The School of English at Nottingham is renowned internationally for its research expertise across the subject, and hosts a number of thriving Research Centres.
A PhD in the School of English will comprise mainly independent study, with supervision meetings spread throughout the year. There are no taught credits attached to a PhD, although it is compulsory for full-time students to attend the Arts Faculty Researcher Skills training programme. Some PhD students also choose to audit masters modules taught by their supervisors where appropriate, however this is not compulsory, and would not involve any formal assessment.
All PhD students take part in annual review assessments to ensure they are progressing satisfactorily. This usually consists of the submission of a written report. For full-time students, the first year is probationary (first two years for part-time students), and the first year annual review involves a viva with an independent internal assessor.
The School of English does not have a formal distance learning provision for PhD study. If you are applying to undertake doctoral research in the school without being based on campus, we would ask that you let us know at the earliest opportunity, so that we can discuss whether you will be able to meet the school and University's requirements for research students.
We offer research supervision in the following areas:
Literature, 1500 to the present
Individual authors may include: Richard Brome, Jonathan Swift, Robert Southey, Charles Dickens, Henry James, Rudyard Kipling, Oscar Wilde, DH Lawrence, Seán O’Casey, Virginia Woolf, J. M. Coetzee, Ian McEwan, James Joyce, David Dabydeen, and Caryl Phillips.
Modern Literary Studies
- the Renaissance
- the Long Eighteenth Century
- the Nineteenth Century
- the Contemporary
Postcolonial literatures including the literature of British India.
Regional literature and culture
- Irish Writing
- Scottish Writing
- Literary Geographies
Medieval Language and Literature
- Old English language and literature
- Middle English and Older Scots language and literature
- Old Norse and Viking Studies
- Historical language study including place-names
Drama and Performance
- Shakespeare and early modern drama with a focus on historical and contemporary performance histories
- 19th, 20th and 21st century theatre, including modernism and the avant-garde
- Audience and reception studies
- Theatrical place and space
- Theatre history and historiography
- Playwriting and digital performance
- Collaborative research with creative economy partners
Applications for Drama and Performance PhDs involving an element of practice as research assessment are welcomed: in this case the thesis submission may include a performance work or works and a critical evaluation in which this performance practice is discussed and analysed.
Staff in the School of English also have significant expertise in text-editing (all periods from the Anglo-Saxons to the present day).
See the full list of supervision areas in the school of English.