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Flexible modes of study to suit you

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 or four years and part-time over five or six years.

You can also opt for a PhD by Distance.

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.


World-leading research

Colleagues in the Department are consistently successful in grant capture, with projects funded by the AHRC, British Academy, Economic and Social Research Council (ESCR), Horizon 2020, and the Leverhulme Trust.

Our performance in the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (Modern Languages submission) was exceptionally strong in impact (joint 4th in the UK) and research intensity (5th in the UK). We were also commended for the effective integration of doctoral students into our research environment.

Our department's research is organised around the following research clusters:

  • Migration, Identity and Conflict
  • Translation and Publishing
  • Intellectuals and Networks
  • Corpus, Manuscripts and Archives


Our research is interdisciplinary, practice-inspired and archive-based. We have expertise in French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Arabic. We are open to accommodating research projects involving other languages as well, depending on the aims and focus of the PhD project. 

Colleagues in the Department contribute to several university centres, which offer bespoke training opportunities:

The Department's research falls within the Modern Languages and Linguistics Research Division at Reading. 

Learn more about our research

An international, interdisciplinary, collaborative community

The Department of Languages and Cultures offers a friendly and supportive environment to research students.

With staff spanning four continents, we have a vibrant international intellectual community, and we develop research with a genuine global outlook. We have an international cohort of PhD researchers and welcome doctoral and postgraduate students from outside the UK for study visits and internships. 

Our research is fully integrated across language specialisms via our research clusters. All our staff have strong national and international research collaborations which directly benefit our postgraduate community.


"My supervisor was of pivotal importance during my PhD journey. Although she gave me guidance when appropriate, she also gave me the space and confidence to grow as a writer and researcher and to discover my own answers to theoretical challenges.

"On a practical level, although there were challenges involved in my status both as a working away student with limited access to the University, and, as a part-time student in full-time work, my supervisor met my needs with flexibility and understanding."

 Emma Jackson

PhD researcher



In the first two years of your degree course, you will benefit from a programme of relevant doctoral training courses which will be agreed between you and your supervisor/s, as well as a programme of transferable skills training organised by the Doctoral and Researcher College.


Our PhD students go on to work in academia as postdoctoral researchers and lecturers, but also quickly find employment in a variety of sectors such as publishing and the media, library-related services, advertising and journalism, and secondary school education.


Institution-Wide Language Programme

Open yourself up to a world of opportunities – as a student at Reading, you can learn a language either as part of your degree or for personal development.


Life in the Department

Join a friendly, collaborative community. You’ll have many opportunities to network with other researchers, within the University and internationally.


PhD opportunities

We offer flexible modes of study designed to fit with your needs. Our doctoral students undertake impactful research that's interdisciplinary and archive-based, spanning from the Middle Ages to the present.