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Postgraduate research


A postgraduate researcher studying a text at Chawton House library.

Join a research community with a strong commitment to good supervision and diversity of thought. We have expertise in all literary periods from the medieval to the present day, as well as creative writing.


We pride ourselves on the quality of our research. The latest national research evaluation, the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, ranked our research in joint 8th position, placing us in the top 10% for research in the country.

You'll have a supervisory team tailored to your research project's specific needs, staffed with researchers who are at the forefront of developments in their fields. These experts will regularly review your work and give detailed feedback to guide you.

You can make use of a rich range of opportunities, such as seminar series and regular formal training events. These will provide you with the wisdom and capabilities to complete your project, enhance your CV, and prepare you for your chosen career.

You'll also have access to a wide range of centres and facilities, including Chawton House library

If you wish to conduct research without travelling to Southampton regularly, you can apply for the programme via distance learning.

A PhD in English or Creative Writing has helped our graduates to establish careers in academic research, publishing, policy work, teaching, project design/management, and a wide variety of roles as writers and researchers in diverse media organisations.

English literature

The goal of the PhD is a final thesis of 75,000 words, to be examined by an internal and external examiner. You'll meet with your supervisor about once a month to discuss the progress and direction of your research, as well as receiving feedback from your advisor.

Creative writing

The goal is to submit an extended and original piece of creative work, which takes the form of either:

  • Creative prose: 50,000 - 85,000 words of creative prose and 20,000 words of critical writing
  • Poetry: 8000 - 15,000 words of poetry and 20,000 - 40,000 words of critical writing
  • Performance of dramatic composition: 3 hours performance time and 20,000 words of critical writing

Main areas of research

  • creative writing
  • modern and contemporary writing
  • medieval and Renaissance culture
  • the 18th and 19th centuries
  • Jewish and non-Jewish relations
  • multimedia creativity and textuality
  • postcolonial world literature and global cinema
  • reception and adaptation theory
  • cultural histories of knowledge

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