MPhil and PhD Opportunities

English Literature

Postgraduate Research in English Literature.

Star Overview

Research overview

The home of research in English Literature at Portsmouth is the Centre for Studies in Literature, founded in 2009. Our academic staff have expertise in early modern writing, and particular strengths in nineteenth-century literature and culture, and twentieth and twenty-first century British and American literature.

As a doctoral student, you can undertake your studies on a full or part time basis under the supervision of internationally recognised researchers who will welcome you to a vibrant research environment. Our doctoral students are fully supported throughout their period of study. We enable them to present their work at international conferences, to publish their findings in scholarly journals, and help them to build important connections with UK and international academic networks.

Research centre

Centre for Studies in Literature

The Centre for Studies in Literature brings together scholars from different fields within literary studies to promote academic research and innovation in literary studies, and wider engagement with research through collaboration and dissemination. Research is organised under the following three clusters: Body Politics; Time, Space and Environment; Culture, Community and Heritage. Current research projects and groups include: 'Celebrity, Citizenship & Status' and 'Britain in Europe/Euorpoe in Britain'

Our researchers also have interests in related fields within film studies, cultural studies and American studies, and have a record of publishing and editing that features journals such as The Yearbook of English Studies, Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Victorian Poetry,The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Early Modern Literary Studies, Victorian Literature and Culture, Emily Dickinson Journal, Neo-Victorian Studies, Literature & History, Modern Intellectual History, Blake: An Illustrated Quarterly, Women: A Cultural Review, and Victoriographies, and their outputs have been published by Edinburgh University Press, Palgrave, Ashgate, Manchester University Press, Pickering and Chatto, and Continuum.


How to apply 

To apply for a postgraduate research degree with us, you'll need a good first degree from an internationally-recognised university or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. We'll also consider outstanding applicants with exceptional equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications.

We're currently rebuilding our website, so to explore the 3 different routes you can take into a postgrad research degree at Portsmouth, visit our new 'How to Apply' pages.

Key Facts


MPhil: 2 years full-time, 4 years part-time
PhD: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time
By Publication: 1 year part-time
Start date: October/February


A good honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject or a master’s degree in an appropriate subject. Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. All applicants are subject to face-to-face or telephone interview.

English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 7 with no component score below 6.5

MPhil/PhD Fees*

MPhil full-time and part-time course is eligible for the Government Postgraduate Loan

PhD full-time and part-time course is eligible for the Government Doctoral Loan


Home/EU/CI full-time students: £4,260 p/a*
Home/EU/CI part-time students: £2,130 p/a*
International full-time students: £13,200 p/a*
International part-time students: £6,600 p/a*


*All fees are subject to annual increase.

By Publication Fees*


Members of staff: £1,550 p/a*
External candidates: £4,260 p/a*

*All fees are subject to annual increase.

View tuition fee terms and conditions


School of Area Studies, History, Politics and Literature

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Light bulb Research Areas

Body Politics

This cluster researches a wide range of approaches towards and understandings of literal and metaphorical bodies from the sixteenth century to the present day.

Research areas include:

  • Constructions of the body in relation to identity, gender, sexuality, race, law, and nationhood;
  • Criminal bodies;
  • Bodies in relation to food / consumption; 
  • Celebrity bodies;
  • Body and mind / soul / spirit;
  • Time and the body

Time, Space and Environment

This cluster researches a wide range of spatiotemporal areas across literature and culture from the eighteenth century to the present day.

Research areas include:

  • Ideas of history in the eighteenth century; 
  • Changing attitudes toward empire, commerce and art; 
  • The environment, science, and the pastoral;
  • Transatlantic literary relations;
  • Time and temporality in neo-Victorian fiction; 
  • Spatial theory in modernist literature; 
  • Affective landscapes in the construction of English national identities;
  • Philosophical and narratological investigations of time/temporality

Culture, Community and Heritage

The Class, Culture and Community research cluster brings together research from the early modern period to the contemporary, focusing upon discourses of community formation and deformation.

Cluster members explore:

  • The representation of community formation in literary texts;
  • The role of law, governance and empire and their creation of, and influence upon, communities; 
  • Political allegiance in relation to personal identity; 
  • Friendship and communal behaviours such as eating, storytelling, and watching and participating in artistic performances;
  • Constructions of specifically English national identities;
  • Community deformation in relation to political, class and ethnic division.

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Monitor Facilities & Features

Flexible Learning

You will benefit from web, email or phone access to many of our facilities and services. Our student website will be your one-stop shop for all news, information and links to other services, and 24/7 online access to the University Library’s vast electronic book, journal and database collections will help you find the right resources for your research.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Graduate School

From the moment you join us, you will be supported by the University's Graduate School, alongside your assigned supervisory team. You will be invited to a two-day induction, helping you to get the most from our facilities and be part of our thriving research community. You can also extend your skills as a researcher through the Graduate School Development Programme, which offers training, workshops and events.

Mortarboard Careers & Opportunities

Career Planning

One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the comprehensive support we provide in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service - Purple Door - can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. 

The Graduate School Development Programme offers a series of dedicated workshops on career planning, specifically for research degree students. You will also have access to consultations with careers advisers or online support. This service is available for five years after graduation.


Doctoral graduates are highly-skilled researchers that make an impact in a range of sectors. They benefit from high employment rates and, on average, earn more than holders of undergraduate and Masters degrees. A doctorate demonstrates to employers that you are intelligent, capable and motivated, and that you have advanced technical and research skills.

In addition to supervision from experts in the field, you will be supported to become an internationally employable doctoral graduate. You will also develop skills that are desirable to employers including critical thinking, problem-solving, project management, communication, leadership and creativity.

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