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Key information

Registration dates: There are four registration dates a year: 1 October, 1 January, 1 April, 1 July with no application deadlines. 

The distance learning programme is only available by part time study so the thesis submission date is a minimum of four years and maximum of six years from the enrolment date. 

Fees (2017/18):

UK/EU students: £4,350 per year  
International students: £6,550 per year 

Fees (2018/19): 

UK/EU students: £4,450   
International students: £6,700 per year  

This new distance learning research programme in the area of Languages (French, German, Spanish) and Translation Studies builds upon our existing experience in providing distance learning PhD programmes.

This programme aims to:

  • deepen your knowledge of key issues at the forefront of French, German, Spanish or Translation Studies
  • enhance your knowledge of a range of research traditions, methods and techniques relevant to your academic and professional development
  • enable you to design and implement a research project that makes an original contribution in the area of French, German, Spanish or Translation Studies in terms of new knowledge, applications or understanding
  • encourage and promote learning, personal development and self-awareness
  • develop the capacity for reflective, critical and independent thought and action in relation to your studies 

The programme is designed to meet the needs of individual students. You will be given an individually-tailored learning pathway, in consultation with the Programme Director and supervisor, based on previous experience and qualifications. During the first two years (of the part-time programme), all students will complete core Research Methods training.

You will be communicating with your supervisor using up-to-date virtual learning environment (VLE) software

All students will submit a qualifying report before the end of their second year. Students who successfully complete the qualifying report will complete a 60,000 word thesis.

The thesis is the culmination of doctoral level study and is a substantial piece of work which constitutes an original contribution to your chosen field. The thesis can be in any area of French, German, Spanish or Translation Studies which is compatible with the research interests of academic members of staff in the School. The thesis should normally be around 60,000 words long and written in English. (It may be possible to submit a thesis in the target language subject to special approval.)

Applicants should:
  • Possess a Masters degree from a UK university or hold an equivalent qualification. An overall merit or equivalent, with merit in the dissertation is normally required. 
  • Have the required skills and experience
  • Submit a research proposal outline (typically 8-12 pages) on a relevant subject (see 'How To Apply'). 

Language requirements:

Non-native speakers of English are normally required to satisfy the following minimum English language requirements:

  • IELTS: 6.5 (minimum 6.5 in writing and reading and minimum 6.0 in speaking and listening)
  • TOEFL iBT:  93 (minimum 26 in writing, 22 in speaking, 19 in listening, 18 in reading) 
  • Pearson Academic: 63 (minimum 63 in writing and speaking, and 57 in reading and listening)
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade B
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE): Grade A
Research Methods underpins the whole programme. You will be introduced to the key research traditions in French, German, Spanish or Translation Studies, to the main research methods and to research ethics. You will be expected to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a range of research methods and this will be assessed through a portfolio submission.

Apply by completing the Postgraduate research application form including: 

  • A research proposal outline (see below).
  • 2 written references
  • Photocopies of your first and Masters degree certificates and a transcript of your grades
  • Evidence of an approved English language qualification (if required)

Your application and proposal will be reviewed by the School’s Research Committee - you will then be notified of the outcome.

The Research Proposal (8-12 pages) 

You should send a full research proposal, making sure you cover all the areas listed below. 

  • The topic of your research

  • The research context

  • The proposed research questions (no more than 4)

  • The reasons why your research is important – please explain (a) why you want to undertake this research, (b) how it relates to existing research and (c) what makes it original.

  • The areas of the literature you intend to consult

  • A list of references you have consulted so far 

Contacting a supervisor

Finding an appropriate supervisor who is an expert in your chosen area of research is an essential part of the application process. We recommend that you look at the research centre pages and staff directory pages which will enable you to determine whether there is a good match between your research interests and LSS.      

If there is a member of staff whose research interest matches your own, we recommend that you contact them directly with a copy of your research proposal and discuss this further with them. In addition to contacting a prospective supervisor you also need to submit a formal application. If you are successful in identifying a supervisor through this method it is essential that you indicate this on your application form.  Please be advised that a formal decision on your application can only be made once the formal application has been submitted via the online form.

For information on how to apply please contact:

Mr Dan Thomson, LSS Research Manager
Email: lss_research@aston.ac.uk 
Tel: +44 (0)121 204 3972

For information on the structure of the programme please contact Programme Director Dr Emmanuelle Labeau