Studying at PhD level
We offer flexible modes of study designed to fit with your needs. Our PhD is available for study on a full-time basis over 3-4 years and part-time over 5-6 years.
- Modes of study
- Dedicated support services
- Doctoral research community
- Fees and funding
- English language support
- Life at Reading
- How to apply / entry requirements
Both full-time and part-time variants are available for study in Reading, as well as PhD by Distance.
PhD by Distance students spend the majority of their time at another location and normally have a supervisor/mentor at that location. There must be an academic or financial rationale for this status to be granted and the University assesses each application on an individual basis.
Additionally, some of our PhD students are involved in interdisciplinary projects or projects with an external partner. In these cases they may be supported by a supervisor from outside the University, and interact with a wider range of staff.
As a PhD student in the Modern Languages and European Studies Department, you will be provided with a desk in a shared office.
As a postgraduate research student at Reading you will have access to the Graduate School. At the heart of this is Old Whiteknights House, a dedicated facility that provides space for doctoral researchers to work and network with others. Old Whiteknights House is a beautiful Victorian building that has been carefully modernised to provide a range of excellent resources and amenities. It also houses a number of support staff who deal exclusively with doctoral research matters and administration at Reading.
Training is an intrinsic part of your development as a researcher. In the first two years of your degree course, we require you to follow a programme of relevant postgraduate seminars, workshops, and courses agreed between you and one or both of your supervisors. If applicable, you will be given the opportunity to enrol on the Collection-based training programme and receive bespoke archival training.
You will also be required to undertake courses on the Reading Researcher Development Programme (RRDP). Depending on the respective funder for your PhD, further training via attendance at advanced courses, meetings and workshops may also form part of your programme.
The Graduate School's Reading Researcher Development Programme (RRDP) offers a rich array of training sessions and workshops that have been especially designed to help you gain the additional skills that will enable you to carry out your research professionally and effectively. The RRDP is delivered primarily using the expertise of academic and specialist staff within the University and complements any subject-specific training that we provide. The RRDP includes training sessions on research methods, writing academic papers, getting published, public engagement and career planning.
In addition to the RRDP, doctoral researchers will also have the chance to access the following development opportunities:
- Preparing to teach – A programme focused on the skills needed for teaching and learning activities.
- Developing your potential as a leader – This leadership programme is jointly run with the triple accredited Henley Business School.
- Academic English Programme – Supporting international students to develop their academic English skills with a range of classes and services.
- PhD Plus – A scheme specifically for international doctoral researchers who are lecturers in their home country.
Over the course of your PhD you will also be involved in opportunities to communicate your work and network with other researchers, present a seminar, speak at conferences and workshops, and visit or host researchers from elsewhere.
The Department encourages you to attend conferences and other events to widen your network of contacts. To this end we assist with arranging travel and accommodation.
Depending on the requirements of your project, you will be assigned two supervisors within the Department of Modern Languages and European Studies who will normally meet with you once a fortnight to provide support and guidance. If your project is interdisciplinary, you may be assigned a supervisor from within the School of Literature and Languages or from another school. Additionally, your progress will be monitored by a committee of two members of staff and the Director of Post-Graduate Studies, who will meet you once a year to ensure that you are on track with your studies and help you to resolve any issues you may have with progression or supervision.
The Department can also provide special needs support, which you find out more about using the contact details on this page. You will have also have access to the Doctoral Research Office.
Located in the Graduate School, the Doctoral Research Office provides advice and support for current and prospective students. The Doctoral Research Office is a key point of contact for any doctoral researchers who have questions relating to registration, student status, immigration, studentships, University policy and procedures.
You will join a vibrant doctoral community within the Department of Modern Languages and European Studies, working alongside postdoctoral researchers and academic staff. PhD students within the Department arrange a fortnightly seminar session for staff and PG students.
In addition to offering training and support to doctoral researchers, the Graduate School co-ordinates a range of activities that bring students together from across the University. These include the annual Doctoral Research Conference, an event that showcases the variety and excellence of postgraduate research taking place at Reading. The conference features a number of competitions and presentations including the PhD researcher of the year award.
Another event that celebrates academic excellence is the Graduate School's annual public lecture – the Fairbrother Lecture – delivered by a current or recent postgraduate research student. This is a fantastic opportunity for a wider audience to hear about high quality doctoral research taking place at Reading.
The achievements and success of doctoral researchers are regularly promoted through the Graduate School Bulletin and on the Graduate School homepage.
Find out more about tuition fees for new postgraduate research students.
Sources of funding
Main sources of financial support for PhD study in Modern Languages and European Studies are:
- Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
- Leverhulme Trust
- South, West and Wales DTP
- University competitions
Other sources of funding PhDs sponsored entirely by UK industry or research establishments are also often available. Early application to the Department is recommended.
Qualified UK graduates are usually eligible for full funding by the Research Councils, whilst other EU students are usually eligible for funding of fees only.
University of Reading Regional PhD Bursaries
The University of Reading is delighted to announce a new scheme aimed at supporting local residents to achieve their highest academic potential, as well as enhancing their professional prospects. University of Reading Regional PhD Bursaries are designed to give candidates within the region the chance to study at Reading and benefit from the all-round training on offer to our doctoral researchers.
Information on potential funding for students from Commonwealth countries is also available from the Association of Commonwealth Universities.
Information on scholarships for students from India and other developing countries can be found on our Felix Scholarships page.
Information on the University's studentships open to overseas applicants can be found on our Postgraduate Fees and Funding pages.
Alumni fee discounts
If you have already studied at the University of Reading you will get 10% off the fees of the first year of your postgraduate degree (up to a maximum of £1,000).
Apply for your alumni fee discount.
If English is not your first language, the University's International Study and Language Institute can help you develop your academic English skills and offers a range of courses and programmes to suit your specific needs.
English Writing and Language Practice programme
This six-week programme has been specifically designed for postgraduate researchers. It is supplemented by one-to-one advisory sessions, helping you to apply what you have learned to your thesis writing.
Academic English Programme
The Academic English Programme (AEP) features courses aimed at building your confidence in spoken language situations, developing your accuracy in the English language and improving your writing skills.
The University of Reading offers the peace and tranquillity of an award-winning parkland campus, just a short bus ride from a vibrant town centre. Our thriving community is made up of students from around the world, and our range of clubs and societies offer many opportunities to meet like-minded people.
- Our campuses
- Town life and transport links
- The Library
- Clubs and societies
- Little Learners Nursery
- The Little Owl Pre-School
1. Check our entry requirements
To be accepted on our PhD programme, you will need a Master's degree or equivalent in a subject related to your proposed PhD research topic and have the necessary language competence for the distinct areas of language study offered by the Department (French, German, Italian, and Spanish, and a range of medieval languages).
If you are from outside of the UK, you will also need to demonstrate you have a certain level of proficiency with written and spoken English and achieve an overall IELTS score of 7.0
For more information on entry requirements, visit our Graduate School website.
2. Select a topic
If you have a clear idea about a research project of your choice, you should first determine whether the project is suitable for study at PhD level. The project must also be feasible within the resources and time frame available to you; it should also address a perceived 'gap' in the literature and, most importantly, be of interest to you. You can receive feedback by contacting the department.
3. Identify a Supervisor
Please contact the Department's Director of Postgraduate Research Studies by emailing PG Modern Languages.
You could also get in touch with the potential supervisor if you have someone specific in mind, but this should be in addition to contacting the Director of Postgraduate Research Studies.
It is not essential to communicate directly with the Department before submitting your application, but many candidates find it helpful.
4. Make an application
Please apply using the PhD and professional doctorate online application programme. This allows you to complete the necessary information and attach copies of relevant documents, including the details of two appropriate referees. Although you will be working with a specific department or supervisor, all PhD applications have to be made centrally.
We will acknowledge your application and then pass it on to the appropriate school or department.
Although most new students join the PhD programme in September, it is possible to start your studies in January or April during the academic year.