Peter Roach did his first degree at Oxford (Brasenose College) in Psychology and Philosophy, and then took postgraduate courses in Teaching English Overseas (Manchester University) and in Phonetics (University College London). He was appointed to the Linguistic Science Department of the University of Reading as a lecturer in 1968, teaching phonetics there until 1978, and gaining his PhD. Peter then moved to the University of Leeds to become Senior Lecturer in Phonetics in the Department of Linguistics & Phonetics; then to the Department of Psychology at Leeds where he was was appointed Professor of Cognitive Psychology. He returned to Reading University in 1994 as Professor of Phonetics.
His main interest is in the phonetics of English, where his Cambridge University Press publications include English Phonetics and Phonology and The English Pronouncing Dictionary, (17th Edition). Peter also has research interests in speech perception and in the computer analysis of speech, and has held a number of research grants for work in automatic speech recognition and in large-scale computer-readable speech databases. On his retirement in September 2003, the University of Reading awarded Peter the position of Emeritus Professor of Phonetics.