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English Research Degrees - PhD - 2016/17 Entry

Course Overview

The essential course information

How to apply
Course Code:
TBC
Award:
PhD
Attendance:
  • Full Time (3-4 years)
  • Part Time (4-7 years)
  • Distance Learning (4-7 years)
School:
School of English
Campus:
City Centre
English PhD School of English Student In Library

STEAM Scholarships

We are currently offering fully funded PhD scholarships in English.

Find out more

An English PhD is a chance to pursue a subject of interest in much greater depth, helping you become an expert in your chosen field. You’ll be supervised by world-renowned experts and will enjoy full access to office and University facilities.

As a research student, you’ll have the opportunity to play a significant part in the life of the School, including attendance at staff seminars and even teaching where appropriate.

Your research will be delivered over three years (full-time) or four years (part-time or distance learning).

We support traditional English PhD research presented as a written thesis.

What’s covered?

  • The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is an internationally recognised doctoral-level qualification.
  • It is a ‘gold-standard’ qualification which certifies that your unique PhD research has made a significant contribution to theory and knowledge in a specific area of interest.
  • Holders of a PhD research degree are experts in their field of interest and are eligible to use the title ‘Doctor’.
  • Research proposals in the areas of The Long Eighteenth Century (Literature 1660-1830), The History of English, English Lexical Semantics and Literary Theory are especially welcome.
  • When you join us you will become a member of the thriving research culture at the School of English, and you’ll feel a strong sense of community among students and supervisors.

Why choose us?

  • The University is an active research centre, and the latest Research Excellence Framework 2014 report found we have doubled the amount of staff producing internationally-recognised research.
  • Our library will provide you with every printed book published in the UK between 1470 and 1800.
  • You will work in our new, cutting-edge facility, the Curzon Building, which opens its doors in September 2015 and will be a hub for our students, boasting state-of-the-art facilities.
  • You have the option to study the course full-time, part-time or through distance learning.
  • You will be given support by our esteemed tutors and supervisors.
  • It is a chance for you to pursue an area of English that interests you in much greater depth.

PhD Supervisors and Specialisms

The English research degree is led by Dr Anthony Howe and is supported by a team of supervisors with specialisms and expertise across a wide range of interests. Dr Howe’s main research focus is Romantic-period poetry, and he has published a number of essays on the Romantics and is co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Percy Bysshe Shelley

PhD Research Interests

We particularly welcome your PhD enquiry for our English PhD research degree within the following areas of interest:

Many of our supervisors enjoy world reputations in their fields.

What is a PhD?

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is an internationally recognised doctoral-level qualification.

It is a ‘gold-standard’ qualification which certifies that your unique PhD research has made a significant contribution to theory and knowledge in a specific area of interest.

Holders of a PhD research degree are experts in their field of interest and are eligible to use the title ‘Doctor’.

Application Process

Before you apply, please send us an initial PhD enquiry containing a brief overview of your PhD research proposal. This gives us an opportunity to discuss and focus your PhD research before you make your final online application.

Send Initial PhD Enquiry

Entry Requirements

To apply for our English PhD research degree you should have, or expect to be awarded, a Masters degree in a relevant English literary or linguistic field from a British or overseas university.

Exceptional applicants without a Master's degree, but holding a first class Bachelors degree in English, may be considered dependent upon the academic coherence and promise of their research proposal, and its consonance with the academic expertise of the School.

We also welcome enquiries from potential PhD researchers without formal academic qualifications but with appropriate levels of professional experience.

Application Process

Before you apply, please send us an initial PhD enquiry containing a brief overview of your PhD research proposal. This gives us an opportunity to discuss and focus your PhD research before you make your final online application, and talk through your professional experience if you are without formal academic qualifications.

Send Initial PhD Enquiry

How to Apply

To apply for our English PhD research degree please follow the application process below, starting with your Initial PhD Enquiry.

Application Process

1. Initial PhD enquiry

Please send us an initial PhD enquiry containing your brief English PhD research proposal (max. 500 words), and/or any questions or queries you may have.

Send Initial PhD Enquiry

2. Review Enquiry

We will review your initial enquiry to ensure your research proposal compliments one of our PhD research interests and if so we will ask you to make a full application.

3. Complete full PhD online application form

Once we have received your full application it will be reviewed and potential students will be invited to attend an interview (either face to face or Skype).

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our pdf application form instead.

4. Successful applications

Following the interview a decision will be made on your application and those who have been successful will receive a written formal offer from the university.

Start Dates and Enquiry Submissions

Our English PhD research degrees start in September, February and May each year.

Please send us your initial PhD enquiry at least three months prior to your preferred start date to allow enough time for you to progress through the PhD application process.

Need Help?

If you are unable to use the Initial PhD Enquiry or Online Application forms or require help or advice, please contact our Research Officer Shelley Fray

Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership

AHRC funding for UK/EU doctoral students

Birmingham City University is part of the Midlands 3 Cities Doctoral Training Partnership. As part of the programme, postgraduate research studentships are available to arts and humanities doctoral researchers across six institutions, including fully funded PhDs. Find out more about Midlands3Cities.

