• 4th in the UK for research power in English
  • Top 50 worldwide for English (QS World University Rankings 2017)
  • Ranked top 5 in the UK in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018 and top 10 in Complete University Guide 2018
  • £3.5 million external research funding awarded in the past 4 years
  • 69 fully funded doctoral studentships over the last 3 years
  • Biggest film-related archive in the UK outside the British Film Institute and unique resources in 19th-century fiction and culture
  • Flexible English Literary Studies MA with seven specialist pathways and a broad range of modules

Ranked first in the UK for world leading research, Exeter is an internationally recognised centre for research and teaching in English. With over 150 UK and international postgraduate students and over 45 academic staff, the department offers an engaging environment within which to undertake a postgraduate research degree.

We offer an MPhil/PhD in English Studies, an MPhil/PhD in Creative Writing, as well as a Masters by Research in English Studies. Our courses are available both on the Streatham Campus in Exeter and our Cornwall Campus.

All members of staff are active researchers and their interests as a whole encompass all the varieties of Anglophone culture not only in Britain, but in the US and elsewhere. Students at Exeter have the opportunity to engage with a stimulating postgraduate research community, be it through specialised reading and research groups – from Victorian Studies to Poetry and Poetics - or by sharing seminars and workshops with a varied programme of distinguished visiting speakers.

At the heart of the Department’s diversity is a common commitment to the intellectual development and welfare of all our postgraduate students and to cultural history and theory in their broadest sense. The quality of our teaching and supervision is excellent, and student satisfaction is amongst the highest in the country.

We encourage students to take an interdisciplinary approach drawing upon disciplines such as history, sociology, politics, economics and linguistics alongside the theories and practices belonging to literary, film and cultural studies. This mix enables the department, its academic staff and its graduate students to offer supervisory expertise in social theory, gender studies, feminist theory, popular culture and film studies as well as in transatlantic and post-colonial studies and all forms of literature from the medieval to the contemporary.

The PhD programmes also provide the opportunity for research students to participate in the department’s highly successful teaching assistantship scheme. The scheme offers incoming PhD students the opportunity to participate in a training programme leading to a recognised qualification in higher education teaching. 

Professor Andrew McRae, Head of English

English at the University of Exeter performs outstandingly well in national rankings for both education and research. We are currently ranked 4th in the UK in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2015, and 4th for research power in English1.

The Department aims to provide an unrivalled graduate experience. We work very closely with our students to improve the quality of our modules.  Our dedication and efforts are recognised by our students, and we consistently score highly in the University’s annual  Student Guild Teaching Awards.

We have a rich and diverse graduate culture at both Masters and Doctoral level, backed up by strong supervisory and teaching expertise and extensive research resources in a number of areas. Beyond their immediate interests and concerns, our students are encouraged to participate widely in the research culture of the Department, the College and the University by exposure to a stimulating and diverse range of debates. Students at Exeter work in a lively, productive and enriching environment which encourages and supports them as they strive to achieve their intellectual ambitions.

1 Research Excellence Framework 2014 based on the percentage of research categorised as 4*and 3*

Professor Andrew McRae, Head of English

Why study English at Exeter?

Professor Regenia Gagnier tells us about what it's like to study English at PhD level and the types of placement opportunities available for postgraduate students at Exeter.