PhD student loans
The UK Government has introduced PhD loans of up to £25000 to UK and EU nationals, residing in England, for postgraduate research programmes starting in the academic year 2018-19. Read more here.
About the course
Research students are welcomed to Brunel as valued members of our thriving, research-intensive community. A research degree provides the opportunity to investigate a topic in depth, and contribute new knowledge to your discipline. Find out more about Research Degrees at Brunel.
PhD students come to Brunel from diverse cultural backgrounds and belong to a genuinely international Division of Social Sciences and Communication . (The Times Higher Educational Supplement recently described Brunel as “the most international university”.) We are the highest rated research department of our size in the country, bringing together experts who understand social and political forces with specialists in communications in a vibrant and friendly environment. Sociology at Brunel is ranked 1st in London (The Guardian University Guide, 2018)
PhD students will join the Division of Social Sciences and Communication which is home of the internationally recognised Centre for Comedy Studies Research supported by high-profile comedians including Jo Brand and Lee Mack.
As an interdisciplinary centre it considers the production, content, reception and wider socio-political implications of comedy in a variety of formats and from a range of perspectives. The Centre successfully brings together leading academics and writers in the fields of media and communications, sociology, psychology, theatre, drama, film and television, computing, English, creative writing and social work.
Our research examines the production, content, reception and wider socio-political implications of comedy in its variety of formats from television sketch shows to comedy thrillers. All of our research and teaching is strongly underpinned by the belief that comedy is socially, culturally, politically and economically significant at local, national and international levels. Our work clusters around a number of overlapping themes that include:
- Mediated and Live Comedy
- Comedy and Identity
- Comedy, Taboo and Offence
- Comedy, Power and Ideology
- Comic Novels
The Centre has strong links with the comedy industry and is supported by five CCSR Ambassadors:
- Jo Brand– Comedian, writer, actress and Brunel Honorary Graduate.
- Nitin Ganatra– Actor (e.g. Eastenders and Mumbai Calling).
- Lee Mack- Comedian, writer, actor and Brunel Honorary Graduate.
- Simon Minty– Co-founder and Producer of Abnormally Funny People.
- Geoff Rowe– Director & Founder of Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival.
Contact our Enquiries team.
Course Enquiries: +44 (0)1895 265599 (before you submit an application)
Admissions Office: +44 (0)1895 265265 (after you submit an application)
Research degrees evolve in different ways according to discipline. Find out about what progress might look like at each stage of study here: Research degree progress structure
PhD+ Award – An internship to work in the industry or perform a research outreach or enterprise activity.
PhD Plus is a career development scheme designed to provide an opportunity for excellent PhD students to undertake work experience and mentoring, and to facilitate their transfer into a career area of their choice. The awards are targeted at exceptional PhD students who have submitted their thesis within the expected submission date and will provide up to three months’ funded support for the period after submissions of their thesis and before the confirmation of the award. The precise number awards each year will depend on the quality of the applicants, up to a maximum 8 awards. The maximum amount to be awarded will be in line with RCUK rates for research training support grants: http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/skills/training/
At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.
» More about Employability
Entry criteria 2018/19
The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree. All international students must show evidence that they meet the English requirement for their course of study. The Senate reserves the right to assess the eligibility of applicants on an individual basis.
As part of our application process for entry on our research degree (MPhil and PhD) programmes, we ask you to provide a 500-1,000 word research statement, excluding any references/bibliography you may include, setting out your research motivation, ideas and aspirations. Learn how to prepare a research statement here.
Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.
International and EU entry requirements
If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions
This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.
English language requirements
- IELTS: 6.5 (min 6 in all areas)
- Pearson: 58 (51 in all subscores)
- BrunELT: 65% (min 60% in all areas)
You can find out more about the qualifications we accept on our English Language Requirements page.
If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you must prove knowledge of the English language so that we can issue you a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS). To do this, you will need an IELTS for UKVI or Trinity SELT test pass gained from a test centre approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and on the Secure English Language Testing (SELT) list. This must have been taken and passed within two years from the date the CAS is made.
Should you wish to take a pre-sessional English course to improve your English prior to starting your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider for the same reason.
We offer our own BrunELT English Test and have pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet requirements or who wish to improve their English. You can find out more information on English courses and test options at the Brunel Language Centre.
Teaching and learning
Supervisors with insight
Our researchers create knowledge and advance understanding, and equip versatile graduates with the confidence to apply what they have learnt for the benefit of society. Browse the list of the members of our Theme to select your potential supervisor here. You are welcome to approach your potential supervisor directly to discuss your research interests.
Find out more about working with the Supervisory Team here.
Study environment for research students
Find out more: Study environment for research students
Excellent research support and training
Extensive training and support is offered to all research students by the Graduate School, with regular Masterclasses and individual advice on academic issues as part of the Researcher Development Programme. Read more about the available Research Support and Training.
Brunel's library is open 24 hours a day, has 400,000 books and 250,000 e-books, and an annual budget of almost £2m. Subject Information Specialists train students in the latest technology, digital literacy, and digital dissemination of scholarly outputs.
- state-of-the-art research information management tools including a research publication and grant database
- one of the largest UK’s full text repository
- an integrated data management system
- analytical tools such as Altmertic and InCites
- Open Access centrally managed fund
Facts and figures
Brunel University London REF2014 Submission: Communication, Cultural and Media Studies, Library and Information Management
The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The results of the REF2014 have been made public in December 2014, replacing the previous REF conducted in 2008. The next REF will be undertaken in 2020.
Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 - A Guide for PhD Students
Fees and funding
Fees for 2018/19 entry
Full time: £4,260 / Part time: £2,130
Full time: £16,200 Part time: £8,100
Full time: £4,195 Part time: £2,097
Full time: £15,750 Part time: £7,875
Funding for doctoral studies
A number of studentships and other research funding opportunities are available at Brunel. Please see full list here: Research degree funding.
Some courses incur additional course related costs. You can also check our on-campus accommodation costs for more information on living expenses.
Fees quoted are per year and are subject to an annual increase.