Triangle

Research overview

Could your passion for German language, culture and history help us better understand the world in which we live in today? Follow your intercultural research interests to a deeper level in a department ranked 6th nationally in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021.

Having completed a masters degree and agreed your research topic with a supervisor, you will continue your research with a German PhD exploring themes from our wide field of specialisms:

  • Linguistics and medieval studies
  • History of language teaching
  • Constructions of national identity from the 18th century to the present day
  • Myth in German literature from the 18th century to the present day
  • Romanticism
  • 19th century narrative
  • Novels and novellas
  • Culture and politics in the Weimar Republic
  • Modernism and Postmodernism
  • Critical and cultural theory
  • Gender studies
  • Memory and exile studies
  • Postcolonialism and cross-cultural studies
  • German cinema
  • Media studies
  • Autobiography in East Germany
  • Intellectuals since the Wende
  • Culture of the New Right in contemporary Germany
  • Contemporary German historiography
  • Memory, time and temporality in German literature and culture

"We have a very active and dynamic research community where students and academics work on projects across many disciplines. This interdisciplinary environment offers students the opportunity to communicate and exchange ideas which can be very inspiring." Jean-Xavier Ridon, Director of Postgraduate Studies - read full conversation

Find out more about research in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures or contact us to discuss a possible match between your research ideas and our supervisory expertise.

Course content

Before you start your research degree you will have completed a research-preparation masters degree in a related discipline and have agreed your research topic with a main supervisor and co-supervisor. You will work with this team closely for the duration of your study and are welcome to consult any other member of the department whose research seems of relevance to your own work.

As part of the German PhD, you are required to attend all departmental research seminars and special lectures and deliver at least one paper of your own each year, usually at the annual Postgraduate Forum or at a work-in-progress seminar.

At the end of three years’ full-time registration, plus one year optional writing-up, you will have written a thesis of between 80,000-100,000 words on a topic which makes a significant contribution to research in German studies.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2023 entry.

QualificationPhD/MPhil
Degree

2:1 (or international equivalent) in an arts, humanities or social science subject – we would usually expect you to hold, or be working towards, a masters degree in a relevant subject.

QualificationPhD/MPhil
Degree

2:1 (or international equivalent) in an arts, humanities or social science subject – we would usually expect you to hold, or be working towards, 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 (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.

Visa restrictions

International students must have valid UK immigration permissions for any courses or study period where teaching takes place in the UK. Student route visas can be issued for eligible students studying full-time courses. The University of Nottingham does not sponsor a student visa for students studying part-time courses. The Standard Visitor visa route is not appropriate in all cases. Please contact the university’s Visa and Immigration team if you need advice about your visa options.

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

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

How to apply

Fees

QualificationPhD
Home / UKTo be confirmed
InternationalTo be confirmed

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA).

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

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

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.

Funding

Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Programme

The AHRC-funded Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership (M4C) brings together eight leading universities across the Midlands to support the professional and personal development of the next generation of arts and humanities doctoral researchers. As a Midlands4Cities PhD students you could benefit from:

  • funding
  • enhanced support and training
  • expert supervision from across the partnership
  • excellent networking opportunities

Read how Midlands4Cities funded and supported Matt with his PhD studies.

Please note: you must apply for a place at Nottingham before submitting your M4C application.

Apply to become an M4C student at the University of Nottingham

Other sources of postgraduate funding

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

We offer research students:

  • advanced research training
  • expert supervision (each student is allocated two supervisors)
  • frequent reviews and feedback on progress
  • departmental research seminars/work in progress sessions
  • well-equipped work bases, with excellent library and IT facilities
  • support for research trips and conference attendance, inter-library loan

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.

Where you will learn

Research in the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

Research students come to Nottingham from the UK and overseas bringing with them diversity of cultural and disciplinary backgrounds which offers a rich, rewarding and supportive postgraduate community to be part of. 

As a modern languages research student, you will be involved a programme of visiting speakers and regular symposia organised by staff and students. This will cover areas such as; seminar presentations, film cycles, discussion panels and much more.

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.

Many of our postgraduates have chosen academic careers and are currently in full-time posts in the UK. Others have moved into the civil service, the cultural industries, the media, publishing, teaching or translation.

The research training all our postgraduates follow equips them with a range of key transferable skills, such as analytical thinking, time management, and presentation and research skills.

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.

Heike-Bartel
I am a specialist in German and Comparative Literary Studies currently undertaking research in the field of contemporary literature and culture, gender, narratives of illness, mental health and trauma and related narratological theories of autobiographical and life writing. I have published on 18th century literature, poetry, women’s writing and the reception of classical mythology in literature and culture. I am currently leading the interdisciplinary project ‘Hungry for Words’, funded by AHRC and Wellcome in the field of Health and Medical Humanities.
Dr Heike Bartel, Associate Professor in German Studies

Related courses

Research Excellence Framework

We are ranked 7th in the UK for research power (2021), according to analysis by Times Higher Education. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a national assessment of the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

  • The Department of Modern Languages and Cultures was placed 6th nationally
  • 88% of research in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures was graded as world-leading or internationally excellent
  • 88% of the Faculty of Arts’ research was graded as world-leading or internationally excellent
  • 90%* of our research is classed as 'world-leading' (4*) or 'internationally excellent' (3*)
  • 100%* of our research is recognised internationally
  • 51% of our research is assessed as 'world-leading' (4*) for its impact**

*According to analysis by Times Higher Education ** According to our own analysis.

This content was last updated on 04 August 2022. 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.