Research in the Department of English brings the core values of our discipline - textual scholarship, critical and theoretical analysis, and contextual knowledge - to the dynamic and changing field of English literary studies. 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 expertise in medieval and early-modern literature, in Romantic and Victorian literature, in modernism, and in contemporary writing in English. The department is notable for its breadth of research in English poetry across the periods, and our range of specialist interests includes literary theory, the history of book, literature and science, literature and medicine, literature and the environment, digital humanities, women's writing and gender studies, queer writing, postcolonial literature, Black British writing, world literatures in English, 20th-century American literature, and Welsh and Anglo-Welsh writing.
In these and other areas we foster doctoral research both within the department and in collaboration with other departments at Bristol and beyond, including in art history, medical sciences, philosophy, history, politics, drama, classics, theology and modern languages.
MPhil: a stand-alone, one-year (full-time) research degree. Students will undertake their own research project, concluding with 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 four years (full-time, minimum period of study three years), culminating in an 80,000-word thesis. As well as having the option to audit taught units where appropriate, there may be the potential for PhD students to teach units themselves from their second year of study onwards.
The MPhil and PhD can be studied via distance learning.
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.
Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.Go to admissions statement
Fees and funding
- UK: full-time
- £4,758 per year
- UK: part-time
- £2,379 per year
- Overseas: full-time
- £20,700 per year
Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to an 8% increase in fees each year.
More about tuition fees, living costs and financial support.
University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a 25% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni discount.
Funding for 2024/25
The University of Bristol is part of the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWW DTP), which will be offering studentships for September 2024. For information on other funding opportunities, including University-funded studentships, please see the Faculty of Arts funding pages.
Further information on funding for prospective UK and international postgraduate students.
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.
Meet our supervisors
The following list shows potential supervisors for this programme. Visit their profiles for details of their research and expertise.
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, regularly present papers at departmental research seminars, and are active in research clusters and reading groups.
The successful completion of an innovative 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 your experience to be enriched by wider academic contacts and by focused, helpful professional development.
All of the department's researchers have interests that coincide with (but are not limited to) the following areas:
- Early Modern to 1780
- The Long Nineteenth Century
- Modern and Contemporary Literature
- Literatures of the Global South
- Creative Writing and Creative Practice
- Material and Digital Texts
- Poetry and Poetics
- Literature, Science and Medical Humanities
- Literature and the Environment
- Spatial Humanities
- Gender and Sexuality
- Race and Ethnicity
The department co-leads the Bristol Poetry Institute, which draws on the department's established strength in this field, and members of the department are directors of and/or active in the faculty's interdisciplinary research centres: Health, Humanities and Science, Environmental Humanities, Creative Technologies, Black Humanities, and Medieval Studies. The centres bring together scholars from a variety of disciplines to share their research, devise innovative research projects, and give interdisciplinarity a real basis in academic practice.
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, 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.