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Film, Theatre & Television PhD programmes – University of Reading

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Film, Theatre & Television PhD programmes

As a postgraduate research student in Film, Theatre & Television at Reading, you'll be part of a lively and supportive multidisciplinary department.

The Department of Film, Theatre & Television has a distinguished track record of scholarly research and has played a pioneering role in establishing practice-based research in its disciplines. We are housed in the Minghella Studios, which include performance spaces, a digital cinema, multi-camera television studio, sound stage and editing suites which support staff and postgraduate research practice in multi-media performance and digital media.

Film, Theatre & Television is part of the School Arts and Communication Design, the CFAC - Centre for Film Aesthetics and Cultures and the Beckett International Foundation, and has research collaborations with other departments at Reading and in other universities in the UK and internationally. We have an active postgraduate research community of around 20 PhD students.

"I like the interdisciplinary nature of the space; there always seems to be something going on and I find it to be a stimulating environment."

Explore practice as research methodologies with experts

The Department of Film, Theatre & Television has a rich, longstanding expertise in practice as research and was one of the first departments in the country to offer practice-as-research postgraduate degrees. Refine your creative ideas and your practice-as-research methodology through a supervision process that is tailored to your needs. Join a supportive community of researchers and practitioners, and draw on our flexible purpose-built facilities. Explore how your practice can intervene in public debate and engage with a range of academic, creative and non-academic communities.

Our research students have developed practice-as-research projects on subjects including performance and duration, multimedia and digital performance, theatre and translation, animating archives and historical materials, long-take aesthetics in cinema, modes of film directing, humanitarian documentary practice, and activist theatre. They range from practitioners just beginning their creative careers, to established industry professionals. We welcome interdisciplinary as well as discipline-specific projects, and we are happy to discuss prospective applications with you.

World-leading research

The latest Research Excellence Framework assessment (2014) recognised 80% of our research as World Leading or Internationally Excellent. We have an outstanding record of major, externally funded research projects across all our disciplines, including current and recent projects on Intermediality in Brazilian Cinema, Harold Pinter: Histories and Legacies, Spaces of Television, and Staging Beckett's plays in the UK and Ireland, and we have strong links with national and international cultural institutions and industries. Our research focuses on close analysis of the languages and conventions of film, theatre and television, their cultural and historical contexts (mainly 20th and 21st century), and includes expertise on intermediality, gender, ecology and the politics of representation. Find out more on our world-leading research.

We offer flexible modes of study designed to fit with your needs. Our PhD is available for study on a full-time basis over three years and part-time over four to six years. Both full-time and part-time variants are available for study in Reading or at a distance.

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.


Sessional teaching is normally available to second and third year research students. Working closely with academic staff, research students gain valuable teaching experience in a supportive environment.


Over the course of your PhD you will also be involved in opportunities to communicate your work and network with other researchers, speak at conferences and workshops, and visit or host researchers from elsewhere. The Department has a long-standing postgraduate conference, Journeys Across Media (JAM) organised by and for research students.


Our PhD students go on to work in academia and the creative industries.

phd scholarships

The Department of Film, Theatre & Television at the University of Reading is part of the South Wales and West Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), which offers funded PhD scholarships to UK and EU students across a consortium of nine universities.

We welcome proposals related to the themes outlined by the DTP:

  • Cultural transmission, translation and migration
  • Visual and textual aesthetics and materialities
  • Environmental and regional pasts and futures
  • Politics, policies and values
  • STEMM subjects and objects
  • Conflict and post-conflict

Students will be co-supervised across institutions in the consortium. The application system opens on 3 December 2018, and the closing date for applications is 18 January 2019.

More information can be found here:

If you are interested in applying, please contact Alison Butler, for further discussion and advice.

Further information

Find your supervisor

Browse our staff profiles and learn more about our areas of expertise.


During your PhD studies, you will be encouraged to participate in academic and cultural activities organised in the department, including research seminars and reading groups, and will benefit from a programme of relevant training organised by the Graduate School.

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