala. Her research interests include topics in the field of phonology, semantics, syntax, sociolinguistics, culture, second language acquisition and EFL education.