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English at Brunel has gone from strength to strength over the last decade to the point where it is now regularly ranked in the top ten English departments in the UK in the Guardian league tables. We have a thriving graduate community, and welcome PhD applications in any of our particular areas of strength, which include modern and contemporary literature, Shakespeare, Renaissance studies, Victorian literature and culture, and world literature in English.

Research in the area of contemporary literature and culture is clustered within the Contemporary Writing Research Group. The group organises regular research events and the annual Hillingdon Literary Festival. It also runs the popular MA in English programme at Brunel. A BCCW branded book series, ‘British Fiction: The Decades Series’ is published by Bloomsbury Academic.

Benefits for students

This research culture benefits undergraduate as well as postgraduate students. At Brunel, all of your lecturers are actively engaged in research or creative practice. This means that you will be introduced to cutting-edge issues and practice in your modules, by experts who participate in the development of the field. At level 3, specialist modules involve students in advanced and in-depth study of subjects in which lecturers share a particular research interest.

A full description of staff research interests, and the kinds of projects which each staff member can supervise, is now available. Some past research projects undertaken by faculty at Brunel include:

  • War, heroic masculinity, and the body in the early modern period
  • Exiles, refugees and migrants in the early modern world
  • The rise of print and propaganda in the West, c.1450-1750
  • Writing and rewriting history in early modern Europe
  • The Reformation in print
  • Fantasy writing of the 19th and 20th centuries
  • 20th/21st century comparative studies
  • Mass-Observation and Everyday Life
  • Working-class and proletarian writing
  • Modernist and postwar women's writing
  • Transnational modernist studies
  • Popular fictions, popular culture and consumption
  • Radical politics and aesthetics
  • Gender studies
  • Queer studies and sexuality studies
  • The New York School and the avant-garde
  • Postcolonial literature and theory
  • Caribbean and migrant fiction
  • World Literature
  • World-systems theory, development studies, global capitalism
  • Postwar science fiction
  • 9/11 and the traumatological
  • Narrative analysis
  • Contemporary global fictions
  • Contemporary British fiction
  • The break-up of Britain as represented in contemporary fiction

Research Centres

The College hosts two research centres:-

These centres promote international, interdisciplinary and high impact research by acting as key points of contact between academics, practitioners and the wider community, organizing major events, and hosting associated researchers.

Related PhD courses 

You are very welcome to undertake your PhD or MPhil in one of our research areas and work alongside our researchers. As a research student you'll benefit from the latest work by internationally-renowned academics and the support of our Graduate School. Many of our research initiatives involve successful collaborations with industry, the public sector, business and government, both in the UK and overseas. We have many funded and non-funded research degree opportunities available. For more information, visit our Research Degrees homepage 

Fully-funded studentships

Our funded studentships become available at different times of the year. Please keep checking our page regularly to see the latest funded opportunities. We also advertise all our funded studentships as soon as they become available on the @BrunelResearch twitter account.

View all studentships