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The University of Worcester welcomes 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.



Researcher Development Programme

As a research student you will join a vibrant student community in our Research School and become part of our dynamic research environment. You will have the opportunity to be supervised by leading researchers in your field and to take advantage of our rich Researcher Development programme. This will help you develop the skills and knowledge you need to complete your research degree while enhancing the skills you will need in any future career.

Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

Entry qualifications

For MPhil

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


  • 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


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


  • 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?

Wide variety of research interests

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 early modern literature (including Shakespeare and Defoe), literature and environment, and children’s literature.

Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

Excellent supervision

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


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.

Recent successful projects have examined 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 survival and the formulation of child heroes in Terry Pratchett’s children’s fiction; children’s Islamic literature in Britain, USA and Canada; vulnerability and resilience in Sonya Hartnett’s novels; the island imagination; and the abhuman in multi-volume vampire fiction.


Dr David Arnold 
Expertise: 20th century American poetry; Buddhist American poetry; literature and the environment.

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: contemporary and 20th century literature; women’s writing; postcolonial writing; feminist and postcolonial literary theory; language studies; gender and popular fiction.

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

Professor Jean Webb 
Expertise: children’s 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.


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 Worcesters 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

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 (Margaret Atwood, Angela Carter, Carol Ann Duffy, Caryl Churchill, Sarah Daniels, Jackie Kay, Virginia Woolf); poetry in and as performance (Patience Agbabe, Malika Booker and Jean Binta Breeze); women poets uses of the lyric and dramatic monologue (Carol Ann Duffy, U.A. Fanthorpe, Gillian Hanscombe, Kathleen Jamie, Jackie Kay, Suniti Namjoshi, Grace Nichols and Sylvia Plath); postcolonial literature (Chinua Achebe, Ama Ata Aidoo, Buchi Emecheta, Bessie Head, Grace Nichols, Flora Nwapa, Monique Roffey, Arundhati Roy, Salman Rushdie, Sam Selvon, Wole Soyinka); and identity, narrative geographies and historical fictions in the contemporary novel (Pat Barker, Andrew Hollinghurst, Hanif Kureishi, Hilary Mantel, Ian McEwan and Sarah Waters).

In recent years, Tricia has been responsible for poetry perfomances and readings at Worcester by poets Patience Agbabi, Malika Booker, U.A Fanthorpe, Gillian Hanscombe and Suniti Namjoshi, among many others. She is a committed teacher intent on bringing innovative approaches to her work with students; she is currently researching students use of learning journals, and undergraduate teaching and the use of critical reflection in student self-assessment.


Dr 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.


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.


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

How much will it cost?


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


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 £102 per week to 'En-suite Extra' at £165 per week (2019/20 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

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

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

Before you submit a full application, please contact Nicoleta Cinpoes ( to discuss your research project and the availability of appropriate supervision.

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