English Literature PHD
Why choose this course
We perform innovative and world-leading research across literature, writing and linguistics, and have been ranked as one of the top ten English departments in the UK by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017 and the Guardian University Guide 2018 for our undergraduate programmes.
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 concentrates on a range of periods, themes and subjects, including medieval literature, Shakespeare and the Renaissance, romanticism, Victorian and 19th-century literature, modern and contemporary literature, creative writing, and film studies.
Our diverse mix of subject specialities mean that we are a vibrant and imaginative community with lots of opportunity for intellectual exchange.
What you will study
Our PhD in English Literature 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 progress. 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.
|Qualification||Study mode||Course length||Start date|
|PHD||Full-time||48 months||October 2018|
|PHD||Part-time||96 months||January 2019|
|PHD||Part-time||96 months||October 2018|
|PHD||Full-time||48 months||July 2018|
|PHD||Part-time||96 months||April 2018|
|PHD||Part-time||96 months||July 2018|
|PHD||Full-time||48 months||April 2018|
There are additional costs that you can expect to incur when studying at Surrey. Find out more.
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).
- Women's writing (especially medieval women's writing, early modern women's drama and Victorian women writers)
- Medieval romance
- Victorian studies
- Modernism and modernity
- Travel and mobility
- Western and global esotericisms
- Sexuality and queer theory
- Postmodern writing
- Literature and the Environment
- Medical humanities
You’ll be allocated a desk 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.
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.
Applicants are expected to hold a good first degree (a minimum 2:1 or equivalent) and an MA in a relevant topic.
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.
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 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.
|Study mode||Start date||UK/EU fees||Oversees fees|
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.
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences studentship
Funding information:This studentship includes a tuition fee waiver (home/EU or international) and a maintenance stipend at current research-council rates for a full-time PhD.
Development of novel radiation-grafted powder ionomers for use in high performance alkali membrane fuel cells
Funding information:Funding status: Directly Funded Project (European/UK Students only) EU/UK fees for 3 years: 2018-19 level £4195 Standard stipend for 3 years: 2017-18 level £14,553 £5k bench fees across three-year project
"My supervisors push me further to refine and sharpen my ideas, and encourage me to think ahead and to view my PhD as not only as a degree, but as an opportunity to become part of a larger group of world-leading researchers."
"The relationships I have developed across the department and with my peers have opened many doors in terms of research collaboration and peer support."