MPhil option available
This course has an MPhil option
PhD student loans
The UK Government has recently 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. A PhD involves demonstrating through original research or other advanced scholarship the creation and interpretation of new knowledge, a systematic acquisition and understanding of a substantial body of knowledge at the forefront of an academic discipline or professional practice, the ability to conceptualise, design and implement a project for the general of new knowledge, applications or understanding at the forefront of the discipline. Both full-time (3 years) and part-time (6 years) study routes are available. Once you have identified your potential supervisor, please use the contact details for enquiries. You may also approach your potential supervisor directly.
MPhil degree option
An MPhil involves the exploration of a research topic and is typically studied over a shorter period of 1 year for a full-time student and 2 years for a part-time student. MPhil students are required to demonstrate a systematic understanding of knowledge and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights informed by the forefront of their discipline, field of study or professional practice.
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 Brunel Centre for Contemporary Writing (BCCW). The BCCW 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
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
Careers and your future
Paid work available to research students
Undertaking teaching and learning support duties represents an important professional and career development opportunity for postgraduate research students. Brunel offers two levels of paid work available to Postgraduate Research students. The first level post is as a Demonstrator and the second level post is as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA). Teaching and learning support duties will vary between Departments and research students should not rely on such opportunities being available. Find out more here.
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 2019/20
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: 7 (min 6 in all areas)
- Pearson: 64 (51 in all subscores)
- BrunELT: 70% (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.
Facts and figures
Brunel University London REF2014 Submission: English Language and Literature. 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
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
Fees and funding
Fees for 2019/20 entry
Fees (per year):
Part-time (for students not requiring Tier 4 visa)
We offer a range of PhD studentships, partial scholarships, and academic prizes, to help with your research fees. Explore external funding, particularly the Research Councils, as well as other support.
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.