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Find out about the research we do in English

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English PhD

PhD topics

Find a supervisor

Start date

January

October

April

Mode of study

3 years full-time

6 years part-time

Fees

2020/21

UK / EU £4,407

International £17,355

Entry requirements

2:1

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Research profile

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

You can explore our campus and facilities for yourself by taking our virtual tour.

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Find a supervisor

Our researchers create knowledge and advance understanding, and equip versatile doctoral researchers with the confidence to apply what they have learnt for the benefit of society. Find out more about working with the Supervisory Team.

You are welcome to approach your potential supervisor directly to discuss your research interests. Search for expert supervisors for your chosen field of research.

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Research journey

This course can be studied 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, starting in January. Or this course can be studied 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, starting in October. Or this course can be studied 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, starting in April.

Find out about what progress might look like at each stage of study here: Research degree progress structure.

PhD topics

While we welcome applications from student with a clear direction for their research, we can also provide you with some ideas. Search for PhD topics for your chosen field of research.

The programme specification is in the process of being updated and may not be an accurate reflection of the programme.

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Research support

Excellent research support and training

The Graduate School provides a range of personal, professional and career development opportunities. This includes workshops, online training, coaching and events, to enable you to enhance your professional profile, refine your skills, and plan your next career steps as part of the Researcher Development Programme.

Find our more: Study environment for research students

Library services

Brunel's Library is open 24 hours a day, has 400,000 books and 250,000 ebooks, and an annual budget of almost £2m. Subject information Specialists train students in the latest technology, digital literacy, and digital dissemination of scholarly outputs.

The Library services boast:

  • 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

Find out more: Brunel Library

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Careers and your future

Tailored careers support is offered to all our current PhD students and for up to 3 years after you complete your research at Brunel. We help you to actively engage in career planning and managing your personal development right from the start of your research. Our careers provision includes online advice, one to one consultations and a range of events and workshops.

In addition, where available, you may be able to undertake some paid work as we recognise that teaching and learning support duties represent an important professional and career development opportunity.

Find out more.

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UK entry requirements

The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (1st or 2:1). 

An interview may be required as part of the admissions process, and if so it would be conducted by one of the academic staff members remotely via Skype, phone or other means. 

Applicants will be required to submit a personal statement and a research statement.
Please contact your proposed supervisor, where possible, to receive feedback and guidance on your research statement before submitting it. Learn how to prepare a research statement here.  

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EU and International entry requirements

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.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 7 (min 6 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 64 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 70% (min 60% in all areas)
  • TOEFL: 100 (min 20)

You can find out more about the qualifications we accept on our English Language Requirements page.

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 through our Brunel Language Centre.

Please check our Admissions pages for more information on other factors we use to assess applicants. This information is for guidance only and each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Entry requirements are subject to review, and may change.

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Fees and funding

2020/21 entry

UK / EU

£4,407 full-time

£2,203 part-time

International

£17,355 full-time

£8,675 part-time

Fees quoted are per year and are subject to an annual increase.

Some courses incur additional course related costs. You can also check our on-campus accommodation costs for more information on living expenses.

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. Recently the UK Government made available the Doctoral Student Loans of up to £25,000 for UK and EU students and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.