Why choose this course

We perform fresh, innovative, world-leading research across literature, writing and linguistics, and have been ranked as one of the top ten English departments for undergraduate degrees in the UK by The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017 and the Guardian University Guide 2018.

We’re at the forefront of new knowledge in fields including literature, translation, language, linguistics, creative writing, and film studies. With a strong focus on research and writing in international contexts, we can provide you with a network of research links and support for your professional or academic career. 

Our research in modern and contemporary writing is diverse, and includes both literary-critical and creative work. Our approach to contemporary writing encourages the connection between creative artists and literary critics and theorists. In particular, we explore: the work of living writers; the tradition and future of innovative writing; the environment and climate change; the nature of publishing as an innovative and radical political enterprise; medical humanities; literature and the body; questions of literary and political freedom; and distinctions between ‘genre’ and ‘literary’ fiction. 

Our diverse mix of subject specialities means we’re a vibrant and imaginative community with lots of opportunity for intellectual exchange.

What you will study

Our PhD in English will train you in critical and analytical skills, research methods, and knowledge that will equip you for your professional or academic career. It normally takes around three or four years to complete our full-time PhD. 

You’ll be assigned a primary and secondary supervisor, who will meet with you regularly to read and discuss your work and make sure that you’re on track. For us, writing is essential for understanding and developing new perspectives, so you’ll be submitting written work right from the start of your course. 

In your first year, you’ll refine your research proposal and plan the structure of your work with the guidance and support of your supervisors. As you go into your second and third year, you’ll gradually learn to work more independently, and your supervisors will guide you on how to present at conferences and get your work published. 

After 12-15 months, you’ll submit a substantial piece of work for a confirmation examination. The examination will be conducted by two internal members of staff not on your supervisory team, and will give you the opportunity to gain additional guidance on your research-to-date. Following submission of your completed thesis, a viva will be conducted by a panel of one or more external examiners as well as an internal examiner. 

You’ll also be able to take advantage of a wide range of services to support and develop your writing and research skills, including the University’s Researcher Development programme. In addition to a number of excellent training opportunities offered by the University, our PhD students can take additional subject-specific training and take part in the School’s ‘Cultures in Contact’ seminar series, which provides a valuable opportunity to meet visiting scholars whose work connects with our own research strengths across literature, theory, and creative writing.

Course facts

Qualification Study mode Course length Start date
PHD Full-time 48 months January 2019
PHD Full-time 48 months April 2019
PHD Full-time 48 months July 2019
PHD Part-time 96 months January 2019
PHD Part-time 96 months April 2019
PHD Part-time 96 months July 2019

Research support

The professional development of postgraduate researchers is supported by the Doctoral College, which provides training in essential skills through its Researcher Development Programme of workshops, mentoring and coaching. A dedicated postgraduate Careers and Employability team will help you prepare for a successful career after the completion of your PhD.

Code of practice for research degrees

Surrey’s postgraduate research code of practice sets out the University's policy and procedural framework relating to research degrees. The code defines a set of standard procedures and specific responsibilities covering the academic supervision, administration and assessment of research degrees for all faculties within the University.

Download the code of practice for research degrees (PDF).

Terms and conditions

When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations, and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View our offer terms and conditions and our generic registration terms and conditions as a guide as to what to expect.
 
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will vary to take into account specifics of your course.

Disclaimer

This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read more.

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Research themes

  • Experimental poetry
  • Historical prose fiction
  • Literary prose fiction
  • Contemporary commercial/genre prose fiction.

Our academic staff

See a full list of all our academic staff within the School of Literature and Languages.

Research facilities

You’ll be allocated shared office space within the School of Literature and Languages, and have full access to our library and online resources. Our close proximity to London also means that the British Library and many other important archives are within easy reach.

Entry requirements

Applicants are expected to hold a good first degree (a minimum 2:1 or equivalent) and an MA in a relevant topic. In exceptional cases, students with a good first degree will be considered for Creative Writing where there is a substantial or promising creative portfolio.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

IELTS Academic: 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6.0 in each individual category and at least 7.0 in the writing component.

Please note: for applicants applying for January 2019 and onwards, the requirement will be IELTS Academic 7.0 or above with a minimum of 6.5 in each component (or equivalent).

View the other English language qualifications that we accept.

If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here. The University of Surrey is also an IELTS test centre.

Selection process

Selection is based on applicants meeting the expected entry requirements, assessment of application, successful interview and suitable references where required.

Students are initially registered for a PhD with probationary status and, subject to satisfactory progress, are subsequently confirmed as having PhD.

Fees

Study mode Start date UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time January 2019 £4,260 £16,000
Full-time April 2019 £4,260 £16,000
Full-time July 2019 £4,260 £16,000
Part-time January 2019 £2,130 £8,000
Part-time April 2019 £2,130 £8,000
Part-time July 2019 £2,130 £8,000

For fees payable in 2018/19, these will increase by 4 per cent, rounded up to the nearest £100 for subsequent years of study. Any start date other than October will attract a pro-rata fee for that year of entry (75 per cent for January, 50 per cent for April and 25 per cent for July).

Overseas students applying for 2018 entry should note that annual fees will rise by 4% rounded up to the nearest £100.

View a complete list of all fees for our research programmes.

Additional costs

There are additional costs that you can expect to incur when studying at Surrey. Find out more.

Funding

A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate doctoral course. Find out more and apply.

Studentships

We have a host of partly and fully-funded studentship opportunities available.

How to apply

The dropdown below shows the available start months for this course. Please select from one of these available months when you are asked for your preferred start date within the application form.

Postgraduate open afternoon

Visit the University to find out more about studying here

Webinars

Join a webinar and engage with our world-class academics

Find us

Address
01SE01, Senate House
University of Surrey
Guildford
Surrey GU2 7XH