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Course content

A research degree in your chosen English subject is a period of intensive, supervised investigative work. It builds on your previous academic or professional experience and allows you to develop an original area of expertise.

We offer research opportunities in

  • creative writing
  • eighteenth-century and romantic writing
  • linguistics
  • the Renaissance
  • contemporary and modern literature.

You work closely with a director of studies and a supervisor who are specialists in your chosen field to produce an extended thesis of up to 80,000 words in the case of doctoral research.

Our English and writing staff also supervise our innovative practice-based PhDs, which combine research with creative work, to produce a thesis of up to 40,000 words accompanied by one or more pieces of original creative work.

There are regular research training events, PhD seminars and informal meetings where you can practise delivering conference papers in a supportive environment.

We have a vibrant research culture and a high proportion of research-active staff. We value and support all our research students who make a vital contribution to the intellectual life of the University.

Funds are available to support you in attending conferences and we encourage you to deliver papers and publish your work. Occasionally we may be able to offer faculty and departmental bursaries. Some part-time teaching may also be available.

Direct PhD registration is normally only available if you hold a relevant UK masters degree or have substantial relevant research experience.

This degree is hosted within the Faculty of Development and Society Graduate School. The Graduate School website provides a communication hub for students and staff engaged in research, information about our research work, and useful contact information.

Course structure

Full-time – at least 35 hours a week on average over three years

Part-time – at least 12 hours a week on average for up to seven years

There is a split mode available for international students who want to study in their own country.

Various start dates

Your study depends on your chosen area of research but includes a compulsory research methods module if you do not have prior research qualifications at postgraduate level.


  • research programme submitted for approval by our Research Degrees Committee
  • report and oral presentation for the confirmation of PhD stage
  • submission of thesis and viva


You can go on to teach English in further and higher education. You can also find creative and publishing careers.

Visit the English MPhil page on the Sheffield Hallam University website for more details!




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