The highest academic degrees are the MPhil (Master of Philosophy) and the PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) also known as the DPhil. The English Department welcomes applicants at this level.
This is an opportunity to work closely on a writer or topic within a supportive research environment. Alongside frequent meetings with both a first and second supervisor, PhD students are also invited to attend seminars led by staff and guest speakers, as well as a postgraduate reading group, in order gradually to develop the insights needed to complete their research.
The period of study required for the award of a PhD is three years full-time or six years part-time. Students are registered initially for the degree of PhD (Doctor of Philosophy), although their status is probationary until the first Annual Review has taken place, normally between 12 and 18 months from first registration. At the end of this period, the candidate submits a thesis (80,000-100,000 words) embodying the results of the research. This thesis must demonstrate familiarity with, and an understanding of the subject, its principal sources and authorities. It should display critical discrimination and a sense of proportion in evaluating evidence and the opinions of others. It must also embody an original contribution to the knowledge of the discipline either by the discovery of new knowledge or by the exercise of a new and independent critical approach.
The Department particularly welcomes research proposals related to its specialisms: Charles Dickens, his novels and journalism; the 19th-century novel; 19th-century poetry; Shakespeare; Modernism and early 20th-century literature; 20th-century poetry; the short story; contemporary writing; women’s writing.
Recent projects include:
“That Noble Profession”: Collaboration, Print Culture, and Political Journalism in the Brontë Juvenilia
Narratological Deceptions: The Significance of the Golden Age of Magic in English Literature
The Visual Art, Fiction, and Non-Fiction of Charles Allston Collins (1828-1873)
The Whole Thing: The Critical Prose of J. H. Prynne
A Pathology of Desire: The Dismembered Self in the Short Stories of Daphne du Maurier
A Social Representation and Discourse Analysis of Selected Regional Chartist Poetry from the South Midlands, London, Scotland, and Wales
Wherever possible, you will be invited to the University to meet the Admissions Tutor for an informal interview and to have a tour of our campus. If you are an international applicant, it may not be possible for you to visit in person, so if the Admissions Tutor has any queries about your application you may be conducted by skype, email or phone.
If you have a research proposal which you would like to discuss further, please contact:
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We offer high quality, traditional Oxbridge-style teaching, which leads to our degrees being recognised around the world. The standards of degrees and awards are safeguarded by distinguished external examiners – senior academic staff from other universities in the UK – who approve and moderate assessed work.
High calibre staff
Most of our academic staff teach for three terms out of four, with the remaining term used for research. Because of this, we have no difficulty in attracting high calibre, highly respected lecturers, many of whom also have a background in business or industry and can offer networking opportunities for students.
Candidates spend a considerable part of their studies undertaking supervised research, at the end of which they submit a thesis embodying the results of that research. This thesis must demonstrate familiarity with, and an understanding of the subject, its principal sources and authorities. It should display critical discrimination and a sense of proportion in evaluating evidence and the judgements of others. The subject should be dealt with in a competent and scholarly manner.
Our graduates have gone on to further study at most of the world’s leading universities, including Harvard, London, Oxford and Cambridge and secured jobs in senior positions around the world. Among our alumni we have a graduate who became the head of his country’s civil service and one who became a leading Formula One motor-racing driver. Another secured a position as the Minister of Sabah and one female law graduate became the first British lawyer to become a French Advocate.
Postgraduate loan scheme
A new system of postgraduate loans for Masters degrees in the UK was introduced in August 2016 with support from the UK Government. The loan will provide up to £10,609 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. The loans can be used for tuition fees, living expenses or both. Find out more >>
Details of scholarships can be found on our main Bursaries and Scholarships page. You should make an application to study at the University and receive an offer letter confirming our acceptance of your application before applying for a scholarship.