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We welcome applications to undertake research towards MPhil and PhD degrees in English Literature and Language.

Research at Worcester has grown significantly in recent years. We aim to produce research that is distinctive, socially and culturally relevant, and that influences national agendas. We continually strive to develop new areas of research excellence while, in certain areas, our work has already been acknowledged as world-leading.

Overview

Overview

School of Humanities

The School of Humanities has a strong mix of academics with a high degree of professional and personal experience, enabling you to get the most out of your programme. Our staff have expertise in a wide range of literary themes, including: early modern drama and poetry, including Shakespeare studies; Romantic and Victorian literature; modern and contemporary literature; American and Irish literature; literature and the environment; children’s literature; health and ability; textual scholarship; and creative writing projects with a critical component.

Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

Entry qualifications

For MPhil

  • First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree or an approved equivalent award

or

  • Research or professional experience which has resulted in appropriate evidence of achievement

For PhD

  • Postgraduate Masters Degree in a discipline which is appropriate to the proposed programme of study

or

  • First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree or equivalent award in an appropriate discipline

or

  • Research or professional experience at postgraduate level which has resulted in published work, written reports or other appropriate evidence of achievement

International applicants

International applicants will be required to demonstrate that they have the appropriate level of written and spoken English.

For MPhil/PhD this is an IELTS score of 7.0 with a minimum score of 7.0 in Written English.

Course content

What will you study?

PhD year by year

After receiving your application, we try to establish if we have the necessary expertise to supervise your project and we begin to form a supervisory team for you. This will normally consist of a Director of Studies (DoS), who will be your lead supervisor, and at least one other second supervisor, who will offer you additional support and guidance throughout your studies. If, following a successful interview, you are offered a place as a full-time student, your programme of study will look something like this:

First year

You will have submitted a draft research outline with your application. In your first six months, you will be working towards submitting a more complete research proposal, we call this an RDB1 Proposal. You will be aided in preparing for this by engaging with a 20-credit masters level module RTP401: Developing and Managing Your Research, and by meeting with your supervisory team to discuss your progress. You will meet with your supervisory team for 30 hours a year and this can be face-to-face or via Skype. Students who have not taken a recent research methods module in a relevant area will normally undertake a second module in their first year, in research methods. At the end of each year, beginning with your first year, you will work with your supervisors on completing a progress report, which we call an RDB7.

Second year

In your second year, you will be collecting data and working on your research project, under the supervision of your supervisors through regular meetings. In your second semester you will take a module titled RTP402: Dissemination, Impact and Engagement, which will help you begin to think about these three core themes. You may at this point have research papers ready to publish and you may wish to attend conferences to present your research to other experts in your field. You will be able to apply to our Research Student Support Scheme for some funding for this purpose (LINK). Students normally undergo Transfer from MPhil to PhD towards the end of their second year. At Transfer (RDB2), you will submit one to two chapters of your thesis and deliver a presentation to a question panel of experienced researchers.

Third and fourth year

In your third and fourth year, you will be writing up your thesis and preparing for your viva voce examination. This is an oral exam with two external examiners and a chair. You can also request that your supervisor be present at the exam. The exam will take place after you have submitted your final thesis. After the exam, it is not unusual for the examiners to ask that some minor amendments be made to your thesis before the final award is confirmed and you will have additional time to do this. It is possible to complete the course in three years, but we have found that the majority of students do take four years to complete the course.

Part time students follow the same structure as full time students but complete the PhD over a maximum period of six years.

Pathways

Students are allocated a pathway appropriate to their research experience and background.

Students without a previous research degree will normally be allocated Pathway 1. This means you will need to engage with all of the modules outlined above and undertake associated assignments. These modules will lead to the additional award of PG Cert in Research Methods at no additional cost.

Students with a previous research degree will normally be allocated Pathway 2 and this will mean they will not be required to engage with the taught elements of the course to the same extent as students on Pathway 1. We do still recommend that they attend all of the workshops, for example, but they would not need to submit the associated assignments. Students on Pathway 2 may request to switch to Pathway 1 at the start of their course, with approval of their supervisory team.

Regardless of Pathway, the Researcher Development team organize a range of workshops that all students will be invited to attend.

Supervision areas

How will you be supervised?

Benefit from a professional and challenging relationship with your supervisory team, drawn from experienced academics working at the forefront of their disciplines.

Supervision areas

The School of Humanities has a strong mix of academics with a high degree of professional and personal experience, enabling you to get the most out of your programme. Our staff have expertise in a wide range of literary themes, including: early modern drama and poetry, including Shakespeare studies; Romantic and Victorian literature; modern and contemporary literature; American and Irish literature; literature and the environment; children’s literature; health and ability; textual scholarship; and creative writing projects with a critical component.

Recent successful projects have included: Australian eco-Gothic; nature and home in the poetry of Edward Thomas and Robert Frost, 1912-1917; commemoration, oblivion and cultural memories in print culture in Restoration England, 1658-1666; and the country house in English women’s poetry 1650-1750.

