Degree typesTypes of research degrees explained
DurationDegree duration details
LocationExeter (Streatham)
Study modesFull time and part time
Distance-based research available Study mode details
Start date September, January or April

Research overview

Research areas

Centre for Victorian Studies (CVS)

The CVS covers all areas of Victorian Britain and the Empire: culture (high Victorian and fin de siecle literature, gender, and sexuality); science (biology and economics); technology (print, optical and sound media). CVS is an institutional member of the University of California Dickens Project and annually sends one staff member and one advanced research student to California, where they share a week’s academic activities with international Victorianists.  CVS is also active in regular collaborations with the Nineteenth-Century Studies Centre at Birkbeck, the Victorian and late 19th and early 20th-century Divisions of the Modern Language Association of America, the North American Victorian Studies Association, the Australasian Victorian Studies Association, and the British Association for Victorian Studies. We have staff on the editorial boards of every significant Victorianist journal in Britain, North America and Australasia.

18th Century Narrative Consortium

The group aims to provide a focus for research activities and publications centred on the cultural phenomenon of eighteenth-century narrative. The period that saw the dawn of the novel also witnessed the exponential development of a market for print culture and huge social change.

Centre for Literature and Archives

The centre holds many resources and manuscripts in the Special Collections archive, and actively encourages students to engage with this material.

Centre for Intermedia and Creative Technology

English staff are also involved in the College's interdisciplinary centre which promotes advanced transdisciplinary research in performance and the arts through collaborations between artists, academics and scientists from a range of disciplines.

Research groups

20th Century, Creative Writing and Film Studies

The diverse work of this large group includes specialist research on African-American writers; the American South; autobiography and life-writing; American and British modernism; postcolonial literature; Irish poetry; Conrad; Joyce; Lawrence; war poetry; Plath and Hughes; writing the city; South West writing; US cinema; early cinema; digital cinema and animation; film genres; film style, film sound and film history; US TV series and serials. 

We have Creative Writing colleagues working in Poetry, Screenwriting, Fiction in all forms, Life Writing, Childrens'/Young Adult Writing, and Creative Non-Fiction.

19th Century

Our 19th-century research includes specialist work on the fin-de-siècle; social and feminist theory; the New Woman; Victorian psychology; Queen Victoria; Darwinism and eugenics; Victorian poetry; Charles Dickens; and William Morris. Members of the research group have a strong record of attracting large grants for internationally distinguished projects and events. We take part in the University of California Dickens project, sending staff and postgraduates to its annual international events.

The CVS runs its own Visiting Speaker series that has included long-term collaborations with distinguished international visitors and it hosts regular international conferences, normally co-sponsored with the British Academy, other universities, professional organisations, or other Exeter research groups.

18th Century

Members of the 18th-Century research group specialise in: women poets of the Romantic era; the eighteenth-century novel; epic poetry; transatlantic relations; the development of the literary canon; feminist literary history and theory; oriental tales; Jane Austen; Aphra Behn; Frances Burney; James Fenimore Cooper; Oliver Goldsmith; Thomas Grey; Anna Seward; and Mary Wollstonecraft.

Medieval and Renaissance

The work of this group includes specialist research on the Middle English religious tradition; hermits and anchorites; literature and nationalism; Renaissance drama; satire; witchcraft and magic; politics and patronage; literature of the English Revolution; literature of foreign and domestic travel; science and literature; archaeology and literature; Renaissance drama in performance on film; Shakespeare; Spenser; Marvell; and Milton. We organise the medieval Exeter Symposium and regularly host conferences and workshops.


We have a number of specialist research resources and projects available to postgraduates: The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum is the largest film-related archive in the UK outside the British Film Institute; the Chris Brooks Collection is a major resource for scholars of Romanticism and 19th-century fiction and culture; and the Global Circulation Project on cultures in contact is based in Exeter. Our unique collections of writings and correspondence by authors connected with the South West such as Daphne du Maurier, RD Blackmore, Agatha Christie and Ted Hughes supplement research resources held in the University library.

The University library holds a number of resources important for our research, including the Hypatia Collection of women’s literature and history as well as online resources.

The Queen’s Building (Streatham Campus) and the Peter Lanyon Building (Penryn Campus) offer dedicated postgraduate common rooms with computer facilities and a number of study carrels available for research students.

Students at both campuses have access to a wealth of online information including: over 400 online journal titles; Early English Books Online (which contains facsimile texts of virtually all books printed in England, 1475-1700); the extensive Gale Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) research archive; search tools such as FirstSearch; the digital archive JSTOR; and other similar databases providing access to full text articles.

Penryn Campus

Studying English at our Penryn Campus gives you all the advantages of working within a small, research-driven department whilst still studying at a Russell Group University. You will have access to a dedicated postgraduate study space which features individual workstations for students. We also offer our postgraduate students the opportunity to gain valuable teaching experience through our Graduate Teaching Assistant programme.

Our staff have an 'open door' policy which encourages informal enquiries and puts you in closer contact with the academics who teach you than in any other department. We work closely with staff from other disciplines so you will also have access to academics from a range of different disciplines including History, Politics and Geography.


We are committed to ensuring you receive high quality research supervision to maximise your potential and prepare you for a rewarding career.

Postgraduates also 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 English 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
Associate Lecturer
Policy Advisor
Head of Academic Engagement
Lecturer in Creative Writing
Senior Business Analyst
Copy Editor
Research Officer
Freelance writer and teacher
Curator and Lecturer
Lecturer in English
Post Doctorial Research Fellow
Research Grant Writer
Course Leadder Editing and Post Production

Royal Literary Fund
Liverpool Hope University
ARK Kings Academy
University of Manchester
Royal Holloway Universtiy of London
Falmouth Exeter Plus
Old Mutal Plc
Piedmont Post
Civil Service
University of Exeter

Entry requirements

Students applying to enter directly into the MPhil/PhD programme would normally be expected to have a Masters degree with Merit or equivalent as a minimum, in English or a related subject, or other relevant qualifications such as a doctorate in another subject.

MA by Research

Students applying to enter into the MA by Research will require a minimum 2.1 Honours degree or above in English or a related degree, with a minimum 2.1 grade in the undergraduate dissertation. Students with degrees in related subjects will be considered on an individual basis.


All students are initially registered for the MPhil, with the expectation of being upgraded later in their studies, if appropriate, to the PhD programme.

Creative Writing MPhil/PhD

If you are undertaking the Creative Writing MPhil/PhD you should possess a honed talent for creative writing evident in your creative sample and writing experience, as well as a clear proposal demonstrating your ambition to create a piece of work to a publishable standard. In reviewing your application we will consider the strength and potential of your writing sample and proposed creative work, as well as the ability of our staff and resources to support you through completion of your work.

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.

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 2023/24

For those studying for more than one year, our fees are expected to increase modestly in line with Consumer Price Inflation measured in December each year. More information can be found on our Student Finance webpages.

Tuition fees per year 2022/23

For those studying for more than one year, our fees are expected to increase modestly in line with Consumer Price Inflation measured in December each year. More information can be found on our Student Finance webpages.

Current available funding

Contact us

College of Humanities
Postgraduate Administrator
Phone: 0300 555 60 60 (UK callers)
+44 (0) 1392 723044 (EU/International callers)
Web: Enquire online

Further information

Considering a UK PhD? - our learning resource provides information from staff and students about the PhD experience at Exeter.

English postgraduate site - applicants for research programmes are advised to visit the College's webpages 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.

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