PhD, MPhil, MRes English

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Research opportunities

We offer MRes, MPhil and PhD degrees in English. 

You can study an MPhil or an MRes over the course of one year or a PhD over three years.

You can study whichever option you'd like in any of our five research areas:

  • Gender Studies
  • Literary Linguistics
  • Literature, Culture & Place
  • Journalism & Creative Writing
  • Renaissance Studies

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Creative writing

We've particular expertise in the historical novel, writing for children, radio drama, lyric and ekphrastic poetry (a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art).

The MRes in creative writing is an opportunity to work on an extended project (up to 30,000 words) under the supervision of a successful, published author.

Find out more about the MRes in Creative Writing.

Journalism, Media & Communication

We have considerable experience in PhD supervision and welcome new applicants, particularly within our four key areas of research:

  • Gender and Media
  • Political Communications
  • Social Media
  • Media, Health, Wellbeing & Trauma

Recent and current PhD projects supervised by Journalism, Media and Communication studies colleagues include: gender and politics in the Scottish public sphere; fandom, media and gender in Scottish women’s football; transcultural fandom and K-pop; rape discourse on social media; beauty norms in anti-violence campaigns; the history of the feminist anti-violence movement in Scotland; female cannibalism in literature and film; female supporting roles in Hollywood; and the real and mediatised beach body.

English language & literature

Postgraduates in English language and literature will be supervised by researchers with international reputations in a range of fields, from the Renaissance period to the present day.

Our areas of expertise include:

  • 20th and 21st-century popular culture
  • Victorian, Edwardian and Neo-Victorian
  • Renaissance
  • Scottish studies
  • gender and sexuality
  • animal studies
  • life writing
  • periodical/newspaper culture
  • heritage
  • linguistic and cognitive literary studies

Recent and current PhD projects supervised by English Studies include the representation of animals in the illustrated police news; the impact of the discovery of neanderthals on literary culture in the late nineteenth century; the concept of the will in renaissance writing; Alexander Trocchi; Nathaniel Hawthorne; a cognitive approach to spatial patterning in novels; metaphors and L2 learners of English.

Our research & expertise

Postgraduate students at Strathclyde are part of the Scottish Graduate School in Arts and Humanities and have been involved in organising postgraduate conferences for the Graduate School.  There have been postgraduate symposia on interdisciplinarity and animal studies, and a postgraduate creative writing workshop in animal studies.

Colleagues in English are active in researching writing about the experience of travel, from tourism to migration and refuge. This work is part of a critical engagement with how we can revise ideas about heritage in transnational contexts that challenge ‘authentic’ connections to place or memory. Churnjeet Mahn is currently working on monograph analysing queer travel and tourism in contemporary postcolonial writing and is leading a strand of a major AHRC grant on lost memories and experiences of Partition in Punjab.

We maintain a strong research base in Scottish Studies, with particular interests in popular culture and the recovery of lost Scottish writing. Recent works that have come out of this research include Professor Kirstie Blair’s anthology of Scottish Victorian working-class poetry,Poets of the People’s Journal, Dr David Goldie’s anthology of Scottish war poetry, From the Line: Scottish War Poetry 1914-1945, and the accompanying book Scottish War Poetry 1914-1945; and Dr Eleanor Bell’s The Scottish Sixties: Reading, Rebellion, Revolution? and The International Writers’ Conference Revisited: Edinburgh, 1962


Current and recent projects relating to this work include Professor Blair’s AHRC-funded Piston, Pen & Press: Literary Cultures in the Industrial Workplace and Carnegie-funded The People's Voice: Scottish political poetry, song and the franchise.

We have also hosted a number of funded doctoral projects in this area, including the AHRC-funded Poetry, Song and Community in the Industrial City: Victorian Dundee, Industrial Workers as Readers: Libraries, Reading Rooms and the Industrial Workplace in the Long Nineteenth Century, and The People’s Friend? Recovering Scottish Popular Magazine Culture.