Some of our current research students are exploring: the representation of regicide in Shakespeare’s history plays; criticism and canon-formation among eighteenth-century Anglican clergy; survival and the formulation of child heroes in Terry Pratchett’s fiction; children’s Islamic literature in Britain, the USA, and Canada; vulnerability and resilience in Sonya Hartnett’s novels; the island imagination; the ‘abhuman’ in multi-volume vampire fiction; and the concept of ‘postqueer’ in relation to multi-platform online narratives.

 

Resources

With study space and IT provision in the Research Office, and access to the University of Worcester’s virtual resources and state of the art library facilities, the English Literature and Language team at Worcester have an excellent range of resources to support your learning and research project.

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document for the MPhil or PhD.

Supervisors

Dr David Arnold
Expertise: twentieth-century American poetry; Buddhist American poetry; literature and the environment

Dr Lucy Arnold
Expertise: modern and contemporary fiction; the novels of Hilary Mantel; ghosts and haunting; psychoanalysis and criticism

Prof. Michael Bradshaw
Expertise: Romantic literature, especially poetry and drama; fragments in theory and practice; Critical Disability Studies; the work and status of ‘minor’ authors

Dr Nicoleta Cinpoes
Expertise: Shakespeare performed, edited, filmed, recycled, translated; European Shakespeare; Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama; adaptation theory and practice; Shakespeare and visual culture 

Dr Tricia Connell
Expertise: twentieth- and twenty-first century literature; contemporary women’s poetry; the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy; trauma and memory in postcolonial women’s writing

Dr Lefteris Kailoglou
Expertise: sociolinguistics; regional varieties of English; Worcester accent and dialect

Dr Jack McGowan
Expertise: Creative Writing, especially spoken word poetry; voice, affect, and textuality 

Prof. John Parham
Expertise: literature and the environment; Victorian literature

Prof. Jean Webb
Expertise: children’s literature; science fiction

Dr Sharon Young
Expertise: Renaissance, Restoration and eighteenth-century literature, especially women's poetry; topographical poetry; critical theory

Dr David Arnold, Senior Lecturer in English Literature

Dr David Arnold

David Arnold trained as a Classicist before moving on to doctoral work on twentieth-century American poetry. His research and teaching interests lie in poetry, American literature, ecocriticism and narrative criticism. He has published articles on the literary improvisations of William Carlos Williams and a book on American poetry: Poetry and Language Writing: Objective and Surreal (Liverpool University Press, 2007). His recent work focuses on ecophenomenological readings of modernist writing, and Buddhist American Poetry.

David teaches at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and has responsibility for modules in Literary Theory and American Writing. He also supervises doctoral research and is currently Director of Studies for a PhD on the poetry of Edward Thomas and Robert Frost. David is a member of both the British Association of American Studies and the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment. He is also a member of the Green Voices Research Group.

Professor Nicoleta Cinpoes, Head of English, Media & Culture

Dr Nicoleta Cinpoes

Nicoleta Cinpoes joined the University of Worcester in 2007. She teaches Renaissance Literature, is Course Leader for English Literary Studies and co-director of Worcester's Early Modern Research Group.

Nicoleta is the author of Shakespeares Hamlet in Romania 1778-2008: A Study in Translation, Performance and Cultural Appropriation (Mellen, 2010) and of the open-access website: The Jacobethans. Her work has appeared in Theatrical Blends, Shakespeare Bulletin, Studia Dramatica and Shakespeare in Europe: History and Memory. In the theatre, she has worked in several capacities from that of dramaturge to assistant director and translator. Currently, she is editing Doing Kyd: A Collection of Critical Essays on The Spanish Tragedy (forthcoming, MUP) and collaborating on a new Romanian translation of Shakespeare's Complete Works, writing introductions to: Hamlet (2010), Titus Andronicus, Measure for Measure, The Merchant of Venice, and The Comedy of Errors.

Dr Tricia Connell, Senior Lecturer, English Literature and English Language

Dr Tricia Connell

Tricia Connell's academic background is in English literature and language, and education. Her doctoral research was on the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy. Her current research interests are in twentieth-century and contemporary poetry, gender and feminism and in intersections between critical and creative writing.

Tricia teaches a variety of modules that address: creativity in women's writing, poetry in and as performance, women poets uses of the lyric and dramatic monologue, postcolonial literature and identity and narrative geographies and historical fictions in the contemporary novel.

dr-john-parham

Prof John Parham

John Parham's research lies in environmental humanities, notably Victorian literature and ecology and eco-media studies. He has written, edited and co-edited five books: Green Media and Popular Culture (Palgrave Macmillan: 2016); Literature and Sustainability: Exploratory Essays (co-edited with Adeline Johns-Putra and Louise Squire) (Manchester University Press, 2017); A Global History of Literature and the Environment (co-edited with Louise Westling) (Cambridge University Press, 2017); a book on the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins,Green Man Hopkins: Poetry and the Victorian Ecological Imagination(Rodopi: 2010), and a further edited collection,The Environmental Tradition in English Literature (Ashgate: 2002). John has published articles on several Victorian writers (including Charles Dickens, William Morris, Emile Zola and John Stuart Mill), contemporary literature, green popular culture (looking at British and Australian punk, film, and computer games), and on teaching cultural studies and environmental studies. John is co-editor of the journal Green Letters: Studies in Ecocriticism published by Taylor & Francis.

