Department of Translation Studies

Translation studies (PhD)

HaS: Translation Studies (PHD)

The doctoral programme in Translation Studies at the University of Ljubljana provides an extensive and in-depth approach to the study of the theoretical background to translating and interpreting, and the development of research methodology in the field. Within the framework of the interdisciplinary doctoral programme Humanities and Social Sciences, the subject field of Translation Studies offers obligatory and elective theoretical and methodological courses that cover different areas of theoretical, descriptive and applied TS, of intercultural comunnication, literary exchange, text fromation and discourse analysis, contrastive analysis, lexicology and terminology. An important part of elective couses focuses on IT: from corpus translation studies, computational lexicography and terminography to natural language processing. Its goal is the development of highly trained academics – researchers and lecturers qualified to conduct internationally comparable research into current theoretical and practical issues in translation studies.


prof. dr. Nike K. Pokorn

Students enrol on two compulsory core courses (2x10 CP), two elective seminar courses (2x10 CP) and an external course (10 CP). The two compulsory core courses, Research Methods in Translation Studies and Translation Theories in the West, help students gain a thorough understanding of different theories, methods and concepts necessary for research in this field. They also contribute to the required critical distance towards different research procedures, methodologies and theories, as well as drawing attention to possible interdisciplinary and intra-disciplinary connections. The elective seminar courses facilitate the practical application of fundamental methodological and theoretical approaches within the selected topics connected with the doctoral thesis topic; their content is defined each year and is prepared individually for each student, in line with their research requirements. The elective seminar courses envisage active cooperation between course coordinators, lecturers and students in the form of analytical research of relevant topics or questions. A similar principle is applied to the external course which is, unlike the elective seminar course, selected by the student and his/her supervisor at a recognised foreign university, which gives the student an opportunity to research abroad and experience different approaches to research. The largest part of the doctoral programme (120 CP) takes the form of individual research work within which, under the supervisor's guidance, the student prepares his/her doctoral thesis, actively masters research methodology by applying it to a specific question and develops the general and course-specific competences set out in the programme and curricula.

Every student on the doctoral programme is assigned a supervisor, taking into account the interests expressed upon application, previous education and the department's available human resources. The supervisor in consultation with the student prepares an individual study programme, for approval by the field coordinator and the head of the Department of Translation, and by both the Postgraduate Committee and the Senate of the Faculty of Arts.

The structure of the programme is designed to emphasise organised study in the first year and beginning of the second year, while the later emphasis is on research and the preparation of the doctoral thesis.

• Translation Theories in the West - 10 ECTS
• Research Methods in Translation Studies - 10 ECTS
• Elective seminar course I - 10 ECTS
• Elective seminar course II - 10 ECTS
• Research work (work on the doctoral thesis proposal and the academic article) - 20 ECTS

• External course - 10 ECTS
• Research work (Registration and public presentation of the doctoral thesis proposal, work on the thesis, work on the academic article): 50 ECTS

• Work on the thesis and the academic article - 50 ECTS
• Public presentation of research results and public thesis defence in front of the doctoral committee - 10 ECTS

To complete the programme and be awarded the academic title Doctor of Philosophy, the student has to fulfil all requirements prescribed by the programme and successfully publicly defend his/her doctoral thesis. Before the thesis defence, the student has to publish at least one academic article from the field of his/her thesis in a publication that the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Social Sciences recognise as adequate. The doctoral student has to be the first author of the article. The article has to be published or at least accepted for publication before the thesis defence.

Elective seminar courses at the Department of Translation Studies are enumerated under the heading PhD seminar.

Under the Department of Translation's new programme, adopted in line with the Bologna principles, the three-year undergraduate study in intercultural mediation in which students acquire a broad linguistic and cultural knowledge is followed by the master's in translating and interpreting that builds a high level of competency in these areas. The doctoral programme focuses on the theoretical background to translating and interpreting, and the development of research methodology in the field.

