English Language and Communication

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All of our research has world-leading impact, and is rated as internationally recognised or better.More than two thirds of our research outputs in this area are world-leading or internationally excellent.

CRELLA - Largest of its kind in the UK

The Centre for Research in English Language Learning and Assessment (CRELLA) at the University of Bedfordshire is the largest specialist university research centre in language assessment in the UK.

We have nine full-time or part-time academic staff, including three professors, three senior lecturers, two post-doctoral research fellow, and a full-time research administrator, as well as three visiting professors, and over 30 research students.

The CRELLA research is world-leading and benefits ministries of education worldwide, international examining boards, universities at home and abroad, and professional bodies such as the General Medical Council and the Civil Aviation Authority in the UK.

It also benefits English language learners and their teachers throughout the world.

Emerging and developed economies now recognise the role that the English language plays in creating the jobs, economic opportunity and wealth that are critical to stability and growth. The President of Germany has called for English to become the ‘common language’ of the European Union and there is evidence to show that a country’s proficiency in English is directly related to the value of that country’s exports per capita and also to the strength of its global connectedness. The British Council estimates that there are 1.5 billion users of English (of varying proficiency) worldwide and this number is increasing rapidly.

The UK Government publication, English Language – UK Education & Training Capability (UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) Education, 2014: 1) stresses the importance of English as a global language

Assessing starting point, progress and achievement in student and teacher English language proficiency is a fundamental requirement for education systems worldwide, with high stakes for all involved. Individual students seeking entry to the next stage of their education, employers seeking to recruit high-caliber staff, and policy makers seeking to evaluate the impact and success of their policies all need robust and reliable assessment. Designing, developing and delivering assessment schemes is highly specialised work.

The importance of language assessment is stressed in the document (2014: 10)

Research impact

CRELLA’s reputation and the impact of its research are recognised nationally and internationally. CRELLA works closely with leading test boards both in the UK and abroad including Cambridge English Language Assessment (CELA), government organisations such as the British Council and charitable organisations such as the Eiken Foundation of Japan.

Our research excellence

Working with our students

CRELLA’s research students benefit from support and mentoring from internationally recognised experts in their field of specialisation.

We have a variety of research students - home and overseas, full-time and part-time (some in assessment related employment - whose PhD research aims to address current real world issues in language assessment, applied linguistics and language, education.

Join our research team as a postgraduate student

Apply to our Research Graduate School

Our location

CRELLA’s offices and facilities are based on the University’s Putteridge Bury campus in a substantial country mansion located in the countryside near Luton.

This spacious and pleasant environment provides an atmosphere highly conducive to research and scholarship.

A new research centre was established at Putteridge Bury in 2010, offering state-of-the-art technical and study facilities for research students, including workspace, PC suites and conference and seminar rooms, supported by catering facilities.

There is on-site support for photocopying, computing and technical assistance and video-conferencing for research students and staff. Within CRELLA’s own facilities, there is a specialist research library on language assessment.

The University has also recently purchased £19,000 of eye-tracking hardware and software for CRELLA research into reading and assessment.


Enquire about research degrees

By telephone
During office hours
(Monday-Friday 08:30-17:00)
+44 (0)1582 489056

By email

International applicants should be aware of our English language requirements


For all the information you need on how to apply for a research degree and to make sure you fulfil the entry requirements go to How to apply

You should have a good honours degree (2:1 or above) or masters degree or equivalent in the relevant subject area.