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Our research areas

We offer supervision on a very wide range of research topics, often working in co-operation with staff from other disciplines.

Within our Department some particularly strong research fields may be singled out:

  • American Literature
  • Beckett Studies
  • Book History
  • Children's Literature
  • Creative Writing
  • Early Modern Studies
  • Medieval Literature
  • Eighteenth-Century Studies
  • Nineteenth-Century Literature
  • Twentieth-Century Literature

Read more about our research centres and groups


Our programmes

PhD English Literature

This PhD programme can accommodate any interests which relate to those of the researchers in the Department of English Literature.

In all of the areas of research, a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches are welcomed, including a focus on archival work in relation to the University's outstanding archives, which include the Samuel Beckett archives, the Children's Literature Special Collection and many publishers' archives.

PhD Comparative and Intercultural Studies

This PhD programme accommodates researchers with a background in literary studies, culture studies or linguistics, with knowledge of cultures and languages in addition to English, and with an interest in comparative and intercultural studies.

Research projects within this programme can include comparative literature and cultural transfer, cross-linguistic comparison of discourses and language use as well as intercultural communication. It is underpinned by related research expertise of staff in and across the Departments of English Literature, English Language and Applied Linguistics, and Languages and Cultures.

PhD Creative Writing

This PhD programme can accommodate imaginative projects in any genre relating to the interests of writer-researchers in the Department of English Literature.

We are open to proposals that promise originality and are supported by exemplified talent in the chosen form. We particularly welcome creative projects which make use of the University's outstanding archives.

Those include numerous individual author collections, classic and children's literature holdings, and extensive publishers' material. Please direct initial inquiries to an appropriate member of the Creative Writing team.

PhD supervision

When you undertake a PhD with us, you'll be assigned two supervisors who have research expertise in your chosen area of enquiry. If your project spans more than one discipline, your second supervisor may be from a different School to complement your areas of interest.

Our academics are leaders in their areas of research and will work closely with you to ensure your time with us as a PhD student is as rewarding as possible.

Find out more about how to apply for a PhD, and identify and contact a supervisor.

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Types of doctoral degree

We offer several routes to a doctoral qualification, so you can find the one that suits you and the topic you wish to study.

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Part-time study

Part-time PhDs are available as well as full-time, so you can choose a mode of study that suits your circumstances.

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PhD by Distance

Our PhD by Distance programme allows you to benefit from the expertise of a Reading-based supervisor, while conducting your research in a different location.