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English PhD

Start date

January

October

April

Mode of study

3 years full-time

6 years part-time

Fees

2021/22

International £17,875

UK £4,500

MPhil option available
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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.

We have some of Britain’s most celebrated, talented, original, and experienced writers actively publishing in the industry today, including Banjamin Zephaniah, Will Self, Bernardine Evaristo, Christopher Fox, Geoff King, Fiona Templeton and many more, having published over 80 powerfully diverse books between them and written for all the national newspapers.

You’ll benefit from their in-depth knowledge and passion for what they teach as well as their first-hand experience of what it takes to break into the literary and creative fields.

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.

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.

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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.

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

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. The researcher development programme (RDP) offers workshops and seminars in a range of areas including progression, research management, research dissemination, and careers and personal development. You will also be offered a number of online, self-study courses on BBL, including Research Integrity, Research Skills Toolkit, Research Methods in Literature Review and Principles of Research Methods.

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. As well as the physical resources available in the Library, we also provide access to a wealth of electronic resources. These include databases, journals and e-books. Access to these resources has been bought by the Library through subscription and is limited to current staff and students.

Dedicated research support staff provide guidance and training on open access, research data management, copyright and other research integrity issues.

Find out more: Brunel Library

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Careers and your future

You will receive tailored careers support during your PhD and for up to three years after you complete your research at Brunel. We encourage you to actively engage in career planning and managing your personal development right from the start of your research, even (or perhaps especially) if you don't yet have a career path in mind. Our careers provision includes online information and advice, one-to-one consultations and a range of events and workshops. The Professional Development Centre runs a varied programme of careers events throughout the academic year. These include industry insight sessions, recruitment fairs, employer pop-ups and skills 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 will be required as part of the admissions process and will be conducted by at least two academic staff members remotely via MS Teams, Zoom, or face to face.

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 (59 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 68% (58% in all areas)
  • TOEFL: 98 overall (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

2021/22 entry

International

£17,875 full-time

£8,935 part-time

UK

£4,500 full-time

£2,203 part-time

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

Fees for EU applicants – For entry in 2021/22 academic year, eligible EU applicants will have the same tuition fees as UK students to support EU students during this transition period. These fees will be applied for the duration of the course. EU fees for 2022 entry are not yet confirmed.

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%.

PhD studentships