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Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

Our postgraduate research community

The Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences postgraduate research community brings together postgraduates across three campuses, nine different departments and over nineteen disciplines.

Our postgraduate students produce original and world-class research on topics of economic, social and cultural importance, from human origins to creative responses to present and future social and environmental challenges, ranging from the local to the global.

The faculty facilitates cross-departmental and inter-disciplinary research activities, training and skills development for postgraduates. We are committed to nurturing a diverse and inclusive research culture that supports student wellness and professional development as well as world-class research, and that prepares postgraduates for multiple post-doctoral career pathways.

Welcome to postgraduate research in the Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences!

Postgraduates are integral to our research culture. With postgraduate-led research activities running alongside training and development opportunities, our vibrant interdisciplinary community of students from across the globe is supported to produce outstanding research.  

Read more from Professor Stacey Hynd

Professor Stacey Hynd

Faculty Director of Postgraduate Research

Our disciplines

Postgraduate students have a supervision team comprised of two or three research experts in their field, working across disciplines when relevant, and a pastoral tutor to provide mentoring support. See departmental staff webpages for available staff expertise.

Our students benefit from a dedicated faculty postgraduate support team to facilitate their studies, personal research allowances and individual training plans, funding for collective research activities, and funds for specialist training including foreign language learning. 

Postgraduate students have access to training and development opportunities from Doctoral College  Researcher Development as well as faculty and department research skills training. Careers advice and skills development is available through the Career Zone. Postgraduates can also access training for teaching in higher education and become paid Postgraduate Teaching Associates in our departments to enhance their professional development. Public engagement and impact are significant elements of our research, with training available from Public Engagement and Policy@Exeter.  

Our students benefit from university partnerships with regional cultural and creative organizations including the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, the Exeter Phoenix and the Eden Project, as well as national organizations like the National Trust, Met Office and the NHS in Devon and Cornwall.

The Digital Humanities Lab is a state of the art facility with specialist staff offering unique spaces, equipment and training for staff and students. The university library maintains extensive holdings in all our disciplines, with Special Collections of archives and manuscripts, including unique Middle East collections and the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum. Excellent studio facilities are available for creative research-as-practice, and outstanding laboratory space and technical equipment for archaeological projects. Dedicated postgraduate desk space and common room facilities are available across our campuses.

The Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences offers £1.6 million of PhD scholarship funding, including up to 12 fully-funded HASS PhD studentships for Home and International students, as well as dedicated studentships for Global Majority/BAME Home students, and Exeter/London Film School scholarships. Our International studentships include additional support for visa and NHS surcharge costs. We offer workshops and advice for any interested applicants to explain how to apply for funding and develop studentship application materials.

PhD studentships are also available through the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council and Natural Environment Research Council Doctoral Training Partnerships.

For 2024/25 entry, we also have Wolfson Postgraduate Scholarships in the Humanities available.

View the HASS postgraduate funding page to find out more about funding opportunities. 

You may be eligible for other sources of funding: search our funding database to learn more. 

Research degrees are currently available at the level of PhD, MPhil and MA by Research, with part-time, distance-learning, by practice and by publication options. Students seeking a PhD will initially be enrolled on an MPhil/PhD pathway, with transfer of registration to the PhD following a successful upgrade examination in the first twelve months (or pro-rata for part-time).

See discipline webpages for academic entry criteria and, if relevant, English Language requirements  for candidates from non-majority English speaking countries. The faculty encourages applications from candidates with non-traditional backgrounds and from minorities currently under-represented in postgraduate research and academia.

Applicants must name at least one prospective supervisor as part of their application. See departmental staff webpages to identify potential supervisors. We encourage you to get feedback on your research proposal from a prospective supervisor prior to submitting your application.

For most programmes you will need to submit as part of your application:

  • A research proposal of 1500-2000 words (not including bibliography). This should normally include: title, research question and aims, key topics coverage, related scholarship, methodology, evidence, and any relevant ethics considerations.
  • An academic CV
  • One or two academic references
  • Degree transcripts
  • Covering letter, outlining your suitability for the research and fit with Exeter
  • Evidence of meeting English Language requirements (if relevant)
  • We also encourage applicants to submit a relevant work sample (academic, professional or creative).

For information on developing your application How to apply  

Our programmes have two intakes each year: September and January.

For enquiries on applying contact PGRApplicants@exeter.ac.uk

Information for current students

Relevant information for your studies can be found in the PGR Student Handbook , with specific HASS faculty guidance included. Please contact hass-exeter-pgrsupport@exeter.ac.uk with any questions.

Useful research and training resources can be accessed at HASS Postgraduate Research (sharepoint.com) and HASS Postgraduate Research and Training ELE2 site.