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Wed 19th November 2014
MPhil/PhD in English Literature and Language
One of the highest-ranking English Departments in the UK, UCL provides fantastic opportunities for PhD students to study in the heart of literary London, with access to vast quantities of resources and research materials, and a high number of academic staff working on a diverse range of specialist topics.
There are normally about 45 students undertaking research degrees in the department. Graduate students initially register for the MPhil degree, but usually in the second year, when a realistic and workable thesis has been confirmed, and work-in-progress and a future plan have been discussed, students are upgraded from MPhil to PhD status.
Students accepted for admission are given a principal supervisor with whom the student will work closely during the course of the degree. A secondary supervisor is also appointed to provide additional advice. Great importance is attached to matching student and supervisor, and ensuring that students' progress is well monitored. Students meet either one or other supervisor approximately ten times during the academic year. The Department is eager to ensure PhD completion rates within four years, and therefore operates end-of-year interviews as well as offering when possible at least one Fourth Year Fellowship which provides funds for students writing up.
Students are expected to complete the PhD within four years of registration, and the minimum period of registration is two years. Under certain conditions (as set out in the UCL Doctoral School website) research can be undertaken on a part-time basis.
Department offers MPhil/PhD supervision in a wide range of topics,
including English and English-related language and literature from Old
English to the present day. Some specialisms among members of staff in
which the Department would particularly welcome applications are: the
history of the English language; corpus linguistics;
London in literature; Old and Middle English manuscript
studies; relations between English and insular and continental French
writings from the 13th to the 15th centuries; post-medieval bibliography
and palaeography; history of the book, textual and editorial theory and
practice in all periods; Shakespeare studies, including Shakespeare’s
London; the literature of the Elizabethan court; women writers of the
16th and 17th centuries; classicism in 17th- and 18th-century literary
culture; literature and science in the 17th and 18th centuries;
revolutionary writings in the Romantic period; the history and theory of
consumer culture; homosexuality and literary
history; literature and technology in late 19th-century and early
20th-century literature; Victorian and Edwardian writings on sexuality
and adolescence; 19th- and 20th-century magazine publishing; 20th and
21st-century modernism and post-modernism; 20th-century poetry,
especially the New York School.
For many of the specialisms listed above, the UCL Library has relevant book and manuscript holdings in its excellent Special Collections department. Among these are the George Orwell Archive; Little Magazines; the Routledge and Kegan Paul Archives (publishing history); the Brougham Papers and papers of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (19th-century liberalism); the Chadwick Papers (19th-century sanitary reform); the Karl Pearson Papers (eugenics). The UCL Library also has superb holdings in London history. For language topics the Department is especially well placed, as it houses the world-renowned Survey of English Usage.
Other London archives with manuscript and rare book resources relevant to the Department’s research interests include the University of London Research Library Services, British Library, Guildhall Library, London Library, library of the London School of Economics, Dr Williams’s Library, library of the Victoria and Albert Museum, archives of the Royal Society, the Women’s Library at London Metropolitan University, and many more.
Selected list of current students' research topics
- Imagining Cleopatra: performing race, gender and power in Early Modern England
- The Point of View of the Poor- Depictions of Poverty around Orwell, 1925-1935
- Representations of garbage and waste in twentieth-century urban narrative
- The Reception of Beowulf in the light of BL. MS Cotton Vitellius A.XV
- Monstrous Births in Middle English Romances
- Nationalism and Scots Poetry in the twentieth century
- Dickens and Urban Fantasy
- Representations of Christ in Old Norse Poetry
- Shakespeare's Domestic Tragedies: Disrupted Homes on the Early Modern Stage
- Geoffrey Hill and John Milton: a study of influence
- Gardens, Society and civilising space in the work of Virginia Woolf
- Derek Jarman and life-writing
- Lexical Semantic variation and change: an onomasiological approach
students can apply at any time throughout the year. For entry in
September 2015, candidates must have submitted completed applications
(including references) by 1st August 2015.
The Department will make decisions on who to admit for the MPhil/PHD based on the strength of the proposed research project, the applicant's grades in undergraduate and Masters level study, and the suitability (and availability) of academic staff in the Department to supervise the proposed project.
Shortlisted candidates from the UK will be usually invited to a short interview at UCL to discuss their research proposal in more detail: this will generally be with the Tutor for Graduates, and the applicant's proposed supervisor. Applicants from overseas are not interviewed, but we will be in contact with shortlisted applicants for more information.
Scholarships which you may be eligible to apply for are listed here: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/scholarships/scholarships/graduate/
If you are interested in and are eligible for AHRC funding, you will need to apply via the London Arts and Humanities Partnerships (LAHP) (a consortium linking UCL, King's and the School of Advanced Studies for funding purposes). You can find out some more details about this, and a link to the application form, here: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/lahp/studentships.
All applicants that wish to be considered for funding need to have submitted a completed application form to LAHP by 31st January 2014 at the very latest.
Applicants who are interested in LAHP funding must also have submitted a completed PhD application to UCL by 1st January 2015.
If you are applying from the UK, and are liable to be shortlisted for interview, then candidates should ideally be available for interview from mid-January to mid-February.
8 of the LAHP form asks candidates to submit a reference from their
proposed supervisor. As many applicants will not yet know who their
supervisor may be, and may not have contacted them in the past, it is
not necessary for you to complete these sections. If you are shortlisted
for the awards, a potential supervisor for your project can then
complete Section 8 for you, before we submit your application to the
UCL-wide scrutiny panels.
If you are applying for the LAHP, please send in your LAHP form, minus Section 8, to email@example.com by 31st January, as instructed on the LAHP website, and send a copy, as instructed, to a potential supervisor. We will then complete Section 8s for shortlisted English candidates.
If you have any further questions about this, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three Wolfson Postgraduate Scholarships in the Humanities are normally available for PhD students starting in 2015 in the sreas of language, history and literature. Typically the English Department will secure one of these awards, although this is not guaranteed. The Wolfson Scholarship, like the AHRC, provides full funding, including living expenses, for three years.
Graduate Research Scholarships
UCL Graduate Research Scholarships aim to attract
high-quality students to undertake research at UCL. Up to 17 UCL
Graduate Research Scholarships (GRS) are available to proposective and
current research students from any country (awards to overseas students
are called Overseas Research Scholarships, and reduce the overseas fee
rate to the level of the Home/EU rate)
More details about the application process for the Graduate Research Scholarships, including deadlines, can be found here: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/scholarships/graduate/UK-EU_Res/grs
Students work closely with their supervisors, and also participate in the research seminars run by the Department, the Graduate School, and the Institute of English Studies at the University of London. Research is expected to take students into numerous libraries, archives and databases, not only within London, but also throughout Britain, and indeed further afield. When completed and submitted, the thesis is defended in an oral examination.
The Department places great emphasis on the need to provide opportunities for students to discuss their work and to learn new research methods. New research students attend a weekly seminar on essential skills, ranging from the use of libraries and bibliographies to new database and computing skills. Further introductory research seminars are run by the UCL Graduate School, and by the University of London's Institute of English Studies.
In addition, several other seminars, informal as well as formal, are held within the Department. The main formal seminar series is organised by the Graduate Tutor and the President of the Graduate Society and invites speakers from within and outside the Department to present papers on a wide variety of topics. Other seminar series and discussion groups are run by graduates, and include opportunities to try out early versions of work-in-progress.
Teaching opportunities for research students
The Department also hopes to offer many graduates the opportunity of doing a limited amount of teaching, either of seminars or tutorials or both, normally in the students' second year of research.
The English Department has its own Graduate Common Room where students can meet informally.
Graduate students organise a one-day conference each year; many of the papers delivered at the conference are published in Movable Type, the Department's graduate-led online journal.
Graduate students have organised highly successful summer workshops for Year 12 school students, supported by funding from UCL and the University of London.
Graduate students from the Department have an excellent record of securing full-time posts in British institutions of higher education. In recent years successful doctoral students have gone on to academic positions here in UCL, as well as Oxford, Cambridge, and the wider University of London.
For further information, please email the Admissions and Postgraduate Administrator, email@example.com.