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We welcome applications to undertake research towards MPhil and PhD degrees in English Literature and Language.

Research at Worcester has grown significantly in recent years. We aim to produce research that is distinctive, socially and culturally relevant, and that influences national agendas. We continually strive to develop new areas of research excellence while, in certain areas, our work has already been acknowledged as world-leading.

Overview

Overview

School of Humanities

The School of Humanities has a strong mix of academics with a high degree of professional and personal experience, enabling you to get the most out of your programme. Our staff have expertise in a wide range of literary themes, including: early modern drama and poetry, including Shakespeare studies; Romantic and Victorian literature; modern and contemporary literature; American and Irish literature; literature and the environment; children’s literature; health and ability; textual scholarship; and creative writing projects with a critical component.

Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

Entry qualifications

For MPhil

  • First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree or an approved equivalent award

or

  • Research or professional experience which has resulted in appropriate evidence of achievement

For PhD

  • Postgraduate Masters Degree in a discipline which is appropriate to the proposed programme of study

or

  • First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree or equivalent award in an appropriate discipline

or

  • Research or professional experience at postgraduate level which has resulted in published work, written reports or other appropriate evidence of achievement

International applicants

International applicants will be required to demonstrate that they have the appropriate level of written and spoken English.

For MPhil/PhD this is an IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum score of 6.0 in every component.

Course content

What will you study?

PhD year by year

After receiving your application, we try to establish if we have the necessary expertise to supervise your project and we begin to form a supervisory team for you. This will normally consist of a Director of Studies (DoS), who will be your lead supervisor, and at least one other supervisor, who will offer you additional support and guidance throughout your studies. If, following a successful interview, you are offered a place as a full-time student, your programme of study will look something like this:

First year

You will have submitted a draft research outline with your application. In your first year, you will be working towards submitting a more complete research proposal. You will be aided in your research by meeting with your supervisory team to discuss your progress. You will also be supported through your first year by engaging with a series of four modules:

  • RSDP4001: Developing as a Researcher
  • RSDP4002: Approaches to Research 1
  • RSDP4003: Approaches to Research 2
  • RSDP4004: Planning Your Research Project

At the end of each year, beginning with your first year, you will reflect on and formally review your progress with your supervisory team and MPhil/PhD Course Leader. We call this annual meeting an Annual Progress Review (APR).

Second year

In your second year, you will be collecting data and working on your research project under the supervision of your supervisors through regular meetings. You may at this point have research papers ready to publish and you may wish to attend conferences to present your research to other experts in your field. You will be able to apply to our Research Student Support Scheme for some funding for this purpose. Students normally undergo Transfer from MPhil to PhD towards the end of their second year. This will be part of your Annual Progress Review for this year.

Third and fourth year

In your third and fourth year, you will be writing up your thesis and preparing for your viva voce examination. This is an oral exam with two examiners and a chair. You can also request that your supervisor be present at the exam. The exam will take place after you have submitted your final thesis. After the exam, it is not unusual for the examiners to ask that some amendments be made to your thesis before the final award is confirmed and you will have additional time to do this. It is possible to complete the course in three years, but we have found that the majority of students do take four years to complete the course. At the end of each year of your registration, you will go through an Annual Progress Review.

Part time students follow the same structure as full-time students but normally complete the PhD over a period of five to six years. Part-time students take two modules in each of their first two years, and will normally Transfer to PhD in their fourth year.

Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

Benefit from a professional and challenging relationship with your supervisory team, drawn from experienced academics working at the forefront of their disciplines.

Supervision areas

The School of Humanities has a strong mix of academics with a high degree of professional and personal experience, enabling you to get the most out of your programme. Our staff have expertise in a wide range of literary themes, including: early modern drama and poetry, including Shakespeare studies; Romantic and Victorian literature; modern and contemporary literature; American and Irish literature; literature and the environment; children’s literature; health and ability; textual scholarship; and creative writing projects with a critical component.

Recent successful projects have included: Australian eco-Gothic; nature and home in the poetry of Edward Thomas and Robert Frost, 1912-1917; commemoration, oblivion and cultural memories in print culture in Restoration England, 1658-1666; and the country house in English women’s poetry 1650-1750.

Some of our current research students are exploring: the representation of regicide in Shakespeare’s history plays; criticism and canon-formation among eighteenth-century Anglican clergy; survival and the formulation of child heroes in Terry Pratchett’s fiction; children’s Islamic literature in Britain, the USA, and Canada; vulnerability and resilience in Sonya Hartnett’s novels; the island imagination; the ‘abhuman’ in multi-volume vampire fiction; and the concept of ‘postqueer’ in relation to multi-platform online narratives.

