MPhil/PhD Lusophone Studies

Duration MPhil: Full time 2-3 years; Part time 4-5 years
PhD: Full time 3-4 years; Part time 6-7 years
  • Portuguese
LocationExeter (Streatham)
Start date September, January or April


Why study for a Humanities PhD

Hear from staff and postgraduate research students as they explain what makes Exeter a unique place to study at a postgraduate level. View full size.

This programme is a reflection of exciting, ongoing developments in Lusophone Studies at Exeter. It incorporates a number of established areas, including Literary and Cultural studies and Linguistics. It particularly appeals to students with a background interest in language contact, variation and change in the Portuguese-speaking world, Lusophone cultural and literary studies, feminist and postcolonial theory, and race and gender studies.

Our MPhil/PhD in Lusophone Studies at Exeter provides an opportunity for you to study with leading academics who are specialists in this field. The programme draws on established internationally recognised research activity and top-quality research-led teaching. It also offers the opportunity for cross-disciplinary research in collaboration with other colleagues in Modern Languages and across the Humanities, who share research interests relevant to this field of study.

Beyond the university, we have good relations with academic and research institutions internationally. There are regular seminars and workshops, including the research activity of the Centre for Translating Cultures in the College of Humanities which features distinguished national and international scholars.

Visit our staff profiles for more information about individual research interests.

Research areas

What activities are of interest to prospective research students?

Research students are encouraged to integrate fully into the College and participate in our subject-specific staff/postgraduate seminar programmes, and our research training seminar series, during term-time, as well as participate in the University’s Researcher Development Programme.

As a postgraduate research student you will have the support of both a first and second supervisor, and a mentor, to make sure you get the one-to-one contact needed.

We strongly encourage students to give papers at major conferences, and at the College’s annual PGR Conference; we also offer advice on how best to get work published. Research students participate in the lively seminar series organised by our research groups and centres, whose speakers include leading academics from around the world. There may also be teaching opportunities.

What does a research degree involve?

Both MPhil and PhD research degrees involve an extensive investigation of a particular topic.

MPhil research takes a maximum of three years to complete full-time, or five years part-time, and is assessed by the submission of a dissertation of up to 60,000 words. The PhD takes a maximum of four years full-time and seven years part-time and the results of your research will normally be assessed by a written thesis of up to 100,000 words and oral examination. The PhD is only awarded when the results of your investigation make an original contribution to knowledge in the field.

A PhD is the highest qualification that a university can award and offers a challenging and exciting opportunity to work at the cutting-edge of research: if you have these qualities Exeter can offer a very supportive environment in which to pursue research.

It may be possible to study for a PhD or MPhil with only occasional visits to the University. Distance-based students undertake the majority of their research at an off campus location of their choosing. This may mean they visit the campus at just a few keys times during their studies and for no more than four months per year. If you think you may be interested in a distance-based MPhil/PhD, please read the guidance and further information before applying.

Research areas

A summary of our main areas of research focus is provided here. The Lusophone postgraduate webpages provide more comprehensive details about current research projects. Details on individual staff research interests and publications can be found on the Lusophone staff profiles pages.

  • Postcolonial, feminist and cultural studies in Portuguese-speaking contexts.
  • Portuguese linguistics: language contact, variation and change; cognitive linguistics and construction grammar.


We provide access to excellent computing facilities and training is provided in a broad range of academic and general professional skills, such as compiling a CV, interview skills and time management.

Following the recent refurbishment of the Queen’s Building, you will benefit from a dedicated postgraduate IT suite and lounge, as well as a postgraduate and staff common room. There is also a study room containing a number of private study carrels for research students.


We are committed to ensuring you receive high quality research supervision to maximise your potential and prepare you for a rewarding career. ou will develop skills which will be useful to you whether or not you stay in academia including highly developed research methods skills. Possible careers include academic research and teaching, and potentially, usually with further professional training, employment in research and policy organisations and charities in the UK and beyond.

Postgraduate students have access to the wide range of support offered by our Career Zone. In addition, postgraduate research students can access our Postgraduate Researchers' Programme, which covers a range of topics to help you to succeed during your research degree and to act as a springboard for your research career.

Graduate destinations

Below are some examples of initial jobs undertaken by Modern Languages postgraduates who studied with us in recent years.

Please note that due to data protection, the job titles and organisations are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.

Job titleOrganisation
Departmental Portfolio Manager
English and French Tutor
Modern Foreign Languages Supply Teacher
Paralegal Assistant
Project Manager and Translator
Project Officer
Sustainability Projects Officer
Translation Internship
Translator/English Trainer
Visiting Lecturer
Aktuel Translations
Co-operative Group
MBE Training and Translation
Middlesex University
Swansea University
University of Exeter
Walber International

Entry requirements 2018

Normally students have proficiency in Portuguese (good command of written and spoken Portuguese), a good UK Honours degree (2:1 Honours or international equivalent) and a Master’s degree with Merit or international equivalent in a related subject.

Our online learning resource 'Considering a UK PhD?' provides lots of helpful advice and information from staff and students about the PhD experience at Exeter.

Applicants for research programmes are also advised to visit the College's web pages to check for specific advice. Here you will be able to find out about staff research interests and make preliminary enquiries about supervision. We advise that you do this before applying.

Requirements for international students

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

Overall score 7.0 with a minimum score of 6.5 in the writing component and all other sections no less than 6.0.


Overall score 100 with minimum scores of 25 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.

Pearson Test of English (Academic)

65 with no less than 58 in all communicative skills.

Other accepted tests

Information about other acceptable tests of linguistic ability can be found on our English language requirements page.

Pre-sessional English

Applicants with lower English language test scores may be able to take pre-sessional English at INTO University of Exeter prior to commencing their programme. See our English language requirements page for more information.

Finance: fees and funding

Tuition fees per year 2018/19

  • UK/EU: £4,400 full-time; £2,200 part-time
  • International: £16,400 full-time

Fee information

Fees can normally be paid by two termly instalments and may be paid online. For further information about paying fees see our Student Fees pages.

Scholarships and other funding

Find out about funding opportunities available to students on our research degrees in Modern Languages.

Current available funding

Contact us

College of Humanities
Postgraduate Administrator
Phone: +44 (0)1392 725306
Web: Enquire online