University of Sydney Handbooks - 2016 Archive

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The Department of Linguistics offers coursework degrees in Applied Linguistics and Crosscultural Communication.


The Department of Linguistics is a diverse and research-active department in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, with highly qualified staff drawing on extensive research backgrounds. Our research interests are international, interdisciplinary, and wide-ranging. Linguistic research investigates a very broad range of phenomena, from technical aspects of grammar to social functions of language, from relations between language and mind to the role of language in media and education. Linguistics is relevant in many research contexts and in many disciplines including anthropology, education, media studies, psychology, and sociology. Linguistics also has many practical applications such as language teaching, general education, journalism, marketing, public relations, and computer science.

Our department offers a wide range of research expertise, which enables research students in Linguistics to study in many different areas – from research into descriptions and theories of language (formal and functional), using information technologies (computers, software) in studying language or applying linguistic skills to areas such as education, discourse analysis, media discourse, and intercultural communication. There’s also a great opportunity for cross-disciplinary work – students can participate in supervisory teams with members from departments in languages, media, English literature, education, sociology, etc.

Departmental staff are involved in major research projects funded by the Australian Research Council as well as other funding organisations. Projects tackle subjects as diverse as anthropological linguistics, field linguistics in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, language use in television series, news discourse, language and evaluation, genre relations, literacy, semantics, multimodality, classroom discourse, youth justice conferencing, and World Englishes. Theoretical frameworks for this research include social semiotics, multi-modal discourse analysis, corpus linguistics, systemic functional linguistics, conversation analysis, lexical functional grammar and other lexicalist approaches to syntax, linguistic typology, and basic linguistic theory.

Visit the Department of Linguistics Academic Staff page for more information.

Research students will be able to join a vibrant community of researchers. The department holds regular research seminars attended by staff and leading figures in the discipline from other institutions, and organises an international conference every year (Free Linguistics Conference). Postgraduate research seminars allow students to interact with their peers and gain useful feedback as well as skills such as conference and research presentations.

The department is also affiliated with the Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Archives (PARADISEC, based at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music), a facility for the digital conservation of endangered materials from the pacific region, defined broadly to include Oceania and East and Southeast Asia. The research group has developed models to ensure that the archive can provide access to interested communities, and conforms with emerging international standards for digital archiving. This offers unparalleled field linguistics resources for students.

Department website:

Professor Nick Enfield
Phone: +61 2 9351 2391

Awards and requirements

Please refer to the degree resolutions in this handbook and to the ‘Faculty Admissions Policy and Procedure for: Doctor of Philosophy: Pathways to admission’, for information on the specific admission requirements for different research award courses.

Master of Arts (Research)
Master of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy