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Studying at PhD level – University of Reading

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  • Flexible study

    Programmes tailored to your specifc needs and interests

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.




As a PhD student in the Modern Languages and European Studies Department, you will be provided with a desk in a shared office.


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.


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.

The Graduate School


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.


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:

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.




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.

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