Triangle Triangle

Research overview

Your opportunity to create original research in the fields of Critical Theory and Cultural Studies.

Much of our work is guided by a transnational and transcultural agenda.

With expert supervision from our interdisciplinary staff you'll be researching in an environment with a strong international perspective. This provides a stimulating and vibrant community with debate encouraged between staff and students.

Staff expertise

We have particular strengths in:

  • modern theory
  • political philosophy and politics
  • aesthetics
  • feminist, queer and gender studies
  • cultural, literary, media and visual studies
  • psychoanalysis
  • art history
  • postcolonial, sensory, science and technology studies

Research centres

The Department of Cultural, Media and Visual Studies is home to two research centres where much of the Critical Theory and Cultural Studies research activity takes place. You will be encouraged to get involved and contribute.

Recent PhD subjects

  • Network Experiments and Control: From the Cold War to the War on Terror
  • The Challenge of Aesthetic Modernity in India: a Postcolonial Reading
  • Digital Technology and Documentary Photography in Britain and France
  • Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival and the Global Queer Film Festival Circuit
  • Political Corporeality in Walter Benjamin and Wilhelm Reich
  • The Media and Social Protests Against Austerity
  • Radical Art Practice: Copyright and the Future of Public Collections

Your department

Course content

Throughout your research there will be research training sessions and work-in-progress seminars. The seminars provide an opportunity for you to present your ongoing research to peers, supervisors and other invited staff and research students. You'll get feedback in a supportive and constructive environment.

You will complete a written thesis of up to 100,000 words, with expert support and advice from your academic supervisors (usually two co-supervisors).

You will also take a verbal examination called a viva voce where you explain your project in depth to an examination panel.

The PhD is taken over three years full-time or up to six years part-time.

The MPhil is an internationally recognised research degree.

You'll complete a written theses of 60,000 words maximum.

One year of full-time study (minimum of two years part-time).

You’ll get expert supervision from our research-active and creative staff.

Students often start the MPhil and then, as the scope of their research becomes clearer, transfer to the PhD (subject to Department approval).

It is also ideal for people:

  • who do not have the time to commit to PhD research 
  • where scope of your research does not require PhD length

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.

Qualification
Degree

2:1 (or international equivalent) in an arts, humanities or social science subject; and a masters degree in a relevant subject

Qualification
Degree

2:1 (or international equivalent) in an arts, humanities or social science subject; and a masters degree in a relevant subject

International and EU equivalents

We accept a wide range of qualifications from all over the world.

For information on entry requirements from your country, see our country pages.

IELTS7.0 (no less than 6.5 in each element)
English language requirements

As well as IELTS (listed above), we also accept other English language qualifications.

This includes TOEFL iBT, Pearson PTE, GCSE, IB and O level English.

Meeting our English language requirements

If you need support to meet the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional English course. Presessional courses teach you academic skills in addition to English language. Our Centre for English Language Education is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

If you successfully complete your presessional course to the required level, you can then progress to your degree course. This means that you won't need to retake IELTS or equivalent.

For on-campus presessional English courses, you must take IELTS for UKVI to meet visa regulations. For online presessional courses, see our CELE webpages for guidance.

We recognise that applicants have a variety of experiences and follow different pathways to postgraduate study.

We treat all applicants with alternative qualifications on an individual basis. We may also consider relevant work experience.

If you are unsure whether your qualifications or work experience are relevant, contact us.

Applying

You are encouraged to contact the Departmental Director of Postgraduate Research, Dr Franziska Meyer, to discuss your research proposal before submitting an application.

They may be able to advise on potential supervisors and funding opportunities.

Joint supervision and collaboration may also be available from other University of Nottingham departments or Midlands4Cities partner universities.

Our research staff and specialisms

Most students apply to start the course in September but December and February starts are also possible.

Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about applying for postgraduate research.

How to apply

Fees

UK fees are set in line with the national UKRI maximum fee limit. We expect fees for 2022 entry to be confirmed in February 2022.