 

Resources

With study space and IT provision in the Research Office, and access to the University of Worcester’s virtual resources and state-of-the-art library facilities, the English Literature and Language team at Worcester have an excellent range of resources to support your learning and research project. 

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document for the MPhil or PhD.

Supervisors

Dr Lucy Arnold
Expertise: modern and contemporary fiction; the novels of Hilary Mantel; ghosts and haunting; psychoanalysis and criticism

Prof. Michael Bradshaw
Expertise: Romantic literature, especially poetry and drama; fragments in theory and practice; Critical Disability Studies; the work and status of ‘minor’ authors

Prof. Nicoleta Cinpoes
Expertise: Shakespeare performed, edited, filmed, recycled, translated; European Shakespeare; Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama; adaptation theory and practice; Shakespeare and visual culture 

Dr Lefteris Kailoglou
Expertise: sociolinguistics; regional varieties of English; Worcester accent and dialect

Dr Jack McGowan
Expertise: Creative Writing, especially spoken word poetry; voice, affect, and textuality 

Prof. John Parham
Expertise: literature and the environment; Victorian literature

Prof. Jean Webb
Expertise: children’s literature; science fiction

Dr Sharon Young
Expertise: Renaissance, Restoration and eighteenth-century literature, especially women's poetry; topographical poetry; critical theory

Dr David Arnold, Senior Lecturer in English Literature

Dr David Arnold

David Arnold trained as a Classicist before moving on to doctoral work on twentieth-century American poetry. His research and teaching interests lie in poetry, American literature, ecocriticism and narrative criticism. He has published articles on the literary improvisations of William Carlos Williams and a book on American poetry: Poetry and Language Writing: Objective and Surreal (Liverpool University Press, 2007). His recent work focuses on ecophenomenological readings of modernist writing, and Buddhist American Poetry.

David teaches at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and has responsibility for modules in Literary Theory and American Writing. David is a member of both the British Association of American Studies and the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment. He is also a member of the Green Voices Research Group.

Professor Nicoleta Cinpoes, Head of English, Media & Culture

Professor Nicoleta Cinpoes

Nicoleta Cinpoes joined the University of Worcester in 2007. She teaches Renaissance Literature, is International Exchanges Liaison for the School of Humanities and co-director of Worcester's Early Modern Research Group.

She has edited Doing Kyd: A Collection of Critical Essays on the Spanish Tragedy for Manchester University Press (2016) and is currently collaborating on a new Romanian translation of Shakespeare's complete works, writing introductions to Hamlet (2010), Titus Andronicus, Measure for Measure, The Merchant of Venice and The Comedy of Errors.

dr-john-parham

Professor John Parham

John Parham's research lies in environmental humanities, notably Victorian literature and ecology and eco-media studies. He has written, edited and co-edited six books: Green Media and Popular Culture (Palgrave Macmillan: 2016); Literature and Sustainability: Exploratory Essays (co-edited with Adeline Johns-Putra and Louise Squire) (Manchester University Press, 2017); A Global History of Literature and the Environment (co-edited with Louise Westling) (Cambridge University Press, 2017); The Cambridge Companion to Literature and the Anthropocene (Cambridge University Press, 2021); a book on the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, Green Man Hopkins: Poetry and the Victorian Ecological Imagination (Rodopi: 2010), and a further edited collection, The Environmental Tradition in English Literature (Ashgate: 2002). John has published articles on several Victorian writers (including Charles Dickens, William Morris, and Emile Zola), contemporary literature, green popular culture (looking at British and Australian punk, film, computer games, and digital climate fiction), and on teaching cultural studies and environmental studies. For 20 years, John was co-editor of the journal Green Letters: Studies in Ecocriticism (published by Taylor & Francis).

At the University, John is Professor of Environmental Humanities and course leader for the Arts and Humanities MRes programme. He teaches modules in green media, the new humanities and research methods. John also leads the university’s Green Voices Research Group who have held events, in Worcester, with the nature writers Caspar Henderson and Richard Kerridge, and the photographer David Plummer, as well as a conference on ‘Enchanted Environments’ at the University of Worcester Art House in 2020.