Colleagues in English, Creative Writing and in Journalism work closely together and also with colleagues in History and Languages, all of whom work within the School of Humanities. Students are co-supervised across different subject areas within the School, as well as across the University and with English and History departments in other Scottish universities.

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Fees & funding

All fees quoted are per academic year unless otherwise stated.

Entrants may be subject to a small fee during the writing up period.

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2020/21: £4,407

*Fees have not yet been set by research councils.

England, Wales & Northern Ireland


2020/21: £4,407

*Fees have not yet been set by research councils.




Our postgraduate students are eligible to apply for doctoral studentships from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Scottish Graduate School for the Arts and Humanities and the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland.

Have a look at out our scholarship search for any funding opportunities available.

Postgraduate research opportunities

Search for all funded and non-funded postgraduate research opportunities.

Please note: the fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year.

Dean's International Excellence Awards: Humanities and Social Science

To recognise academic achievement, the Dean's International Excellence Award - Postgraduate Taught offers all qualified international postgraduate students pursuing a Masters a merit based scholarship of £4,000 towards the first year of tuition fees of a full-time Masters, EdD Education or 1 year MRes programme in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Apply for the International Excellence Award
The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. University of the Year shortlisted.
The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. University of the Year shortlisted.

Find out what our students think

Anke J Kleim PhD Journalism student

Anke J. Kleim

Unlike most students at Strathclyde, I am studying part-time AND from overseas. Doing a part-time PhD was an excellent way to do so, something that is not offered by many universities. It was thus one of the main reasons why I enrolled at Strathclyde.
More about why Anke chose Strathclyde

Our research

Our research in English language and literature covers all periods from the Renaissance to the present day. Colleagues in English, Creative Writing and in Journalism work closely together and also with colleagues in History and Languages, all of whom work within the School of Humanities


Find out more about our research

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NameAreas of expertise
Elspeth Jajdelska 
  • cognitive science of Literature
  • history of reading
  • literature and wellbeing
Nigel Fabb
  • linguistics and literature
  • psychology of literature
  • comparative world literature
Erica Fudge
  • animal studies
  • renaissance studies
  • animal literary studies (renaissance to modern)
David Goldie
  • First World War literature and culture
  • Scottish literature since the 19th-century
  • modernism                                         
Churnjeet Mahn
  • postcolonial writing and theory
  • travel writing and theories of transnationalism
  • LGBTQI writing 
Eleanor Bell
  • 20th-century Scottish literature
  • national and cultural identity
  • 1960s literature and culture
Sarah Edwards
  • Edwardian/neo-Edwardian literature and culture
  • life writing
  • architecture and literature
Kirstie Blair
  • Victorian studies
  • Scottish studies, especially 19th century
  • working-class literature and culture
  • children's literature, 1800 to the present day


NameAreas of expertise
Karen Boyle 
  • feminist media studies (film, television, journalism)
  • gender, violence and representation
  • feminist theory
Petya Eckler
  • health communication
  • social media
  • public relations and advertising
Michael Higgins
  • political communications
  • representation and public discourse
  • news discourse
Dr Sallyanne Duncan
  • media reporting of trauma, death, bereavement, mental health & suicide
  • journalistic processes
  • ethical issues & media representations                               
Chamil Rathnayake
  • social media
  • political communications
  • social network analysis

Creative Writing

The Creative Writing team at Strathclyde have a broad range of interests and specialisms. Please find here, a brief outline of some of the areas in which our staff welcome PhD applications. For more information, please contact staff directly.

NameAreas of expertise

Jenni Fagan  

Some of my specialist areas of interest include poetry, structuralism, grunge music, surrealism, the occult, counter-culture (in literature, art and music), feminist theory, alternative narratives, independent cinema,  Sylvia Plath, Margaret Atwood, queer theory and working-class representation, Scottish voices and writing dealing with social justice. I would particularly welcome PhD proposals in any of the following areas: 

  • life writing/memoir 
  • contemporary poetry 
  • Structuralism 
  • counter-culture/alternative narratives 
  • feminist theory 
  • Franz Kafka 
  • Scottish literature 
  • Jessie Kesson 
  • the self and the other

Andrew Meehan 

I’m an Irish/Scottish novelist who has also had a substantial career in feature film script development, hence my research watchtower faces in a few directions.