The doctoral programme in translation studies is aimed not only at translators and interpreters, but also at those who encounter translation in other roles relating to interlinguistic and intercultural mediation, such as organisers of events that make use of interpreting skills, organisers or commissioners of translation work, editors and others in the publishing field, and those who work in the media, in public relations and in similar areas. It will also play an important role in the development of the academic and research staff who will be responsible for translation study programmes in the future, ensuring that they are on a par with similar courses of study elsewhere in Europe. Due to the current availability of the relevant expertise, the programme places more emphasis on translation than on interpreting, although this may change in the future through cooperation with institutions from outside Slovenia.


The program of study leading to the doctoral degree in Translation Studies is organized to attain the following objectives:

  • to enable students to engage in advanced study and research with scholars in the field of Translation Studies
  • to foster original and scholarly research that contributes to this field
  • to enable graduates to integrate their professional education and experience with the larger problems of the professional translators and interpreters


All graduates will be able to:

  • critically apply theories, methodologies, and knowledge to address fundamental questions in TS,
  • pursue research of significance in TS or an interdisciplinary or creative project. Students will develop the intellectual independence that typifies true scholarship,
  • demonstrate skills in oral and written communication sufficient to publish and present work in TS and to prepare grant proposals,
  • follow the principles of ethics in TS and in academia in general,
  • demonstrate, through service, the value of TS to the academy and community at large,
  • demonstrate knowledge at a level required for university undergraduate teaching in TS and assessment of student learning,
  • interact productively with people from diverse backgrounds as both leaders and team members with integrity and professionalism.

General Competences

The interdisciplinary programme defines that the students on the programme will acquire the following general competences:


  • Analytical abilities. The independent realisation of highly demanding analytical tasks; analysis of social phenomena; advising on various trends in social life, development and management; synthesis of field-specific knowledge and its application in the problem-solving process; synthesis and contextualisation of analytical findings.
  • Application of methodological tools. Autonomous implementation, coordination, management and organisation of research; utilisation and further development of various research methods and techniques; independence and personal initiative in research.
  • Knowledge of the environment of the selected discipline or field. A broad, critical and reflective understanding of the selected field, structures and operations; knowledge of (legal) standards, institutions and development dynamics.
  • Strategic focus on the selected field. Sound skills for planning, assessing and anticipating events; separating key information from the trivial and searching for durable solutions to fundamental issues.
  • Communication. Capable of adequately communicating research accomplishments; well-developed writing skills, public presentation and argumentation skills; skills associated with oral expression; clear and active presentation with argumentation.
  • Team and group work abilities. To lead a team and/or a group; to be ready to cooperate, work in groups, recognise other people's opinions and perform one's duties and defined roles within the group/team.
  • Expertise. Analysing, defining sequences, coordinating tasks and selecting working methods and forms congruent with academic and professional standards.
  • Conflict resolution. Controlling, managing and mediation conflict; ability of negotiation, argumentation and starting points for negotiation.
  • Flexible approach to change. Flexible functioning in all social environments, in different cultural contexts; flexible cooperation with other countries, inter-disciplinarity; understanding of cultural plurality.
  • Networking. An ability to make connections within and outside an organisation, managing formal and informal relations.
  • Ethics and values. Well-developed scientific and research ethics and humanistic values when functioning in any working environment.
  • Wide humanistic and social horizon. An ability to perform quality interdisciplinary research work.

The students on the programme (the subject field of Translation Studies) will acquire the following competences:

  • ability to acknowledge the basic principles and goals of Translation Studies research,
  • ability to recognise and utilise basic empirical research methods in Translation Studies,
  • ability to integrate theoretical findings and empirical research work,
  • ability to critically evaluate diverse research procedures,
  • ability to design and organise research tasks,
  • mastery of spoken and written academic communication,
  • ability to cooperate with other researchers and scholars,
  • ability to produce a doctoral thesis in Translation Studies,
  • ability to prepare a research proposal,
  • ability to conduct independent research within Translation Studies
  • develop sensitivity to ethical issues concerning Translation Studies methodologies and acknowledging the rights and duties of researchers conducting research tasks.
  • ability to critically approach and read the fundamental theoretical works in Translation Theory
  • ability to recognise the influence of fundamental translatological works and the presence of theoretical premises in other contemporary translatological works
  • ability to theoretically form an independent attitude towards the status and role of translators and translation
  • ability to form a theoretical opinion on translation and translatological problems
  • ability to theoretically approach translation-related phenomena and to use this ability for didactic and research aims.

