GermanFind a programme
|Run by||Faculty of Arts|
|Awards available||PhD, MPhil|
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|
The PhD can be studied via distance learning. The MPhil will be offered via distance learning from September 2021.
MPhil: a standalone, one-year (full-time) research degree. Students will undertake their own research project, concluding in the submission of a 25,000 word dissertation. Students may have the option to audit units from our taught master's programmes if they are relevant to their research.
PhD: a research project undertaken across three years (full-time, plus a writing up period), culminating in an 80,000 word thesis. As well as having the option to audit taught units, there may be the potential for PhD students to teach units themselves from their second year of study onwards.
Staff and postgraduate students in the Department of German pursue research across a broad spectrum of German studies, covering many aspects of language and linguistics, literature, history and culture from the early modern period to the present day. We have particular expertise in historical and modern sociolinguistics, in modern literature (the novel, poetry and drama, especially in the classical age, the early 20th century and the post-Wende period), the history and politics of Germany and Austria since 1800 (particularly the political East), German children's literature, exile writing, and comparative literature. We also benefit from strong links with partner universities and research centres in Germany and Austria.
We welcome applications from graduates wishing to pursue custom-designed research programmes. Interdisciplinary and cross-language research is particularly encouraged and well supported across the School of Modern Languages and the wider faculty. Our postgraduates are fully integrated in a professionally and personally supportive departmental and school community.
You will be part of a departmental reading/study group, and you will have the opportunity to present your work at departmental, school-level research events and colloquia elsewhere within the faculty. We will help develop your full range of academic skills, including publication, and may be able to offer opportunities for undergraduate teaching after your first year.
Dedicated research facilities foster interdisciplinary collaboration through a series of research seminars and other events. In addition, the Multimedia Centre is a specialist language centre comprising a language laboratory, media suite, a library of foreign films, newspapers and magazines, and a screening room.
Fees for 2021/22
We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2021/22 are as follows:
- UK: full-time
- UK: part-time
- Overseas (including EU): full-time
- Channel Islands/Isle of Man: full-time
Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.
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 2021/22
The University of Bristol is part of the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWW DTP), which will be offering studentships for September 2021. 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.
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.
PhD: A master's qualification, or be working towards a master's qualification, or international equivalent. Applicants without a master's qualification may be considered on an exceptional basis, provided they hold a first-class undergraduate degree (or international equivalent). Applicants with a non-traditional background may be considered provided they can demonstrate substantial equivalent and relevant experience that has prepared them to undertake their proposed course of study.
See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.
English language requirements
If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level:
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.
Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.
Research within the department focuses on five major areas:
- Historical and modern sociolinguistics, and in particular, language policy, language standardisation, and language attitudes;
- The social and political history of Austria and the GDR, including post-1945 and 1990 memory studies;
- The relationship of literature and history in the experience of exile;
- Comparative literature and the relationships of literature to music and the visual arts;
- The literature and culture of Germany and Austria from the 18th century to the present day with particular strengths in writing in the German classical age (Goethe, Schiller), modernism and the literature of the two Germanies.
Staff are also active in interdisciplinary research at school and faculty level, focusing on themes and approaches such as conflict and culture, identity formation, Weimar culture, comparative literature and translation. Several of our postgraduates are co-supervised by colleagues from other departments, where this is desirable.
The department has had success recently in obtaining external funding for postgraduate studies, post-doctoral fellows and research grants from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Leverhulme Trust and the Humboldt Foundation, among others.
The department's collaborative research in linguistics and East German studies was recently supported by AHRC-funded networks for work in 'History and Language, Linguists and Historians' (2008-10) and 'After the Wall: Reconstructing and Representing the GDR' (2009-11). Our commitment to literary studies has been recognised with AHRC awards to study Arthur Schnitzler (2014-17) and work on archives at the British Library which belonged to the author Stefan Zweig (2014-17) and the poet and translator Michael Hamburger (2020-). Post-doctoral fellows have been researching a range of topics on German comparative literature, historical sociolinguistics and East German history.
Graduates from this programme develop a wide variety of careers, including in the cultural and heritage sectors and as academics in higher education.
Dr Mark Allinson, (Senior Lecturer), modern German and Austrian political and social history, especially GDR history; politics in the new Bundesländer
Dr Steffan Davies, (Senior Lecturer), classical modernism (especially Döblin); exile; German history (19th and 20th centuries); German literature of the Classical Age (Goethe, Schiller)
Dr Anna Havinga, (Lecturer), historical sociolinguistics; language policy; language standardisation; the emergence of Scots in legal texts in the Medieval and Early Modern Period
Dr Debbie Pinfold, (Senior Lecturer), Literary responses to the Third Reich; memory studies, in particular memories of the former GDR; post-1945 German literature, especially prose fiction and literature of the GDR; representations of childhood.
Professor Robert Vilain, (Professor of German and Comparative Literature), 19th- and 20th-century German literature; Austrian and comparative literature; literature, music and the visual arts; poetry, modernism and the avant garde; translation
January 2021 start: 2 December 2020
September 2021 start: 2 August 2021
January 2022 start: 1 December 2021
Preliminary contact with staff from the Department of German can be made at any time of the year. Applicants are strongly encouraged to make contact before submitting an application.
Open days and visits
Watch on-demand recordings from November's virtual open week.
Get in touch
Faculty of Arts Postgraduate Research Admissions Phone: +44 (0) 117 428 2296 Email: email@example.com
Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, applying for a visa and the support we offer to international students.
REF 2014 results
- Modern Languages and Linguistics:
- 29% of research is world-leading (4*)
- 38% of research is internationally excellent (3*)
- 26% of research is recognised internationally (2*)
- 7% of research is recognised nationally (1*)
Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.