Overall, I’m very interested in how narrative works, and how we put our stories together. The age-old tension between form and formula. I would particularly welcome PhD proposals in the following areas: 

  • screenwriting
  • historical fiction
  • experimental fiction
  • Irish fiction and Irish screen drama
  • romantic drama/comedy 
Rodge Glass

I am a novelist, short story writer, graphic novelist and biographer, with an interest and experience in supervising to completion works of fiction, non-fiction and creative-critical investigation.

My own PhD was a creative biography of the Glaswegian visual and literary artist Alasdair Gray, and I retain an interest in creative non-fiction and especially in ways of telling the stories of literary lives. I would particularly welcome PhD proposals in the following areas:  

  • Alasdair Gray studies 
  • the contemporary short story 
  • the contemporary novel  
  • contemporary Scottish literature  
  • Jewish fiction and non-fiction through time  
  • Latin American literature  


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Support & development

The Graduate School

The Graduate School is a friendly and supportive study environment for research students studying subjects within Humanities & Social Sciences.

Our staff will support you through your studies and you'll become part of a community of students who get involved with our workshops, seminars and competitions.

Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development (PgCert RPD) for MPhil/MRes

Our PgCert RPD programme aims to ensure you get the most out of your current research activities at Strathclyde and helps you prepare for your future career as a researcher.

We'll help you recognise and develop your transferrable skills that'll have a positive impact on your research, now and in the future.

Find out more about the PgCert RPD programme.


The University Careers Service can help you with everything from writing your CV to interview preparation. Take a look at our careers service pages to get more information.

Student support

From financial advice to our IT facilities, we have a wide range of support for all students here at Strathclyde. Get all the information you need at Strathlife.

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

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Postgraduate research at the Strathclyde Doctoral School

The Strathclyde Doctoral School provides a vibrant and comprehensive student-centred research and training environment in order to grow and support current and future research talent. The School encompasses our four faculties and is committed to enriching the student experience, intensifying research outputs and opportunities, and ensuring training is at the highest level. As a postgraduate researcher, you'll automatically become a member of the Strathclyde Doctoral School.

Find out more about the Doctoral School

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Interested in undertaking a postgraduate research degree at Strathclyde?

Read our step-by-step guide on how to submit your application.

How to apply
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Entry requirements

Normally, a first-class or upper second-class Honours degree, or overseas equivalent.

The application

During the application you'll be asked for the following:

  • your full contact details
  • transcripts and certificates of all degrees
  • proof of English language proficiency if you're applying as an international student
  • two references, one of which must be academic
  • funding or scholarship information
  • research proposal of 1,500-2,000 words in length, detailing the subject area & topic to be investigated

By filling these details out as fully as possible, you'll avoid any delay to your application being processed by the University.


You'll need to identify your research supervisor before you finalise your application, preferably as soon as possible.

When you've identified a potential supervisor, based on how well your research interests match theirs, drop them an email to introduce yourself. In the email, make sure you attach a draft of your research proposal along with a copy of your CV.

Don't worry about how rough your research proposal may be at this stage – you'll have help from the School of Humanities to refine it. If your chosen supervisor is available to work with you, they'll confirm this and nominate a potential second supervisor. As soon as a second supervisor is confirmed, an offer of study will be sent to you through Pegasus, our online application system.

If you accept our offer, you'll receive a full offer in writing via the email address you provide.

Accepting an offer

Once you've accepted our offer, we'll need you to fulfil any academic, administrative or financial conditions that we ask.

UK or EU students

If you're applying as a UK or EU student, you'll then be issued with your registration documentation.

Apply now

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Contact us

Dr Sarah Edwards

Senior Lecturer

Telephone: +44 (0)141 444 8345


Lord Hope Building, 141 St James Road, Glasgow, G4 0LT


Graduate School

Telephone: +44 (0)141 444 8400