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As a postgraduate research student in the Department of English Literature at Reading, you will become part of a friendly and vibrant community.

We are a medium-sized, broadly-based and informal department and work across a broad range of periods, topics and approaches. We are also divided-up into more specialised research themes such as Identities, Medical Humanities and Book History.

Life as a PhD student

We foster an environment where staff and students can learn from one another and you will regularly take part in debate and discussions about your research.

As a PhD student, you will be warmly welcomed to the various research seminars given by both external and internal speakers, including research seminar strands on, for instance, Book History and on Children’s Literature.

You will form study or reading groups with other doctoral students under the support of the Department and with the help of the Departmental Director of Postgraduate Studies.


Engage with the wider doctoral community

As a PhD student at Reading, you'll have access to the Doctoral and Researcher College, which brings together the University's large doctoral community.

At the heart of this is Old Whiteknights House, a dedicated facility that provides space for you to work and network with other PhD students across a variety of disciplines.

The Doctoral and Researcher College coordinates a range of activities, including the annual Doctoral Research Conference, an event that showcases the variety and excellence of postgraduate research taking place at Reading.

Another event that celebrates academic excellence is the Doctoral and Researcher College's annual public lecture – the Fairbrother Lecture – which is delivered by a current or recent PhD student.

Doing a PhD at Reading, you always have staff and other PhDs to ask questions, learn from and importantly have a bit of a laugh with now and again. I really have felt that no question is a stupid question. My supervisors have been absolutely great throughout my PhD, with regular meetings, useful advice, lots of encouragement, and help with keeping calm when life gets stressful!

Nicola Thorn

Presenting opportunities

Over the course of your PhD you'll have opportunities to communicate your work and network with other researchers. You can present seminars, speak at conferences and workshops, and visit or host researchers from elsewhere.

We strongly encourage you to attend conferences and other events to widen your network of contacts. We provide assistance with arranging travel and accommodation.

Supportive environment

As a member of the postgraduate research community at Reading, you have access to a wide range of services, facilities and supportive staff.

We want to enable you to perform at your best and successfully complete your doctoral studies within your chosen timeframe.

Find out more about the support available

Student using a laptop outdoors

Life on campus

Our main campus is set on 130 hectares of beautiful parkland, so you'll find plenty of places to relax. Our campus is home to a thriving community and features the Students' Union, Library and places to eat.

Our stories

Read stories from our staff, students, and alumni to find out what it's like to study English Literature at the University of Reading.

Life in Reading

Step off campus and you'll find yourself in a bustling town centre offering a variety of shops, restaurants and activities. We're also well-connected – you can reach London Paddington within half an hour by train.