EnglishSchool of Arts, English and Languages | PhD
English offers pathways in Literary Studies, Creative Writing or Language and Linguistics.
Proposals are welcomed in all areas from Medieval to Modern. Areas of expertise in a School that brings together award-winning writers and critics working across British, Irish and American Literature include Poetry; Irish Literature; American Literature; Shakespeare and Renaissance Studies; Literature and Place; Culture, Geography and Identity, from the local to the global, from earliest writing to the contemporary; Literature, Crime and Conflict; and, Science, Medicine and Culture. The School’s Centre for the Americas, its involvement in the Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies and the Institute of Irish Studies, and the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry - an internationally-recognised centre of excellence for the study and production of literature – mean that your project in literary studies, creative writing or linguistics will be supported by dynamic research groups and experts in the field.
Details of current staff expertise can be found on the School of Arts, English and Languages website.
Mode of study/duration
Registration is on a full-time or part-time basis, under the direction of a supervisory team appointed by the University. You will be expected to submit your thesis at the end of three years of full-time registration for PhD (or part-time equivalent).
English at Queen’s incorporates a diverse range of dynamic projects across literary studies, creative writing and linguistics but also forms a close-knit community of fellow scholars, writers and critics. You’ll be taught by international experts in your field and have access to outstanding resources such as The Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, the Institute of Irish Studies and the manuscript and print collections held by the McClay Library.
Internationally Renowned Experts
- Supervision by internationally renowned experts.
Become part of the lively research culture of the School, including the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, an internationally recognised centre of excellence for the study and production of literature.
A thriving postgraduate culture which includes an annual postgraduate conference and a peer mentoring scheme.
English Language and Literature is one of the Queen’s subjects in the top 101-150 in the world according to QS World Rankings by subject 2023. Creative Writing ranked 2nd in the UK in the Times Good University Guide 2022.
Research students are encouraged to play a full and active role in the professional and research activities of the School. These include:
- Regular research seminars and conferences within the School of Arts, English & Languages.
- Access to the School’s Professionalising the PhD Progamme and Peer Mentoring Scheme.
- Access to Queen’s University Postgraduate Researcher Development Programme.
I was given all the resources, encouragement and guidance I needed to complete an ambitious project. My supervisors were dedicated, helping me write the best possible thesis, and I was lucky to be part of a lively and supportive community with my fellow Postgraduate Students.
Dr Christopher Kitson
Former PhD student in English
A number of major research projects (including Doctoral and Postdoctoral posts in Language and Linguistics, Medieval Studies, Modern Literary Studies and Renaissance Literature) have been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Poetry and Irish writing remain at the core of the School's research expertise. The School is home to the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry and the Centre for the Americas. A number of staff participate in the Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies and the Institute of Irish Studies, and are fellows of the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute For Global Peace, Security And Justice.
For further information on career opportunities at PhD level please contact the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Career Development Team on email@example.com / +44 28 9097 5175 Development Officers Cathy Wilson and Aileen Carson will be happy to provide further information on your research area career prospects. URL
People teaching you
Dr Jane Lugea
Senior Lecturer in English Language and Stylistics
A research degree in English offers students an opportunity to foster their capacity for independent research, creative writing and critical thought. It allows students to explore an area of interest and to make an original contribution to the field. Undertaking a research degree can enhance a student’s written and oral communication skills and a PhD is almost always a formal requirement for an academic post.
There is no specific course content as such. You will be able to take training courses in research skills and professional development organized by the School and the Graduate School. You will also have the opportunity to hear global subject experts at the English research seminar and to present your own work at this seminar series.
You will normally register, in the first instance, as an ‘undifferentiated PhD student’ which means that you have satisfied staff that you are capable of undertaking a research degree.
Differentiation takes place about 9-12 months after registration for full time students and about 18-30 months for part time students: You are normally asked to submit work to a panel of up two academics and this is followed up with a formal meeting with the ‘Differentiation Panel’. The Panel then make a judgement about your capacity to continue with your study.
To complete with a doctoral qualification you will be required to submit a thesis of approx 80,000 words and you will be required to attend a viva voce [oral examination] with an external and internal examiner to defend your thesis.
