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MPhil & PhD Studies

Please note that, unfortunately, the CAES will not be accepting PhD or MPhil applications for the coming 2021-22 academic year. In the meantime, those interested in applying for PhD or MPhil programme with an applied linguistics focus are advised to contact the HKU School of English or the Faculty of Education.

Current full-time PhD students

Greg Wu

Cross-disciplinary collaborations among heterogeneous communities have been surging over recent years, so to equip students with literacies for specific discourse communities, language practitioners need to integrate both linguistic instruction and disciplinary knowledge. Despite existing literature touching on disciplinary literacies and interdisciplinary learning, the perspectives of practitioners teaching courses oriented towards specialized academic literacies are still scarce. This qualitative study examines English practitioners who teach English-in-the-discipline courses for engineering students to explore how language teachers develop their own discipline-specific knowledge and enhance students’ disciplinary literacies in such an interdisciplinary context.

Chris Kwan (Kwan, Yu Hang)

My PhD research aims to yield a thick description of the discourse of face-to-face, peer-to-peer interactions in the context of university writing centre tutoring, drawing upon Bhatia’s (2017) multi-perspective approach to discourse analysis. It is hoped that the findings in this study can make a contribution to the current literature on writing centre theory and practice, and add to our understanding of the use of peer tutoring as an alternative approach to English language teaching at the tertiary level.

Olivia Zhang

My study explores the negotiation of postgraduate feedback in the context of thesis writing and scholarly writing for publication. This study, with a longitudinal ethnographic approach, observed the relation between the use of feedback and the development of literacy practices in four case studies of L2 learners at a university in Hong Kong. This development was traced in how textual revisions were done, and interpersonal positioning, primarily in supervisory communication, was established. The study has implications for feedback and research writing pedagogy at graduate level.

Vivian Kwan

My study aims to explore the academic discourse socialisation of undergraduates who are undertaking double-degree teacher-training programmes in Hong Kong. The multiple-case study intends to shed light on the participants’ simultaneous socialisation trajectories in the disciplines of Education, Linguistics and Literature. By employing narrative inquiry and Systemic Functional Linguistics, the analysis covers both the pre-service teachers’ views and disciplinary essays. It is hoped that the findings may illuminate the processes of concurrent socialisation.

Peter Wingrove

TED talks are used by a wide range of speakers, some of whom are academics, to communicate their ideas to a global audience. There is evidence to suggest that TED talks are being used as learning materials in educational contexts including EAP classrooms. This thesis aims to contribute to the literature which characterises TED talks and academic lectures, to inform the discussion on the appropriate use of TED talks in educational settings. Therefore, this thesis analyses and compares a corpus of TED talks with a corpus of academic lectures in terms of (i) part-of-speech profile, (ii) academic language content, and (iii) other linguistic features, which currently includes lexical bundles. Findings from the thesis aim to contribute towards methodology, theory, and practice.


Some past graduates

Ivy Chan, A study of academic writing development over time: The case of Engineering undergraduates

Kim Chanhee, A corpus-based study on ‘evaluative that construction’ in academic and professional discourse

Aaron Doyle, The L2 motivation and academic decision making of local and international English majors in China

Andy Gao, From the Chinese Mainland to Hong Kong: Understanding shifts in Mainland Chinese students’ English learning strategy use

Dick Huang, A corpus study of Chinese EFL majors’ phraseological performance.

Nora Hussin, Interaction from an activity theoretical perspective: Comparing learning discourse of language face-to-face, in chat and in audio conferencing in second language learning

Kevin Jiang, Metadiscursive nouns in disciplinary writing

Ellie Law, Promoting learner autonomy through a self-access language learning (SALL) component of a taught English course

Tim Lee, The use and perception of second language motivational strategies at a Hong Kong community college

Laura Luo, Writing support for Chinese scientists seeking to publish research articles in English

Richard Zhang, Language choice, language ideologies, and identity: A sociolinguistic study of Mainland Chinese students in Hong Kong and Macao

Victor Zhang, Student engagement with feedback on their writing: Case studies of English majors in two Chinese universities