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The University of Southampton
EnglishPart of HumanitiesPostgraduate study

Research Degrees

English at Southampton offers great opportunities for postgraduate research. We can offer expertise in all literary periods from the medieval to the present day.

Our courses

Good supervision is the heart of our commitment to providing excellent doctoral research programmes. In English at Southampton, you'll have a supervisory team tailored to your research project's specific needs, drawn from our large and diverse body of research active staff, who are at the forefront of developments in their fields.  Interdisciplinary study is a special strength of Humanities, and English staff and students are active in a number of research centres and cross-disciplinary and collaborative projects; we particularly welcome applications in these areas.

If you're interested in applying to us to study for a research degree, have a look at the research interests of individual members of our staff. If you think one or more of them might be an appropriate supervisor for you, please contact the Postgraduate Research Co-ordinator, Dr Matt Kerr, with a brief outline of your research project. If you'd like to do research on a project across disciplines, we can arrange co-supervision with colleagues elsewhere in Humanities.  If you wish, you can also contact separately any members of staff that you think might be interested in your proposed project. We'll help you develop your ideas, advise you on making an application, and assist you in applying for funding.

How to Apply

Postgraduate students can apply for courses using our online application form. Find out more about the process, deadlines, entry requirements and more on our postgraduate application pages.

PhD study at Southampton

A well-stocked library, proximity to the British Library in London and the Bodleian Library in Oxford (both within easy reach by train), and excellent ICT provision make Southampton a top choice for research students. Students may be full-time or part-time, and fund their studies through grants, university studentships, and their own earnings and loans. For more information on these, see the Faculty of Arts and Humanities 'Money Matters' page. Postgraduate research in English is based on individual supervision and is conducted mainly by regular meetings between student and supervisors. You'll have a lead supervisor with expertise in your area of research and a second supervisor who can offer further research advice and read drafts of written work.

Degree structure
The PhD takes three years of full-time study (up to six years for part-time study), and requires a dissertation of up to 75,000 words. All our students are registered initially for the degree of MPhil and must apply to upgrade their candidature if they plan to submit for a PhD. This should take place at least six months before the thesis is submitted for examination, but in practice normally takes place during the second year of full-time candidature. In the case of part-time students, the upgrading procedure takes place at the equivalent stage.

Research Skills Training
As a postgraduate researcher within Humanities you will undertake training through the Humanities Graduate School to improve your research and transferable skills, and raise your awareness of the research environment. The training programme consists of seminars focused on specific skills such as critical thinking, giving a research paper, and on milestones in doctoral study, for example the First Year Presentation, the MPhil Upgrade and the Viva. Versions of the training sessions are made available online. The Centre for Language Study offers high-quality tuition in a wide range of languages (including Latin) at a variety of levels, as well as support for international students who need to improve their command of academic English.

Teaching opportunities and professional development
Research postgraduate students have the opportunity to gain teaching experience on English discipline or Lifelong Learning courses, a crucial step towards an academic career. Annual induction sessions for postgraduates new to teaching are provided by the Faculty. Many of our research students develop valuable organisational, administration, web-editing and publicity skills through activities such as co-organising postgraduate symposia or research seminars, writing or editing for the postgraduate journal emergence, or through marketing or publicity studentships. 

Apply for a postgraduate research degree

Our Staff

A comprehensive list of our staff within English at the University of Southampton

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