A PhD programme runs for 3-years full-time or 6 years part-time. Students can apply for a writing up year should it be required.
Please review the eligibility criteria on the webpages. If you believe that you meet these criteria then follow the steps below:
Select one potential supervisor from our list of Academic Staff (https://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/ael/Connect/Staff/#as-english) and send an email containing
A brief CV (1-2 pages maximum)
A concise statement that you are interested in studying for a PhD, stating when you would start, and how you would plan to fund the research
A brief statement of the research question or interest, and how you think the question could be investigated
Our academic staff welcome approaches from prospective students; staff can liaise with applicants to develop a research proposal of mutual interest. The potential supervisor should get back to you within a couple of weeks. They may invite you to meet with them or they may invite you to apply formally.
The closing date for applications is 31st August each year, for part-time and self-funded full-time study. For full-time candidates who wish to compete for a studentship, the deadlines are much earlier in the year. Available scholarships and closing dates are detailed at http://www.qub.ac.uk/Study/PostgraduateStudy/FundingandScholarships/PHDStudentshipAwards/
Assessment processes for the Research Degree differ from taught degrees. Students will be expected to present drafts of their work at regular intervals to their supervisor who will provide written and oral feedback.
A formal assessment process takes place annually. This Annual Progress Review requires students to present their work in writing and orally to a panel of academics from within the School. Successful completion of this process will allow students to register for the next academic year.
The final assessment of the doctoral degree is both oral and written. Students will submit their thesis of approx. 80,000 words to an internal and external examining team who will review the written thesis before inviting the student to orally defend their work at a Viva Voce.
Supervisors will offer feedback on draft work at regular intervals throughout the period of registration on the degree.
Learning and Teaching
This is a research degree
A 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. While a Master’s degree (or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University) is not essential, it is desirable and applicants without this qualification will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.
English Language Requirements
Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University, is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.
International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.
For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
|Northern Ireland (NI) 1||£4,712|
|Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2||£4,712|
|England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1||£4,712|
|EU Other 3||£18,900|
1 EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled or pre-settled status, are expected to be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident, however this is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly Student Fees Regulations. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB are expected to be charged the GB fee, however this is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly student fees Regulations.
2 It is expected that EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI will be eligible for NI tuition fees. The tuition fee set out above is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly student fees Regulations.
3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.
All tuition fees quoted relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. All fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.
Additional course costs
Depending on the programme of study, there may also be other extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies . Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £100 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges. Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen. There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, and library fines. In undertaking a research project students may incur costs associated with transport and/or materials, and there will also be additional costs for printing and binding the thesis. There may also be individually tailored research project expenses and students should consult directly with the School for further information.
Some research programmes incur an additional annual charge on top of the tuition fees, often referred to as a bench fee. Bench fees are charged when a programme (or a specific project) incurs extra costs such as those involved with specialist laboratory or field work. If you are required to pay bench fees they will be detailed on your offer letter. If you have any questions about Bench Fees these should be raised with your School at the application stage. Please note that, if you are being funded you will need to ensure your sponsor is aware of and has agreed to fund these additional costs before accepting your place.
How do I fund my study?1.PhD Opportunities
Find PhD opportunities and funded studentships by subject area.2.Funded Doctoral Training Programmes
We offer numerous opportunities for funded doctoral study in a world-class research environment. Our centres and partnerships, aim to seek out and nurture outstanding postgraduate research students, and provide targeted training and skills development.3.PhD loans
The Government offers doctoral loans of up to £26,445 for PhDs and equivalent postgraduate research programmes for English- or Welsh-resident UK and EU students.4.International Scholarships
Information on Postgraduate Research scholarships for international students.
Funding and Scholarships
The Funding & Scholarship Finder helps prospective and current students find funding to help cover costs towards a whole range of study related expenses.
How to Apply
Find a supervisor
If you're interested in a particular project, we suggest you contact the relevant academic before you apply, to introduce yourself and ask questions.
To find a potential supervisor aligned with your area of interest, or if you are unsure of who to contact, look through the staff profiles linked here.
You might be asked to provide a short outline of your proposal to help us identify potential supervisors.