MPhil/PhD English Studies
MPhil: Full time 2-3 years; Part time 4-5 years|
PhD: Full time 3-4 years; Part time 6-7 years
Distance Learning available
|Location||Cornwall (Penryn), Exeter (Streatham)|
|Start date||September, January or April|
We welcome applications for research in all areas of English studies. Academic staff in the Department currently supervise over 80 research students.
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. This variety is reflected in the range of topics currently being studied by students, from poetry to drama, novels to films, medieval manuscripts to the internet, and from creative and life writing to the study of panoramas and magic lantern shows. It is also reflected in the number of research and reading groups organised by students and staff and by the number of conferences, talks and guest lectures that take place each year.
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. There is a special emphasis in the Department on interdisciplinarity – the deployment of approaches from disciplines such as history, sociology, politics, economics and linguistics alongside the theories and practices belonging to literary, film and cultural studies. It is this mix that 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 programme provides the opportunity for you 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.
Current available funding
A summary of our main areas of research focus is provided here. The English and Film research webpages provide more comprehensive details about current research projects. Details on individual staff research interests and publications can be found on the English staff profiles pages.
Centre for Victorian Studies
The Centre for Victorian Studies (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 Long 18th Century research group hosts the 18th-Century Narrative Consortium which 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.
Exeter Centre for Literatures of Identity, Place and Sustainability (ECLIPSE)
Based at the Penryn Campus in Cornwall, the aim of the Exeter Centre for Literatures of Identity, Place and Sustainability is to facilitate interdisciplinary research into literary representations and constructions of identity and place, dealing with literatures of myth, memory and history, and developing a ‘new’ eco-criticism for the 21st century.
Centre for Literature and Archives
The Centre for Literature and Archives holds many resources and manuscripts in the Special Collections archive, and actively encourages students to engage with this material.
Centre for Intermedia
English staff are also involved in the College's interdisciplinary Centre for Intermedia which promotes advanced transdisciplinary research in performance and the arts through collaborations between artists, academics and scientists from a range of disciplines.
Please note: Bold name in the following staff list indicates members of staff based at the Cornwall Campus; all others are based in Exeter.
20th Century, Creative Writing and Film Studies
Professor Tim Kendall, Professor Steve Neale, Associate Professor Andy Brown, Dr Jo Gill, Dr Helen Hanson, Dr Joe Kember, Dr James Lyons, Dr Sam North, Dr Maeve Pearson, Dr Jane Poyner, Dr Belinda Castles, and Dr Jane Feaver
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 staff working in poetry, screenwriting and fiction.
In 2009 we are hosting the British Association for American Studies Postgraduate Conference, and in 2011 the William Golding Centenary Conference.
Professor Regenia Gagnier, Dr Jason Hall, Dr Joe Kember, Dr Joanne Parker, Dr John Plunkett, Dr Maeve Pearson, Dr Angelique Richardson, Dr Paul Young
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 Centre for Victorian Studies 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.
Professor Jane Spencer, Professor Nick Groom, Dr Robert Mack, Dr Corinna Wagner
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.
The group hosts the Eighteenth-Century Narrative Project, which focuses on the social, economic, political, sexual and colonial aspects of narrative and which regularly hosts conferences and workshops, including most recently on ‘Narrating the 18th Century’ (2007), ‘Romantic Animals’ (2008) and ‘Reconciling Reform and Revolution in an Age of Reaction’ (2008).
Medieval and Renaissance
Professor Andrew McRae, Professor Gerald MacLean, Dr Pascale Aebischer, Dr Karen Edwards, Professor Marion Gibson, Dr Eddie Jones, Dr Elliot Kendall, Dr Nick McDowell, Dr Henry Power, Dr Philip Schwyzer
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; Renaissnace 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.
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.
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.
PR Account Executive
Social Media Content Executive
|Brandon Hill Communications
Datamatics Global Services Limited
Ministry of Education
Royal Literary Fund
The Big Picture Company
The Express Tribune
University of Exeter
Entry requirements 2018
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.
You may wish to read our general advice for PhD applicants webpages, which give tips on how to put together a successful research degree application.
Applicants for research programmes are also advised to visit the College's webpages to check for specific advice (see further information link). 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
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.
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
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.
Current available funding
College of Humanities
Phone: +44 (0)1392 725306
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.