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Course content

This programme supports original research projects across different disciplines, media, or practice-based research, encouraging new ways of thinking on how to historicise, bridge and transcend disciplines. Working under the supervision of 2 scholars from different departments in the School of Arts, you will join a unique and innovative interdisciplinary graduate community working in literatures, languages, media and art historical studies, where new kinds of scholarship take their place in a larger academic conversation about cross-cultural transfer, cultural comparison and interdisciplinary interpretation.

Current supervisors on this programme include Silke Arnold-de-Simine, Andrew Asibong, Luisa Calè, Ben Cranfield, Patrizia Di Bello, Professor Esther Leslie, Ana Parejo Vadillo, Leslie Topp and Jo Winning. Further potential supervisors can be found via each department's pages.

This programme supports PhDs in comparative studies (e.g. French and English literatures, Japanese and American film), multidisciplinary studies (e.g. English film and literature; photography and book history), theoretical approaches that cut across disciplines (e.g. cultural studies) and practice-based research. If your thesis involves studio-based, audio-visual or technological research, it may include a portfolio, exhibition or other audio-visual display. This must be original work, exemplifying and locating the ideas that are developed in conjunction with the written part of the thesis.

In addition to supervision, we support students’ work through a programme of critical theory seminars, and research skills and methodologies classes. In your first year you are encouraged to think about how to frame research questions, what happens when research subverts disciplinary boundaries, and how these might be seen differently through alternative or historical divisions of knowledge. From the second year, you will take part in research-in-progress workshops and a range of other activities, including conferences, student-led seminars and reading groups. Throughout, your work will be enhanced by and contribute to the School’s vibrant research culture and research centres.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.

The School of Arts offers committed, enthusiastic and dynamic research-based teaching, with a constantly evolving curriculum sensitive to developments in contemporary culture. We actively foster the creation of a graduate intellectual community and our students' professional development.
A large number of our recent PhDs have successfully obtained permanent academic posts in leading universities in Britain, the United States and other countries.
Our research centres and institutes place your research in an international context, in which the best and most vibrant work is exchanged, discussed and developed.

Visit the Arts and Humanities (MPhil) page on the Birkbeck, University of London website for more details!

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