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Postgraduate research in English literature

Ready to start your research career? Explore our postgraduate research degrees in English Literature

If you want to take your expertise in the written word into a postgraduate research degree in English Literature, Portsmouth is the perfect place to do it.

Our researchers at the Centre for Studies in Literature are experts in early modern writing, with a particular strength in Victorian literature and culture, and twentieth- and twenty-first-century British and American literature. 100% of our impact in English Language and Literature was rated as having outstanding or very considerable reach and significance in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021).

In an increasingly globalised world where upheaval is rapidly becoming the new normal, we're studying how different literature can shed new light on issues such as corruption, war and justice. We're exploring how literature shapes our opinions on cultures, communities and people; how it can empower unrepresented and marginalised voices; and how it can be used as a weapon to repress and control.

As a postgraduate research student, you can make your own contribution to the important work we're doing.

Research degrees

Find out about our PhD, MPhil, and PhD by Publication opportunities in English Literature below, including how to apply, entry requirements and funding your degree. For more detailed information about the application process, visit our How to Apply pages.

English Literature PhDs and MPhils

Explore our pre-approved funded and self-funded PhD projects in English Literature, or submit your own research idea. 

PhD and MPhil projects

Funded

There are currently no funded PhD projects available in this area – for more information on funding your own research project, visit our pages on funding your research degree.

Self-funded projects

There are currently no pre-approved self-funded projects available in this subject area. If you'd like to submit your own PhD proposal, please read the information below.

Submit your own idea

If you already have a research idea, find a supervisor whose research interests match yours by searching our Find a PhD Supervisor page. Once you've identified someone suitable, contact them to discuss your idea.

PhD by Publication

A PhD by publication is a postgraduate research degree based on research you've already undertaken and had published (excluding self-publishing) before registering with us.

Eligible research outputs include peer-reviewed academic papers, complete books or chapters in anthologies, and other materials accepted for publication, exhibited or performed. You'll have to submit these materials for examination between 6–12 months after registering with us.

For more information, please visit our PhD by Publication page.

Duration, fees and funding 

What do my tuition fees cover?

If you're self-funding your PhD, you'll pay tuition fees to the University to cover course and university costs.

Your tuition fees cover:

  • The cost of your postgraduate research programme* at the University as well as charges for registration, tuition, supervision, and examinations
  • Bespoke training, professional development courses, networking, and research support through The Graduate School
  • Research seminars and workshops (university-wide and faculty-specific)
  • A contribution to funding to attend a conference or development activity in your research field
  • Tailor-made weekly and monthly events, including weekly, themed experienced researcher-led talks and workshops
  • Helping you become part of our thriving research community, including Research and Innovation services where 77% of our research is world leading and internationally excellent in REF 2021
  • Your graduation ceremony
  • Viva examination and administration costs
  • The facilities and equipment you need to complete your studies, such as computer rooms, access to laptops, the Library, and laboratories
  • Access to resources including electronic journals, alternative guide to funding, and thousands of hours of educational videos on LinkedIn Learning
  • University support services including academic, financial, careers and wellbeing support and personal tutors
  • Membership of the Students' Union (giving you the right to vote in elections, join clubs and societies, and get free independent advice)
  • Access to software such as Microsoft Office, SPSS and Adobe Creative Suite (this includes Photoshop, InDesign, and Adobe Premiere Pro)

*Please note that some research programmes may come with additional bench fees.

How long will my research degree take?

  • MPhil: 2 years full-time, 4 years part-time
  • PhD: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time
  • PhD by Publication: 1 year part-time

How much will my degree cost?

PhD and MPhil

UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students 

  • Full-time:  £4,596 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,298 per year (may be subject to annual increase)

EU students

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time:  £4,596 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,298 per year (may be subject to annual increase)

International students  

  • Full-time: £16,200 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £8,100 per year (may be subject to annual increase)

PhD by Publication 

External candidates: £4,596

Members of staff: £1,760 

All fees are subject to annual increase. If you are an EU student starting a programme in 20221/23 please visit this page.

PhD and MPhil

UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students 

  • Full-time:  £4,596 per year (may be subject to annual increase)*
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,298 per year (may be subject to annual increase)*

EU students

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time:  £4,596 per year (may be subject to annual increase)*
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,298 per year (may be subject to annual increase)*

International students  

  • Full-time: £17,200 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £8,600 per year (may be subject to annual increase)

PhD by Publication 

External candidates: £4,596*

Members of staff: £1,850

All fees are subject to annual increase. If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2023/24 please visit this page.

 

*This is the 2022/23 UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) maximum studentship fee; this fee will increase to the 2023/24 UKRI maximum studentship fee when UKRI announces this rate in Spring 2023.

 

Bench fees

Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.

Funding support

MPhil full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the Government Postgraduate Loan (UK/EU students only).

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the Government Doctoral Loan (UK/EU students only).

For information on other sources of funding, visit our funding your postgraduate research degree page.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for a PhD, MPhil or Professional Doctorate include a good honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject, or a master’s degree in an appropriate subject. Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications may be considered. All applicants are subject to interview.

If English is not your first language, you'll need English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Support and facilities

When you join us, you'll be supported by our Graduate School, alongside your assigned supervisory team, who'll help you get the most from our facilities. The Graduate School will help you become part of our thriving, collaborative research community, and help grow your skills as a researcher through the Graduate School Development Programme, which offers training, workshops and events.

You'll also use our exceptional facilities, including our Bloomberg Suite – where you'll have access to data from Bloomberg, Datastream, and S&P Global, and use the latest statistical software, including Stata, Matlab, EViews and SPSS Statistics.

What can a postgraduate research degree do for my career?

Once you complete your postgraduate research degree, you'll be a highly-skilled researcher with the knowledge and skills to make an impact in many different industries.

Your postgraduate research qualification demonstrates to potential employers that you're an intelligent, capable and motivated person, with provable abilities and experience in critical thinking, problem-solving, project management, communication, leadership and creativity. You'll also develop research management skills, and an in-depth knowledge of the subject on which your PhD is focused.

After researching with us, our successful postgraduate research candidates have gone on to impressive positions in a variety of fields – from positions within academia, to careers in industry and the public sector.

Apply

Apply for a research degree in English Literature by completing our online form. 

February (2023 start

April (2023 start)

October (2023 start)

Current research

Explore the work we're doing across our 4 areas of research expertise in English Literature.

Body Politics

We're exploring how bodies shape identity, how the body is presented through performance, and how cultural representations of bodies have changed over time.

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Modern Literature

We're studying literature written in or translated into English, from across the globe and within different genres, from the Renaissance to the present.

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Culture, Community and Heritage

We're examining how communities are formed — and sometimes disintegrated — through the sharing of writing, reading, performance and the literary dissemination of ideas.

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Time, Space and Environment

We're exploring representations of time, space and environment in literature and culture – from the eighteenth century to the present day.

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