Fees and Finance

Fees for students from the UK or EU countries?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Feb 2017 FT 3-4 years PhD £4,120 per year
Feb 2017 PT 4-7 years PhD £2,060 per year
Feb 2017 DL 4-7 years PhD £2,575 per year
Sep 2017 FT 3-4 years PhD TBC
Sep 2017 PT 4-7 years PhD TBC
Sep 2017 DL 4-7 years PhD TBC
Feb 2018 FT 3-4 years PhD TBC
Feb 2018 PT 4-7 years PhD TBC
Feb 2018 DL 4-7 years PhD TBC
Fees for students from non-EU countries (International)?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Feb 2017 FT 3-4 years PhD £12,000 per year
Sep 2017 FT 3-4 years PhD £12,000 per year
Feb 2018 FT 3-4 years PhD £12,000 per year

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Fully funded PhD studentships

You could get a fully funded PhD, plus get extra money for living expenses through the Midlands3Cities Arts and Humanities scholarships.

Find out more

International Students

International Students at BCU

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK. Our reputation for excellence is soaring globally, thanks to the superb links we forge with industry, our international alliances, and our focus on practical, vocational learning.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Postgraduate Open Event

Our next Postgraduate Open Day will be in Autumn 2016. The date will be confirmed soon and registration will open shortly.

PG Open Evening

Our postgraduate open event offers you the chance to:

  • Meet with lecturers and other prospective students to discuss study options
  • Meet and chat with our current students
  • Obtain advice on fees and funding opportunities.

93 per cent of our graduates find work or further study within six months (DLHE). Explore your potential at our open evening.

Who is it for?

Whether you are coming to the end of your undergraduate studies, or have been in your job for a while and want to progress in your career or change direction, a postgraduate qualification gives you the opportunity to stand out from the crowd in a competitive market.

Our graduates are already shaping the world in a variety of high-profile roles – and you could be next. Read some of our inspiring case studies.

For more information, visit our Open Days page or call our Course Enquiries Team on +44 (0)121 331 5595.

Register now
Book your place
Wednesday 20 April 2016

University Approach to Employability

Birmingham City University is committed to preparing students for successful employability and professional careers. We have an innovative approach to employability that will help you obtain an interesting and well-paid graduate job.

Read our Employability Statement to find out more.

Career Progression

The Doctor of Philosophy or PhD is recognised worldwide and is often an essential requirement for those wishing to follow an academic or research career in industry or commerce. Our English PhD research degree has been designed to help you achieve a career in English research or academia.

Course Structure

A day in the life of a PhD student

Our English PhD research degree offers individual programmes of research across many areas of interest.

Our English PhD gives you the opportunity to spend time researching and developing a deep understanding of a unique area of interest whilst contributing world leading insight to the academic specialisms at Birmingham School of English.

Our English PhD is research based and does not include taught modules of study.

PhD Research Interests

We particularly welcome your initial PhD enquiry about conducting research within the following areas of interest:

  • The Long Eighteenth Century (Literature 1660-1830)
  • The History of English
  • English Lexical Semantics
  • Literary Theory (any period)

Materials and Resources to Aid Research

You will have access to the holdings in English literary and language in our library with its large stock of books, journals and on-line resources.

As a researcher at Birmingham City University, you will have access to the University of Birmingham Library and the Library of Birmingham.

The Library of the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-on-Avon is just 45 minutes away by road, while the Bodleian Library in Oxford is only one and a half hours away by train. The British Library is easily accessible for day visits.

20th-Century and Late Victorian Texts

If you are interested in conducting research into the literary life of the late Victorian period and the earlier 20th-century, we possess a comprehensive copy of the John Lane Archive. This includes substantial, largely untitled resources of correspondence, readers' reports, and other material relating to the Bodley Head publishing house and to the work of the major and minor authors whose work was published by John Lane and Bodley Head.

17th-Century and 18th-Century Texts

If you are looking to conduct research into 17th-century or 18th-century texts, you will have access to the specialist holdings of the Library of Birmingham, and its collections of 17th-century Miltoniana and 18th-century Johnsoniana.

Shakespearean Texts

The proximity of the Shakespearean collections at the nearby Stratford-upon-Avon makes new research into 18th-century Shakespeare a particularly well-resourced field and one we encourage.

Enhancing employability prospects

The Doctor of Philosophy or PhD is recognised worldwide and is often an essential requirement for those wishing to follow an academic or research career in industry or commerce. Our English PhD research degree has been designed to help you achieve a career in English research or academia.

Supervisors and Support

As an English PhD research student you will be guided through your programme of study by a team of supervisors.

Your supervisors will help you create your individual PhD research plan which, in your first few months, may include study for a research methods qualification: PG Cert Research Practice.

Your supervisory team will include a Director of Studies whose role it is to ensure that you are meeting targets and following the correct processes and systems for conducting English PhD research.

