The University of Southampton
HumanitiesPostgraduate study

Q300 PhD English Research Programme (4 years)

We offer PhD supervision in English, interdisciplinary studies (via the research centres) and creative writing.  Our postgraduate students are an essential part of the English and Humanities research community at Southampton.

The programme is also available via distance learning, which is designed for people who wish to study without travelling to Southampton.

Introducing your degree

Earn a doctorate and expand on your knowledge of English literature through our PhD English Research Programme. Examine writers from a range of eras such as Chaucer, Austen and Shakespeare. As a research student, you will have access to a whole range of facilities to provide you with the wisdom and capabilities to complete your research to make you an expert in your specialised area.


We offer supervision from world leading researchers across the range of English literature from the medieval period to the present day. As a research student at Southampton you will benefit from the expertise of a dedicated supervisory team as well as having access to a wide range of training opportunities which will help you to develop your academic and transferable skills. You will be part of a lively postgraduate community and will be able to engage directly with the initiatives launched from our interdisciplinary research centres: the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture; the Southampton Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies; the Centre for Nineteenth Century Studies and the Centre for Modern and Contemporary Writing. During your period of study you will be encouraged to present papers at departmental and Faculty events where you will receive feedback from peers and academic colleagues.  After Year One you may be offered a part-time teaching fellowship.

We welcome informal enquiries and encourage you to contact potential supervisors who can advise you as you develop your research proposal.

Postgraduate Research Co-ordinator

Dr Ranka Primorac


View the Doctoral Profile for this course for 2017/18 entrants

To Apply

Application process and required supporting documents

  • University online application including a personal statement
  • research proposal
  • transcript
  • 2 references
  • English language (if relevant)
  • 2 pieces of written work of between 3,000 and 7,000 that demonstrate a high level of research proficiency

Candidates are advised to contact prospective supervisors with the subject of their proposed research prior to application.

Contact for postgraduate enquiries:
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 8062

Key Facts

Duration: Up to 4 years (full-time); 3–7 years (part-time)

Assessment: Thesis (max. 75,000 words), viva voce

Start date: Normally September and January each year

Closing date: 3 months before start date (also dependent on funding body deadlines); an application decision cannot be guaranteed in time for programme commencement unless a complete application is received in good time - students requiring a visa to study should also allow extra time for visa processes; informal enquiries welcome at any time

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

Selection process

Academic entry requirements: First or upper second-class honours degree and normally Masters at Merit * level, or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University in English literature or a cognate discipline. (*Merit 60%-69%, Distinction 70%+)

Equivalent Qualifications: We will also consider candidates who do not have a Masters degree if they can demonstrate; outstanding undergraduate performance including evidence of preparedness for research (e.g. first class honours and 75% or more in the dissertation in a relevant subject); have a very strong research proposal; or other appropriate qualifications.

English language entry requirements: IELTS 7.0 overall with a minimum of 7.0 in writing, 6.5 in reading, listening and speaking, or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University.

Selection process: Online application and interview

Applications will be assessed under the following

  • Evidence of general academic aptitude
  • Preparedness or promise for doctoral research
  • Quality of the research project proposal
  • Fit with Southampton's research expertise

Applicant Quality: Your application will be judged against the following criteria: 

  • it provides evidence that you meet our entry requirements
  • it demonstrates your personal suitability and commitment to undertake Doctoral study
  • it provides supportive references that indicate your suitability to undertake a PhD
  • it presents a well-focused and high quality research proposal which indicates potential to contribute original research to the discipline
  • it demonstrates critical awareness of the scholarly field to which the research will contribute, and appropriate methods to carry out this work
  • it may strengthen your application if you can demonstrate genuine interest in working with a named academic in the department 

Personal Statement: Use your Personal Statement to provide additional information relevant to your application. This should include the following:

  • outline your reasons for wishing to conduct postgraduate research in your chosen area
  • explain how your proposed research matches the research environment and supervisory expertise offered by English at Southampton
  • reflect on how your education, skills, and experience will equip you for PhD study and to undertake your planned research
  • indicate details of any other achievements/interests
  • indicate any special circumstances pertaining to the academic record
  • tell us what you hope to get from the programme 

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


Typical course content

The PhD by Research programme has no modules per semester. Instead it is an entirely research-oriented programme in which students conduct original research under the guidance of their supervisors.

Year 1

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

Fees for postgraduate research degrees vary across the University. All fees are listed for UK, EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course name.

View the full list of course fees

Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Learning & Assessment

Study locations

Avenue campus

Avenue campus

Only a few minutes walk from Highfield Campus, Avenue provides a purpo...Find out more

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