Professor Jean Webb, Professor of International Children's Literature

Professor Jean Webb

Jean Webb is Director of the International Forum for Research in Childrens Literature which provides a focus for literary, cultural and socio-historical scholarly enquiry into writing for children, internationally. She teaches a broad range of undergraduate modules on nineteenth and twentieth century literature, and is responsible for specialist modules in children's literature. She is also an experienced PhD supervisor and examiner.

Dr Lucy Arnold

Dr Lucy Arnold is a specialist in Contemporary literature, with particular research interests in contemporary gothic, narratives of haunting, contemporary women’s writing and psychoanalytic criticism. Her teaching experience spans a wide range of periods and genres but focusses on twentieth and twenty-first century literature. Her published work to date has concerned the writing of Booker Prize winning novelist Hilary Mantel, with her monograph, Reading Hilary Mantel: Haunted Decades, published with Bloomsbury in 2019.

prof.-michael-bradshaw

Professor Michael Bradshaw

Michael is the Head of School of Humanities, having previously worked at Edge Hill University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Bristol University and the University of Tokyo.

Michael is a specialist in Romanticism, especially poetry and drama of later Romantics. His published critical work includes authors such as: Thomas Lovell Beddoes, John Clare, George Darley, Thomas Hood, John Keats, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Walter Savage Landor, Mary Shelley, and Percy Shelley. 

He has also published on Romantic drama, ‘Romantic generations’, Romantic fragment poems, and the periodical press in the 1820s, as well as the contemporary author Alan Moore.

Dr Sharon Young

Dr Sharon Young is a  Fellow of the HEA and her teaching interests include, Renaissance, Restoration and eighteenth-century literature, women's poetry, and literary theory.

Sharon's research focuses mainly on women's poetry of the early modern period, Renaissance revenge tragedy and women's manuscript culture. Sharon has published on female poets and the critical debates of the early eighteenth century and Mary Leapor. She is the course leader for English Literature.

kailoglou photo

Dr Lefteris Kailoglou

Dr Lefteris Kailoglou is the Course Leader for English Language. He has been working at the University of Worcester since 2011, and previously taught at the University of Essex and University of Sussex. Lefteris has also been supervising a number of dissertations on sociolinguistic variation in Worcester as well as topics on language and identity. He has also been involved in the establishment of the Worcester dialect archive which is located within the Institute.The initial findings of the description of the local dialect of Worcestershire (but also Herefordshire) have now started becoming publicly available in conference papers and publications.

dr-jack-mcgowan

Dr Jack McGowan

Jack’s research focuses on contemporary poetry and poetics, and he specializes in the development of performance poetry in the UK since the mid-20th century, and the oral roots of poetry.

Jack is a performance poet with 10 years of experience on the UK spoken word scene and he writes for both performance and page publication.

Careers

Where could it take you?

All students engage with our Researcher Development Programme (RDP). The RDP aims to develop and enhance the skills, both generic and specific, that you will need to complete your research degree but also to become an effective researcher. The RDP is organised around thematic clusters, consisting of modules, and workshops, delivered face-to-face by subject specialists from across the University and the dedicated Researcher Development Team, or online through our virtual learning environment.

As part of the RDP, you will complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods (PG Cert). All students must complete the PG Cert in order to progress on their MPhil/PhD Programme. The PG Cert is strongly focused on developing your programme of research, starting from establishing your development needs, and preparing you for the planning and subsequent delivery of your programme of research.

Full-time students will complete the PG Cert in 12 months and part-time students in 24 months.

Costs

How much will it cost?

Fees

The current fees can be found within the tuition fees document on our figure out finances page.

Accommodation

Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience. Our halls of residence are home to friendly student communities, making them great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our range of student halls. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Traditional Hall' at £122 per week to 'En-suite Premium' at £207 per week (2023/24 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

How to apply

How do you apply?

Additional information

As part of the application process, you will be asked to submit a research outline. We recommend preparing your research outline before beginning your online application. Some guidance on preparing your research outline is available here.

If your research involves working with vulnerable adults and/or children then you may be required to obtain an Enhanced DBS check. There will be a small charge for this. For more information please contact research@worc.ac.uk.

We are committed to making reasonable adjustment. If you require an alternative format for making your application due to a disability, please contact us to discuss your needs on 01905 542182 or research@worc.ac.uk.

How to apply

Please make your application via our online application form. If you have any questions, please contact the Research School on 01905 542182 or research@worc.ac.uk

Before you submit a full application, please contact the Research School on 01905 542182 or research@worc.ac.uk to discuss your research project and the availability of appropriate supervision.

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