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you will pay international tuition fees in most cases. If you are resident in the UK and have 'settled' or 'pre-settled' status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you will be entitled to 'home' fee status.

Irish students will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for 'home' fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our information for applicants from the EU.

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

There are no extra compulsory fees to be paid beyond your standard tuition fees. You'll be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to buy your own copies of core texts. The Blackwell's bookshop on campus offers a year-round price match against any of the main retailers (i.e. Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith). They also offer second-hand books, as students from previous years sell their copies back to the bookshop.

Funding

Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Programme

The Midlands4Cities programme provides funding, enhanced support, expert supervision and excellent networking opportunities for PhD candidates.

If you are applying for Midlands4Cities funding you must apply for a place at Nottingham before submitting your M4C application.

M4C logo

Apply to become an M4C student at the University of Notitngham

There are many ways to fund your research degree, from scholarships to government loans.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding

Support

Postgraduate Professional Development Programme

We provide opportunities for you to develop knowledge, experience and skills beyond your immediate research topic.

Work-in-progress seminars

Time and space for staff and students to present their own research for critique in a supportive and constructive atmosphere. As well as presenting your own work you'll also learn more about the ongoing process of academic research.

Visiting speakers and symposia

There's an extensive programme organised by both staff and students that give opportunities to hear from, and debate with, academics outside the department.

A recent example is the Toxic Positivity series of events, organised by postgraduate students.

Expert supervision

Your supervisors will regularly read and advise on your work and attend your works-in-progress sessions.

Researcher training and development

The Researcher Academy is the network for researchers, and staff who support them. We work together to promote a healthy research culture, to cultivate researcher excellence, and develop creative partnerships that enable researchers to flourish.

Postgraduate researchers at Nottingham have access to our online Members’ area, which includes a wealth of resources, access to training courses and award-winning postgraduate placements.

Graduate centres

Our graduate centres are dedicated community spaces on campus for postgraduates.

Each space has areas for:

  • studying
  • socialising
  • computer work
  • seminars
  • kitchen facilities

Student support

You will have access to a range of support services, including:

  • academic and disability support
  • childcare services
  • counselling service
  • faith support
  • financial support
  • mental health and wellbeing support
  • visa and immigration advice
  • welfare support

Students' Union

Our Students' Union represents all students. You can join the Postgraduate Students’ Network or contact the dedicated Postgraduate Officer.

There are also a range of support networks, including groups for:

  • international students
  • black and minority ethnic students
  • students who identify as women
  • students with disabilities
  • LGBT+ students

SU Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice on issues such as accommodation, financial and academic difficulties.

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Where you will learn

University Park Campus

University Park Campus covers 300 acres, with green spaces, wildlife, period buildings and modern facilities. It is one of the UK's most beautiful and sustainable campuses, winning a national Green Flag award every year since 2003.

Most schools and departments are based here. You will have access to libraries, shops, cafes, the Students’ Union, sports village and a health centre.

You can walk or cycle around campus. Free hopper buses connect you to our other campuses. Nottingham city centre is 15 minutes away by public bus or tram.

Careers

Whether you are considering a career in academia, industry or haven't yet decided, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Expert staff will work with you to explore PhD career options and apply for vacancies, develop your interview skills and meet employers. You can book a one-to-one appointment, take an online course or attend a workshop.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Our postgraduates go on to work in a wide range of fields, from university lectureships and post-doctoral fellowships to roles in the media, art councils and the creative industries, or in University administration. Many of our research students publish high-quality books and articles and have secured teaching positions in universities both in the UK and abroad.

The average annual salary for postgraduates from the School of Cultures, Languages and Areas Studies was £21,855*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

Related courses

Research Excellence Framework

We are ranked 8th in the UK for research power (2014). The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system used by UK higher education funding bodies to assess research quality in universities.

  • More than 97% of research at Nottingham is recognised internationally
  • More than 80% of our research is ranked in the highest categories as world-leading or internationally excellent
  • 16 of our 29 subject areas feature in the UK top 10 by research power

This content was last updated on 01 July 2021. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.