Key Information


MPhil: 1.5-3 years. PhD: 2-4 years


MPhil: 2-4 years. PhD: 3-8 years

Entry Requirements

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Brayford Pool

Start Dates in October and February

Programme Overview

The MPhil/PhD English offers you the opportunity to undertake an intensive study of an aspect of literature in English, and to make an original contribution to scholarly understandings of your chosen subject area.

While the emphasis is on your independent research, you will receive guidance from your team of academic supervisors who have expertise related to your topic. The English staff team at Lincoln can supervise a wide range of subjects, with particular strengths in Romantic and Victorian literature, medieval, early modern, contemporary, Gothic, women's writing, American literature, and ecocriticism. Before you apply, we encourage you to consult the list of our staff's academic interests, to ensure the subject you are interested in can receive expert guidance.

As an MPhil/PhD student, you are encouraged to participate in the School of Humanties and Heritage's lively research culture of research seminars (including the English Research Seminar), as well as postgraduate forums, social events, and training to support the development of your academic skills. Our interdisciplinary culture fosters connections between English and areas including cultural and social history, art history, drama, film and media, and the creative arts.

Key Features

Conduct independent, original, and academically significant research

Benefit from training courses to develop key research skills

Supervision and support from expert academic staff

Present at talks and seminars to showcase your work

Enrol in February or October each year

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How You Study

Over the course of your studies, you will be expected to complete an original piece of research that makes a contribution to the existing scholarship on, and knowledge of, the subject under scrutiny. You will be guided throughout this process by expert and well-published supervisors, from whom you will receive feedback and advice. Your PhD project might cross disciplinary boundaries and focus on multiple subject areas. In such cases, we will endeavour to support you through the allocation of supervisors in relevant fields.

Due to the nature of postgraduate research programmes, a significant amount of time will be spent in independent research. You will need to take considerable responsibility for your studies, including time management, project planning, and writing drafts of your work. Students are expected to submit appropriate written work regularly to their supervisors and to act on the feedback received. Students will have regular meetings with their academic supervisor(s) who will discuss the development of the research, comment on written drafts, and agree the next stage of work.

Students also have access to support and training to develop the practical and critical skills necessary for study at doctoral level.

Research Areas, Projects, and Topics

Research areas covered within the School include:

  • Contemporary literature
  • Romantic and Victorian literature
  • Life writing
  • Ageing studies
  • Women’s writing 18th to 21st Centuries
  • American literature 19th to 21st Centuries
  • Medieval literature
  • Early modern literature
  • Gothic literature
  • Literature and eco-criticism
  • Crime fiction
  • Children’s literature

A full list of our research interests can be found on our English research pages.

Current and recent student research projects in English at Lincoln include:

  • Twenty-First Century American Masculinities
  • The New Weird
  • Maritime Modernism
  • Gothic Theatrical Adaptation
  • Tennyson and Celticism
  • William Blake and Hebrew poetic form
  • Affective Performance in C21 Fiction

Research Groups

We have links with many research groups at the University of Lincoln. These include:

How you are assessed

The assessment at this level of study takes the form of thesis of 80,000-words (PhD) or 40,000 words (MPhil), which is deemed to make an original contribution to knowledge, and to be suitable for publication (in whole or in part).

You will normally need to defend your thesis in an oral examination (viva), where you are expected to demonstrate an expert understanding of your subject, and to show how your research findings contribute to knowledge or build on existing understandings of the subject.

How to Apply

To support your experience within the postgraduate research community, new students are encouraged to enrol in October or February, although alternative dates may be agreed with your supervisors on an individual basis. When writing your research proposal, please take note of the following guidance:

Writing a Research Proposal
  • A research proposal will only be considered if there are academics in the subject with an interest in your field. Please study the staff profiles closely to make sure there is at least one member of staff whose interests intersect broadly with your own.
  • The research proposal should be 2,000-2,500 words in length.
  • Clearly define the topic you are interested in, and demonstrate understanding of the relevant research area.
  • Include two or three research questions that you will explore in your research.
  • Outline the research methodologies/approaches you will use to undertake the research.
  • Include a provisional bibliography of primary and secondary sources.
  • You might include a brief literature review of the key works that relate to your topic, particularly if this helps to exemplify the point below.
  • Explain clearly how your research makes an original contribution to existing scholarship in the area; what gaps will it fill? How will it further knowledge of the area?
  • Sketch out a provisional plan of work that includes research/archival visits and a timetable for the writing of chapters.
  • Make sure the proposal is well presented with sections and subheadings and is free of errors.

Applicants with appropriate projects will be offered an interview with the programme leader and one or more subject specialists where the application can be discussed in more detail.


Applicants with appropriate proposals will be offered an interview with the programme leader and one or more subject specialists, who will discuss with you in more detail the research proposal and your suitability to undertake it.

How to Apply

Postgraduate Research Application Support

Find out more about the application process for research degrees and what you'll need to complete on our How to Apply page, which also features contact details for dedicated support with your application.

How to Apply
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Entry Requirements 2024-25

Entry Requirements

Relevant Master's degree.

Vitally, you will need to submit a research proposal along with your application form. This must demonstrate a suitable scope and focus, and an understanding of how your project makes an original contribution to the field of study.

If you have studied outside of the UK, and are unsure whether your qualification meets the above requirements, please visit our country pages for information on equivalent qualifications.

Overseas students will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 7.0 overall, with a minimum of 6.5 in each element. For information regarding other English language qualifications we accept, please visit the English Requirements page

For further advice on IELTS and the support available, please contact the International College by email at

Programme Fees

You will need to have funding in place for your studies before you arrive at the University. Our fees vary depending on the course, mode of study, and whether you are a UK or international student. You can view the breakdown of fees for this programme below. Research students may be required to pay additional fees in addition to cover the cost of specialist resources, equipment and access to any specialist collections that may be required to support their research project. These will be informed by your research proposal and will be calculated on an individual basis.

Programme Fees

Funding Your Research

Loans and Studentships

Find out more about the optional available to support your postgraduate research, from Master's and Doctoral Loans, to research studentship opportunities. You can also find out more about how to pay your fees and access support from our helpful advisors.

Explore Funding Options
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Career Development

A doctoral qualification may be regarded as the capstone of academic achievement and may mark the beginning of a career in academia. Our School’s former students have also taken up careers in research, research administration, publishing, arts and heritage, and teaching in various contexts.

The University’s Doctoral School provides a focal point for Lincoln’s community of researchers, where ideas and experiences can be developed and shared across disciplines. It also offers support and training to help equip you for both academic and non-academic careers.

Doctoral School

Academic Contact

For more information about this course, please contact:

Dr Rebecca Styler

Research at Lincoln

Through our research, we are striving to change society for the better. Working with regional, national, and international partners, our academics are engaged in groundbreaking studies that are challenging the status quo. We also understand the importance of providing the best possible environment for pursuing research that can support our communities and make a tangible difference to the world around us.

Explore Our Research
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The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions.