English MPhil/PhD

Research areas:

Research in literature covers the full chronological range of English and American Literature, from Anglo-Saxon and Medieval texts to the work of living writers. The department’s research activities are divided into four main themes: the City, Editions, Life Stories, and English Language and Linguistics. Distinguished research in the field of English Language is supported by the presence of the Survey of English Usage within the department, which has recently undertaken the large-scale AHRC-funded project ‘Creating a web-based platform for English language teaching and learning’. Under the City theme, a three-year Leverhulme-funded research project on 19th-century Bloomsbury and reform was completed with the publication of its website in April 2011: www.ucl.ac.uk/bloomsbury-project. We welcome MPhil/PhD applications in all language and literary specialisms. Collaborative partnerships and ventures include:
  • The UCL Centre for Early Modern Exchanges, which explores all kinds of intercultural exchange in the period 1450–1800
  • Colonial Film: Moving Images of the British Empire – a project in conjunction with Birkbeck, the British Film Institute, the Imperial War Museum and the British Empire & Commonwealth Museum to create a digital archive of British colonial cinema spanning the twentieth-century, and organise scholarly investigations of these materials
  • Centre for Editing Lives and Letters, develops archive-based research projects of relevance to the period 1500–1800 and supports projects that pilot innovative methodologies and practices aimed at making archives matter, and that engage with the wider community. The Survey of English Usage and English language research unit, work closely with UCL Business on developing teaching resources for primary and secondary schools, as well as apps for tablets and smartphones.

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Visit the IRIS research portal to learn more about researchers' activities, research groups, research centres and interdisciplinary networks across the whole of UCL.

IRIS department: Dept of English Lang & Literature

Entry requirements

A UK Master’s degree in a relevant discipline, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard will normally be required.

English level expected: Good


Research degrees may start at any time of the year, but typically start in September. Deadlines and start dates are usually dictated by funding arrangements so check with the department or academic unit (contact listed in Next steps, right) to see if you need to consider these in your application preparation. In most cases you should identify and contact potential supervisors before making your application. For more information see our How to apply page.


  • UK/EU Full-time: £4,500
  • UK/EU Part-time: £2,250
  • Overseas Full-time: £16,200
  • Overseas Part-time: £8,250


Three Wolfson Postgraduate Scholarships in the Humanities will be available for PhD students starting in 2013 in the areas of literature, language and history.

The department is part of consortium bidding to the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) under its Block Grant Partnerships 2 (BGP2) competition for providing and supporting postgraduate research and training. Details of studentships will be advertised on our website in due course.

Scholarships available for this department

Wolfson Scholarships

The intention is that Wolfson Scholarships will be awarded to outstanding students who demonstrate the potential to make an impact on their chosen field. Wolfson Scholarships will be awarded solely on academic merit. Ideally the successful students would aspire to an academic career.

Full details of funding opportunities can be found on the UCL Scholarships website


Recent graduates have taken up academic posts at the Universities of Oxford, Nottingham and Greenwich and at UCL.

Top career destinations for this programme

  • St. Edmund Hall, Oxford University, Lecturer, 2009
  • UCL, Teaching Fellow, 2010
  • Chambers, Researcher, 2010
  • University of Westminster , Visiting Lecturer, 2010
  • Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Sessional Instructor, 2011


As the UCL English Department has been the highest-ranked English Department in the country for the last three years, UCL English graduates are particularly well regarded by employers. One-to-one academic supervision with leading experts across a variety of literary fields helps many of our students to pursue their own careers in academia, and in recent years many of our alumni have taken up teaching and research jobs at several top UK universities. Most recently one graduate obtained a position as a Research Associate at the Survey of English Usage to develop web resources for teachers in primary schools.


There are countless opportunities for UCL research students to interact with a range of leading experts in literary fields, as well as access to UCL's excellent careers service. We maintain good relationship with oura lumni,w ho are happy to advise current students on their future career plans, be those within academia, or outside.

Next steps


Mr James Phillips

T: +44 (0)20 7679 7122


English Language & Literature

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Faculty overview

Arts and Humanities


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Staff View

"At the moment I am trying to gather together everything that I have ever known for the 18th century volume of the Oxford English Literary History."

Professor John Mullan

Head of Department

Staff View

"London offers unparalleled resources for all researchers and UCL is fortunate in being just round the corner from the British Library, British Museum and the Wellcome Trust."

Professor Bas Aarts

Professor of English Linguistics