At the University, John is Associate Head for Research in the Institutes of the Arts and Humanities and course leader for the Arts and Humanities MRes programme. In addition he teaches modules in green media, research methods, and radio studies.

Professor Jean Webb, Professor of International Children's Literature

Prof Jean Webb

Jean Webb is Director of the International Forum for Research in Childrens Literature which provides a focus for literary, cultural and socio-historical scholarly enquiry into writing for children, internationally. She teaches a broad range of undergraduate modules on nineteenth and twentieth century literature, and is responsible for specialist modules in children's literature. She is also co-ordinator for postgraduate research students within the Institute of Humanities & Creative Arts and is an experienced PhD supervisor and examiner.

Dr Lucy Arnold

Dr Lucy Arnold is a specialist in Contemporary literature, with particular research interests in contemporary gothic, narratives of haunting, contemporary women’s writing and psychoanalytic criticism. Her teaching experience spans a wide range of periods and genres but focusses on twentieth and twenty-first century literature. Her published work to date has concerned the writing of Booker Prize winning novelist Hilary Mantel, with her monograph, Hilary Mantel: Haunted Decades forthcoming with Bloomsbury in 2019.

prof.-michael-bradshaw

Professor Michael Bradshaw

Michael is the Head of School of Humanities, having previously worked at Edge Hill University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Bristol University and the University of Tokyo.

Michael is a specialist in Romanticism, especially poetry and drama of later Romantics. His published critical work includes authors such as: Thomas Lovell Beddoes, John Clare, George Darley, Thomas Hood, John Keats, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Walter Savage Landor, Mary Shelley, and Percy Shelley. 

He has also published on Romantic drama, ‘Romantic generations’, Romantic fragment poems, and the periodical press in the 1820s, as well as the contemporary author Alan Moore.

Dr Sharon Young

Dr Sharon Young is a  Fellow of the HEA and her teaching interests include, Renaissance, Restoration and eighteenth-century literature, women's poetry, and literary theory.

Sharon's research focuses mainly on women's poetry of the early modern period, Renaissance revenge tragedy and women's manuscript culture. Sharon has published on female poets and the critical debates of the early eighteenth century and Mary Leapor. She is the course leader for English Literature.

dr-lefteris-kailoglou

Dr Lefteris Kailoglou

Dr Lefteris Kailoglou is the Course Leader for English Language. He has been working at the University of Worcester from 2011, and previously taught at the University of Essex and University of Sussex. He has been supervising a number of dissertations on sociolinguistic variation in Worcester as well as topics on language and identity. He has also been involved in the establishment of the Worcester dialect archive which is located within the Institute.

dr-jack-mcgowan

Dr Jack McGowan

Jack’s research focuses on contemporary poetry and poetics, and he specializes in the development of performance poetry in the UK since the mid-20th century, and the oral roots of poetry.

Jack is a performance poet with 10 years of experience on the UK spoken word scene and he writes for both performance and page publication.

Careers

Where could it take you?

All research students must engage with the Researcher Development Programme (RDP), a core curriculum of training and development which provides them with the general and subject-specific knowledge, skills and behaviours to support them in the completion of their research degree. At the beginning of an MPhil/PhD degree, you will be allocated to one of two pathways depending on your experience and knowledge as a researcher. This will determine which elements of the programme are core and which are optional. At the beginning of the programme you will be required to complete a Training Needs Analysis (TNA) in conjunction with your Director of Studies. This identifies the training that you will need to undertake, in addition to the mandatory elements of RDP, in order to complete the programme and to become an effective researcher. This TNA is revisited at the beginning of each subsequent academic year. All students are offered a wide range of optional training workshops throughout the programme focused around the following themes:

  • Developing and Managing Your Research
  • Dissemination, Impact, Engagement
  • Completing Your Research Degree
  • Research Methodology Master classes
  • Data Analysis
  • Research Funding
  • Wellbeing and Personal Effectiveness
  • Careers and Employability
  • Enterprise and Entrepreneurship
Costs

How much will it cost?

Fees

The current fees can be found within the tuition fees document on our figure out finances page.

Accommodation

Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience, and our welcoming student communities are great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our halls of residence. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Traditional Hall' at £105 per week to 'En-suite Extra' at £169 per week (2020/21 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

How to apply

How do you apply?

Additional information

As part of the application process, you will be asked to submit a research outline. We recommend preparing your research outline before beginning your online application. Some guidance on preparing your research outline is available here.

If your research involves working with vulnerable adults and/or children then you may be required to obtain a DBS check. There will be a small charge for this. For more information please contact research@worc.ac.uk.

We are committed to making reasonable adjustment. If you require an alternative format for making your application due to a disability, please contact us to discuss your needs on 01905 542182 or research@worc.ac.uk.

How to apply

Please make your application via our online application form. If you have any questions, please contact the Research School on 01905 542182 or research@worc.ac.uk

Before you submit a full application, please contact Nicoleta Cinpoes (n.cinopoes@worc.ac.uk) to discuss your research project and the availability of appropriate supervision.

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