You will also be supported by a second supervisor (and sometimes a third) who will provide guidance based on their knowledge of your specific English PhD research interest.

You will meet with your supervisors on a regular basis to review your progress, receive advice and plan the next stages of your PhD research degree.

You will present your research developments regularly to supervisors and other members of your PhD research community at Birmingham School of English.

How you learn

  • The course is assessed through a written thesis. Your research will be delivered over three years (full-time) or four years (part-time or distance learning).
  • Should you choose the full-time option, you will undertake much of your research on campus using our facilities. You will usually spend 37 hours per week engaged in research, and you’ll be expected to complete and submit your work within 36 to 43 months.
  • If you would prefer to study while in employment, or so you can fit it around personal commitments, the part-time option gives you 48 to 72 months for completion, and you have the option to study from home.
  • Distance learning is possible, under carefully controlled circumstances, if you normally live outside of the UK but wish to conduct English PhD research with the School of English. You will still be required to have some level of face-to-face engagement with us each academic year, often by conducting research on campus at the School of English in Birmingham (UK).
  • Face-to-face research will be arranged for a period of time during the summer months, or at a mutually agreed time. You will be expected to complete your research and submit your work for examination within 48 to 72 months.
  • You will attend regular research seminars and conferences, and you will receive a dedicated workspace that acts as the hub of your PhD research activity. You will also receive individual support and guidance from our team of supervisors, meeting on a regular basis to review your progress and plan your next steps.
  • You can strengthen your PhD research and personal/professional development by participating in wider international research communities and conferences, and by helping to teach degree modules to undergraduate students.
Full-time PhD Research: three years

As a full-time English PhD research student you will undertake much of your research on campus using the facilities at Birmingham School of English.

You will usually spend at least 37 hours per week engaged in research.

You will be expected to complete your research and submit your work for examination within 36-43 months.

Part-time PhD Research: four years

You would chose part-time English PhD research if you opt to study whilst in employment or if full-time study is impractical.

You will be encouraged to use the campus facilities at Birmingham School of English when you can and may often work from home.

You will be expected to complete your research and submit your work for examination within 48-72 months.

Distance Learning PhD Research: four years

Distance learning is possible, under carefully controlled circumstances, if you normally live outside of the UK but wish to conduct English PhD research with Birmingham School of English.

You will still be required to have some level of face-to-face engagement with us each academic year, often by conducting research on campus at Birmingham School of English in Birmingham (UK).

Face to face research will be arranged for a period of time during the summer months, or at a mutually agreed time.

You will be expected to complete your research and submit your work for examination within 48-72 months.

Assessment Methods

We support traditional PhD research presented through an academic thesis.

The nature of your English PhD research will be determined by your area of interest. It will be agreed by your supervisory team during your application process.

You will be required to conduct a piece of unique PhD research, submit a thesis for examination and sit an oral exam (viva voce) in which you defend your thesis before a panel of experts.

Dr Anthony Howe

Reader and Director of Graduate Research

Dr Anthony Howe hails from the North East of England and was educated at Liverpool and Cambridge; he has held posts at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford.

His main research focus is Romantic period poetry, but he has wider interests in literary theory, literary controversies, and the connections between poetry and philosophy. His recent monograph, Byron and the Forms of Thought, offers a provocative re-reading of Byron’s philosophical thought through an analysis of the poet’s varied use of literary form. He has published a number of essays on the Romantics and is co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Percy Bysshe Shelley.

He is currently working on a project about letter writing and Romantic poetics. He is keen to receive PhD proposals in the area of Romantic poetry, letters and poetics.

Jean Jasper

The Individual:
Jean completed her PhD on a part-time basis at Birmingham City University’s School of English in 2009. Originally from Essex but now living in Worcestershire, Jean has a study background in Education and Language. She began her PhD at the University of Worcester but, after losing her supervisors there, she turned to Birmingham City University where staff were able to offer the expertise Jean needed for her particular area of research.

The University:
Jean was driven to complete her PhD by the desire to expand on the work she covered in her MA dissertation. At Birmingham City University she found the staff helpful and thorough in their support. She was also impressed by the “effort made to keep students engaged” and enjoyed the opportunities to meet up with other PhD students at regular forums.

The Future:
Jean advises people thinking about taking a research degree not to feel discouraged if they feel isolated as this is normal for someone following an individual line of enquiry. She says: “while you may have a different specialist area, many of the difficulties in writing a thesis are the same for all students.” She also believes events and forums are worth attending, even if they don’t seem relevant to your own subject as they enable you to feel part of the University and meet other members of your School.

As a more mature student, Jean says neither staff nor students treat you any differently; whatever your age, the problems and rewards of research-based study are the same.

Jean is currently recuperating and exploring the possibility of publishing some of her work.

Enquiries

English PhD

Prospectus

For an overview of our postgraduate courses and a range of other information please download our Postgraduate Prospectus (10Mb).