Why did you choose to study at Aston University?

I knew I wanted to go to Aston University the moment I took a forensic linguistics module during my undergraduate degree. I completely fell in love with that subject and knew that I'd struck gold - just a complete passion project - and the best place to study Forensic Linguistics is undoubtedly Aston University.

[Aston University] have a world-leading institute, the Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics (AIFL) - their faculty members are renowned experts in the field and they have made significant contributions to the advancement of the field through their research and publications.

AIFL is also known for its innovative approaches and collaborations with law enforcement agencies to provide valuable insights and analysis in criminal investigations and court cases, making it a hub for cutting-edge forensic linguistic analysis.

Aston University provides a really great curriculum that covers a wide range of areas within forensic linguistics and the AIFL hosts research seminars on a variety of subjects on a regular basis, as well as a larger symposium every semester, ensuring that you’re exposed to the most recent advancements and emerging trends.

It was just so clear to me that Aston University would provide the perfect environment for me to pursue my academic and career goals in such a fascinating field."



Lizzie Hay holding Aston Villa trophy



Door sign for AIFL research office

People talking in group with AIFL banner

What was the highlight of your course?

The highlight of my course was doing the module Practical Applications of Forensic Linguistics, where we worked on a group project for a client, Aston Villa Football Club (AVFC). Our group was tasked with identifying potential themes of sexual discrimination based on a corpus of tweets from Aston Villa fans, and we got to learn lots of new analytical techniques and tools in the process. It was a really unique opportunity that I didn't get during my undergraduate studies- to actually apply our knowledge in a real-world context and make a meaningful impact by providing valuable insights to a client. Also, working collaboratively with my classmates on such a challenging project enhanced my teamwork and problem-solving skills, and overall, I believe it's just been ridiculously invaluable for my career. 

I was also offered the incredible chance to work as a research assistant during my master's, where I got to work with some of the many excellent lecturers in the Forensic Linguistics department and undertake real-life forensic linguistic work on a project that was presented to the National Crime Agency. This experience inspired me so much and allowed me to apply the knowledge and skills I gained in my coursework to a practical setting, further solidifying my love and understanding of forensic linguistics. And it's led to amazing opportunities since then, including a second job as a research assistant after earning my master's degree and my current position as an intelligence researcher."


Tell us about your current role

I currently work for South Yorkshire Police as an Intelligence Researcher, where I provide research support to the analytical function and intelligence unit to identify emerging issues and monitor current ones.

I gather data from a variety of sources, present research summaries, and maintain awareness of the Force Control Strategy and Force Intelligence Requirements. Additionally, the position entails collaborating with internal and external sources, attending meetings, maintaining relationships, identifying new research sources, and abiding by legal frameworks and a lot of the skills I use today were cultivated during my master's course. 

I am working in a dynamic environment that keeps me engaged and motivated, allowing me to constantly challenge myself, expand my skill set and contribute to impactful research initiatives. Moreover, there is a clear path for advancement which gives me such a great sense of direction and purpose in my career growth.

I am truly grateful for all of my experiences that have come since starting my Forensic Linguistics masters at Aston University because I wouldn’t be where I am today- in a job I love that is enjoyable, exciting and fulfilling."


South Yorkshire Police logo

Forensic Linguistics room




Birmingham bull in New Street Station

German market town hall

What would you say to someone thinking of studying Forensic Linguistics at Aston University?

I can still remember how nervous but excited I was when I initially started the course, wondering if I had made the right choice or not. And honestly looking back on the entire experience - it was the best decision I've ever made.

Notwithstanding how interesting the subject is, the course gave me the skills and confidence to get me to where I want to be in life!

I would recommend to prospective students to understand that their time at university will be filled with both highs and lows, just like anything else in life. The most important thing to keep in mind is to always give it your best effort and not allow the times when you may have come up short to discourage you from pushing on and realising your full potential. Remember that every setback or failure is an opportunity for growth and learning. Embrace challenges, seek support from friends and mentors, and never underestimate the power of perseverance. By staying focused on your goals and maintaining a positive mindset, you can overcome obstacles and achieve success beyond your wildest dreams.

I'd also advise exploring internships, research assistant roles, or other practical experiences in the field. These opportunities will not only help you build your résumé but will also provide you with hands-on experience and a better knowledge of how to use the skills you're learning at university.

But overall, make sure to have fun, remember to take breaks and prioritise self-care along the way, and don't forget that success is not solely determined by academic achievements but also by the relationships you build and the practical experiences you gain along the way."