English Literature

Find a programme
Run by Faculty of Arts
Awards available PhD , MPhil
Programme length MPhil: one year full-time;
two years part-time
PhD: three years full-time;
six years part-time
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available Yes
Open to international students Yes
Start date January 2017 (2016/17 fees apply)
September 2017
January 2018

Programme overview

Research in the Department of English brings the core values of our discipline - textual scholarship, critical and theoretical analysis, contextual knowledge - to the dynamic, changing field of literary and cultural study. We cover the full chronological range, from the medieval to the contemporary period, with many colleagues engaged in interdisciplinary research.

We are proud of our significant expertise in medieval, early modern, romantic and Victorian literature; in poetry; in reception history; in modern literary theory; and in contemporary writing. New appointments in areas including postcolonial writing, modern and contemporary American writing, black British writing, medical humanities, digital humanities, women's writing and gender studies, and Welsh and Anglo-Welsh writing, bear witness to our appetite for growth and diversity, and we foster doctoral research both within the department and in collaboration with other departments at Bristol and beyond.

NB For students starting in January 2017, fees for 2016/17 will apply (Full-time: UK £4,121, overseas £14,200; Part-time: UK £2,061. Fees are per annum and subject to annual increase.)

Fees for 2017/18

Full-time fees


Part-time fees


Fees quoted are provisional, per annum and subject to annual increase.

Alumni scholarship

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a ten per cent reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni scholarship.

Funding for 2017/18

The University of Bristol is part of the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWW DTP), which will be offering studentships for September 2017. For information on other funding opportunities, please see the Faculty of Arts funding pages.

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Entry requirements

MPhil: An upper second-class degree (or international equivalent). Please note, acceptance will also depend on evidence of your readiness to pursue a research degree.

MPhil/PhD: A pass at Master's level (or international equivalent).

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Application method Online application form
English language requirements Profile A
Further information about English language requirements
Admissions statement Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Research groups

We see postgraduate study as a vital component of our research culture, with students bringing their own ideas and initiatives to fruition, and engaging in research conversations with their fellow students and academic staff. Postgraduates take part in organising conferences and study days, play leading roles in departmental and faculty-based online journals (the Bristol Journal of English Studies, and Harts and Minds), and are active in research clusters and reading groups. Successfully completing an outstanding research project, with the guidance of demanding and stimulating supervisors, remains at the heart of postgraduate study. We aim to deliver that outcome, but we also want the student's experience to be enriched by wider academic contacts and by focused, helpful professional development.

The department has a significant presence in major research centres: the Centre for Medieval Studies, which organises research seminars and conferences and maintains international research links through the Worldwide Universities Network; the Centre for Romantic and Victorian Studies, which organises conferences and study days; the Bristol Poetry Institute, which draws on the department's established strength in this field, and the interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of Colonial and Postcolonial Societies.

The departmental research seminar, which meets throughout the academic session, is the principal forum for academic staff and graduate students to present and discuss their recent research. At each session there is a mix of speakers from outside Bristol (including independent scholars as well as those affiliated to other universities), graduate students and members of staff. Two annual lectures - the Churchill Lecture and the Tucker-Cruse Lecture - also bring distinguished scholars from outside the University; many other events are organised within the Faculty of Arts through BIRTHA (Bristol Institute for the Arts and Humanities), and across the University by the IAS (Institute for Advanced Studies), a major forum for interdisciplinary research. A notable recent development in the Faculty of Arts has been the formation of research clusters in fields as diverse as the sea, the history of the book, colonialism and postcolonialism, medical humanities and digital humanities. These research clusters bring together scholars from different disciplines to share their research, devise innovative research projects and give interdisciplinarity a real basis in academic practice. We are fully engaged with these new initiatives.


A large number of graduates from this programme develop careers in higher education or work on high-level research projects in the field of English literature; some graduates take up careers in freelance writing and editing.

Staff profiles

Dr Tamsin Badcoe, (Lecturer), Early modern book trade; early modern prose fiction, especially the writings of Thomas Nashe; Edmund Spenser and representations of ' space' (actual and metaphorical) in The Faerie Queene.

Dr Jennifer Batt, (Lecturer), 18th-century poetry, particularly the circulation of verse in manuscripts, pamphlets, miscellanies, songbooks, periodicals and newspapers; digital humanities; labouring-class writing.

Professor Andrew Bennett, (Professor), 19th- and 20th-century literature; literary theory; reception and literary reputation; Romantic poetry and poetics; the popular romance and the popular ballad.

Dr Andrew Blades, (Lecturer), 20th century American literature; Aids literature; literature and anxiety; medical humanities.

Dr Stephen Cheeke, (Senior Lecturer), Aestheticism; early modernism; Literature and Art (painting, sculpture and photography); Literature, Art and Christianity; Nineteenth-century literature, Shelley, Byron, Keats, Coleridge and De Quincey; Robert Browning, John Ruskin, D.G, Rossetti and Walter Pater; Theological Aesthetics; word and image relations

Dr Emily Coit, (Lecturer), 19th- and early 20th-century British and American literature; Edith Wharton; Henry James ; prose fiction, especially the novel; transatlantic approaches to literature

Dr Lesel Dawson, (Senior Lecturer), Early modern constructions of lovesickness and melancholy; early modern drama; John Ford; medical history; revenge tragedy; Shakespeare; the representation of women in early literature; Thomas Middleton.

Professor Helen Fulton, (Professor), Arthurian literature; medieval literature and politics; medieval urban culture; medieval Welsh and Irish literatures; Welsh writing in English

Dr Josie Gill, (Lecturer), Black British writing; contemporary fiction; literature and science.

Dr Edward Holberton, (Lecturer), Early American literature and writing connected with early modern colonisation and the Atlantic world; early modern literature and diplomacy; writing of the Civil War period and Restoration (especially Andrew Marvell and John Milton).

Dr Cathy Hume, (Lecturer), Chaucer; interaction of French and English literatures and medieval multilingualism more generally; medieval literature and its social and cultural contexts; reworkings of episodes from the Old Testament in late medieval English verse; the representation of love and marriage in late medieval literature, including Gower.

Dr Stephen James, (Senior Lecturer), Charles Dickens; issues of authority and witness in modern poetry; modern and contemporary poetry, especially Seamus Heaney, Geoffrey Hill, Robert Lowell, Stevie Smith, Robert Frost; poetry and landscape; refrains and repetitions.

Dr Hester Jones, (Senior Lecturer), 20th-century poetry; Anglo-Welsh literature; early modern writing by women; friendship; gender and identity in 19th- and 20th-century writing; literature and theology.

Professor Daniel Karlin, (Professor), 19th- and 20th-century British, Irish, and American literature, especially Romantic and Victorian poetry and poetics; Anglo-American and Anglo-French literary relations; Bob Dylan; Marcel Proust; Robert Browning; Rudyard Kipling; textual criticism and editorial method.

Dr Rowena Kennedy-Epstein, (Lecturer), 20th and 21st-century women writers; American literature; experimental forms and the avant-garde; modernism, especially from a transnational perspective; political commitment; the archive; theories of feminism, gender, and sexuality; visual culture; writing on war.

Dr Madhu Krishnan, (Lecturer), Affect; African literature in French; ethics and literature; global literary systems; literary value; literature and politics; postcolonial literature of the 20th and 21st centuries; prize culture; space and place.

Dr John Lee, (Senior Lecturer), English Renaissance drama; Greek tragedy; Kipling; Shakespeare; some constructivist theories of language, personality and literature; Spenser.

Dr Samantha Matthews, (Senior Lecturer), 19th-century book history and manuscript culture; children' s literature; London in literature; Romantic and Victorian literature and culture; Victorian afterlives.

Dr Ulrika Maude, (Reader), Medical humanities; Modernism and postwar writing; modernist literature; perception and philosophies of embodiment; post-war English and American fiction; Samuel Beckett.

Dr Kate McClune, (Lecturer), 15th- and 16th-century Scottish and English manuscript culture; Arthurian literature; older Scots literature.

Dr John McTague, (Lecturer), Alexander Pope; history of the book and analytical bibliography; hoaxes and conspiracies; partisan historiography; propaganda and blame; Restoration and eighteenth-century literature, particularly Jonathan Swift and Alexander Pope; satire; seditious libel and forms of censorship; the history of historiography, particularly forms of historical writing outside of the neo-classical mode (i.e. pamphlets, broadsides, periodicals); the representation of British politics 1660-1740.

Professor Ralph Pite, (Professor), Contemporary poetry; Romantic literature, especially Coleridge, Keats and contemporary responses to Dante; Thomas Hardy; Victorian fiction; writing and the environment.

Dr Rosalind Powell, (Lecturer), 18th-century and Romantic poetry and poetics; imitation, translation and translation theory; literature and science; physico-theology and religious poetry; psalmody and hymnody

Dr Laurence Publicover, (Lecturer), Early modern drama (especially Shakespeare, Marlowe, and Middleton); literary and dramatic geography; the sea in literature and culture.

Professor David Punter, (Professor), Contemporary fiction and poetry; critical theory, Romantic and Gothic literature; psychoanalysis.

Dr Tara Puri, (Lecturer), art and politics; late 19th and early 20th century Indian literature; periodicals and print culture; representations of empire; Victorian literature; women' s writing and history

Professor Ad Putter, (Professor), Alliterative tradition; Arthurian romance; comparative medieval literature (French, Dutch, Latin, English); The Gawain-poet; the popular romance and the popular ballad.

Dr Theo Savvas, (Lecturer), Contemporary multi-ethnic writing of America, particularly postmodernist fiction; the relationship between history and fiction.

Dr Leah Tether, (Senior Lecturer), Arthurian literature (French and English); digital humanities; history of the book; medieval and digital reading cultures; medieval French literature 1200-1400; publishing studies.

Dr Maria Vaccarella, (Lecturer), Contemporary literature; critical disability studies; graphic storytelling; literature and medicine; medical humanities; narrative medicine.

Dr Sebastiaan Verweij, (Lecturer), Book history and bibliography; early modern; late medieval; Scottish literature.

Dr William Wootten, (Lecturer), Bristol (modern & contemporary poetry); creative writing; history of Penguin publishing.; poetry.

Dr Jane Wright, (Senior Lecturer), 19th-century literature, particularly Victorian poetry and literary criticism (and especially Tennyson, Clough, Arnold, Hopkins).

How to apply
Application deadline:

September 2017 start: 1 August 2017
January 2018 start: 1 December 2017

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, and the support we offer to international students.

I chose Bristol because of its outstanding academic reputation. It's reassuring to be taught by people who truly love their subject - their passion becomes contagious.


REF 2014 results

  • 11% of research is world-leading (4 star)
  • 57% of research is internationally excellent (3 star)
  • 25% of research is recognised internationally (2 star)
  • 7% of research is recognised nationally (1 star)

Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.

Bristol Doctoral College

The Bristol Doctoral College facilitates and supports doctoral training and researcher development across the University.

Get in touch

Postgraduate Admissions Phone: +44 (0) 117 331 8458 Email: artf-pgadmissions@bristol.ac.uk

Faculty of Arts
University of Bristol
3-5 Woodland Road
Bristol BS8 1TB http://www.bristol.ac.uk/humanities/ http://www.bristol.ac.uk/english/


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