Delete search term


Quick navigation

Main navigation

Doctoral Programme in Applied Linguistics: Argumentation in Professional Practice

The School of Applied Linguistics at ZHAW and the Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society at USI are pleased to offer the first doctoral programme in Applied Linguistics in Switzerland. The first edition is financed by swissuniversities and focuses on argumentation in professional practice, especially in professions related to communication and language.

What is the programme about – and why is it relevant?

In recent years, the relevance of argumentation – i.e. of the practices of social reasoning and reason-giving – has emerged from a wide range of studies. In particular, the centrality of argumentation in professional practice is becoming increasingly pivotal: professionals need to understand controversies in their sphere of action, defend their positions, negotiate their strategies, solve conflicts and, by doing so, apply and further develop sets of good practices. This is all the more the case for language and communication professionals, who produce semiotic objects aimed at spreading information, shaping public opinion, and influencing the behaviour of citizens and customers. Moreover, argumentation plays a key role in multilingual and multimodal settings where it interacts with other rhetorical modes such as narration and explanation. Therefore, looking at the argumentative dimension of communication is key to improving both communicative procedures and outputs in language and communication professions. This research falls within the realm of applied linguistics, the discipline that studies the relation between language and real-life problems.

Why this partnership?

The doctoral programme constitutes a continuation of an already existing consortium between USI and ZHAW, as well as its reorganization with a more systematic and differentiated focus on professional practices. The theoretical background on argumentation and communication sciences, and the corresponding research methodology, will be provided by USI; the data collection and dissemination methodology, the applied linguistics framework, and the expertise on professional practices will be provided by ZHAW.


The programme offers


Courses include

Steering board

Admission and practicalities

From September 2017 onward

In Lugano and Winterthur

All courses and events will be held in English

Who can participate?
- Candidates enrolled as doctoral students at a Swiss university
- Candidates at both beginning and advanced stages of their doctoral research
- Admission of candidates with a Master’s degree from a university of applied sciences is possible at USI upon evaluation of each profile

How can I apply?
Prospective candidates should send their academic CV, a description of their research focus, and a letter of motivation (addressing how their research topic fits into the programme’s topic, among other motivations) in English to Eva Kuske (