The doctoral programme is in accordance with the final paragraph of Article 38a and Article 16 of the transitional and final provision of the Higher Educational Act of the Republic of Slovenia open for the enrolment of graduates from:

  • 2nd level study programmes.
  • Existing study programmes leading to university a degree.
  • Existing study programmes leading to a specialisation, following a previously completed higher education study programme; upon the proposal of a field coordinator responsible for the doctoral programme, a competent body of a member faculty determines study obligations worth 30 to 60 ECTS needed for enrolment in the third level doctoral programme.
  • Existing study programmes leading to a masters degree or a specialisation following the completion of a first degree; upon the proposal of a field coordinator responsible for the doctoral programme, a competent body of a member faculty acknowledges study obligations to the value of at least 60 ECTS, thus enabling enrolment in a third level doctoral programme.

Students who finished equivalent education abroad meet the conditions for enrolment in doctoral study. Equivalence of formerly obtained education abroad is ascertained through the process of verification of foreign education, in compliance with Article 121 of the Statute of the University of Ljubljana.

Criteria for applicants' selection in the case of enrolment restrictions:

  • Success (grade-point average) in the following (50%):
    • 2nd level study programmes
    • Existing study programmes leading to university degrees
    • Existing study programmes leading to a specialisation, following a previously completed first degree
    • Existing study programmes leading to a masters degree or specialisation after the completion of a university degree.
  • result of the exam in the chosen field of study (50%)

Upon the approval of the field coordinator, an appropriate faculty member responsible for the doctoral study decides the applicant's suitability.

Students enrolling in 3rd level study programmes that acquire special knowledge are able to gain recognition for skills, knowledge and qualifications acquired prior to enrolment through formal, informal or empirical education. The following is recognised as adequate: certificates and other documents or proofs attesting the student's completion of courses, summer schools and other forms of education; published articles and other authored work; awards and prizes won in relevant fields and certificates of relevant work experience. Applications for recognition of previously gained knowledge and skills is dealt with and assessed on an individual basis by the programme council or field coordinator (i.e. the director of study).

Students who have already completed a master’s degree and who upon registration, in line with the Higher Education Act, are credited with 60 ECTS may enroll directly in the second year, if all the obligations of the first year of study have been recognised.

The structure and organisation of the programme is fully adjusted to the structural framework, organisation, study process and credit points system as defined in the overall Humanities and Social Sciences programme.

Conditions for progression in the programme
1. The completion of 40 ECTS in organised forms of study required for progression to the 2nd year of study.
2. The completion of 10 ECTS in organised forms of study and a positive assessment of the doctoral thesis topic and its approval by the University of Ljubljana are required for enrolment in the 3rd year of study.
3. The third year is devoted to individual research work and preparation of the doctoral thesis.

The duration of the doctoral programme at the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, is 3 years. From 2006 to 2016, 58 students enrolled in the programme (out of these 58 students 9 students were from abroad), and 14 students successfully defended their PhD theses in the field of Translation Studies. On average they needed 5.3 years to finish their studies.

The language of instruction and supervision is Slovene if the student is a Slovene speaker. If not, the language of instruction and supervision is English.

A student can apply for writing his/her PhD thesis in a foreign language when submitting his/her PhD topic. In this case the PhD thesis proposal must also be written in that foreign language and translated into Slovene.

The PhD thesis can be written in the English language (acc. to art. 111 of the Statute of the University of Ljubljana), provided there are sufficient reasons for doing so (e.g. a foreign student, supervisor, co-supervisor or member of the exam board; possible subsequent publication of the thesis as a monograph with a foreign publisher). The PhD thesis can also be written in any given foreign language as part of that foreign language or literature doctoral study.

The permission to write the PhD thesis in a foreign language is granted by the Senate of the University of Ljubljana acting on the proposal of the Senate of the Faculty of Arts.

The PhD thesis in a foreign language must be supplemented by a comprehensive summary in the Slovene language, which must not be shorter than 10% of the complete text of the thesis. The summary must be written using proper Slovene scientific terminology of the given discipline.

See here.