Comparative Literature PhD

The defining strength of research carried out in Modern Languages at Liverpool is the multidisciplinary nature of projects with a global reach and informed by an ethos that challenges rigid disciplinary boundaries and consolidated practices. We are able to offer supervision by teams that span various language areas and diverse methodological approaches, ensuring that ground-breaking doctoral research receives the support it requires.

Why study with us?

In Liverpool, we are committed to reading literature in ways that extend beyond single languages and cultures, that understand texts outside the limits of the nation-state. Comparative literature provides us with an innovative frame for analysis of writing by often very different authors from very different traditions. Supervisors provide expertise in postcolonialism, translingualism, World Literature, trauma theory and other approaches, ensuring that we can support a wide variety of approaches


With literary specialists across the range of eight languages taught in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, the University of Liverpool is ideally positioned to provide varied supervision in the areas of Comparative and World Literature. Researchers have played a pioneering role in work on postcolonial and translingual writing, and have contributed actively to major research programmes such as ‘Translating Cultures’ and projects such as ‘Transnationalizing Modern Languages’. The Department offers expertise across a range of genres, including the novel, short story, travel writing and graphic fiction, and staff have demonstrated international excellence in emerging areas such as digital media. Supervisors have an interest in canonical literatures as well as in emerging voices, and offer expertise across a range of theoretical approaches.

Collaboration between schools means that researchers from the Department of English make a full contribution to this pathway, extending the range of comparison to literatures from throughout the Anglophone world. This ensures that students have full access to the Centre for New and International Writing. Co-supervision is also available with the Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology as well as the Institute for Irish Studies.

In addition, researchers in Comparative Literature at the University of Liverpool contribute to the wider field of translation studies and include practicing translators. Comparatism is underpinned by a commitment to researching multilingually and to extending the theoretical bases of Comparative Literature beyond conventional understandings of the field.

Current and recent PhDs supervised include: translingual writing in the Afghanistani diaspora; masculinity in Anglophone and Francophone African fiction; and the representation of China in contemporary British fiction.

Research interests

We particularly welcome research proposals that match those of our researchers, including translingual and exophonic writing, postcolonial literature, digital humanities, multilingualism, and translation studies


The University of Liverpool has excellent research facilities within the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences. For postgraduate researchers, these include designated shared office space and access to a vast repository of journals in the areas of Comparative and World Literature (including e-journals), through the Sydney Jones Library.

As a postgraduate researcher at the University of Liverpool, you will become part of the Liverpool Doctoral College. The LDC supports all postgraduate researchers across the University to thrive in their doctoral programme with our dedicated team of esteemed supervisors, professional services staff, and student peers, ensuring that our students succeed in their studies.

Research groups

• Image, Sound and Performance and Conflict
• Memory and Heritage
• Place, Space and Belonging
• Media Histories: From Manuscript to Digital

Study options and fees

PhD Duration UK students International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,712
  • Faculty of Health and Life Sciences £27,800 (Band A)^
  • Faculty of Science and Engineering* £27,800 (Band A)^ or £21,850 (Band B)
  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences £21,850 (Band B)
Part time 4-6 years £2,356
  • Faculty of Health and Life Sciences £13,900 (Band A)^
  • Faculty of Science and Engineering* £13,900 (Band A)^ or £10,925 (Band B)
  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences £10,925 (Band B)

The fees stated in the table above exclude potential research support fees also known as ‘bench fees’. You will be notified of any fee which may apply in your offer letter.

* Please note that if you are undertaking a PhD within the Faculty of Science and Engineering the fee you pay, Band A or Band B, will reflect the nature of your research project. Some research projects incur a higher fee than others e.g. if you are required to undertake laboratory work. You will be informed of the fee for your programme in your offer letter.

^ Self-funded, full-time international students studying a PhD programme classified as Band A will receive a £2,000 reduction in their fees for the first year only.

Entry requirements

Applications are welcomed from well qualified graduates who would typically hold a UK first degree or equivalent in the first or 2:1 class, or a 2:2 class degree plus a Masters degree, in a relevant subject.

Applications are welcomed from both full-time and part-time students. For research degrees, we would normally expect applicants to have a BA or BSc degree of 2:1 standard (and also an MA) in a subject relevant to the proposed field of research.


English language requirements

IELTS Academic requirement - SELT and non-SELT 7.0 average with 7.0 minimum in each component
TOEFL iBT requirement Minimum 100 overall with L 24 R 24 W 24 and S 26
C1 Advanced CAE requirement Overall 185 with no less than 185 in any paper
PTE Academic requirement69 with minimum scores of 69 in each component
Trinity College London, Integrated Skills in English (ISE II)ISE II with an overall pass with pass in components
Cambridge IGCSE as a First LanguageGrade C
Cambridge IGCSE as a Second LanguageGrade B
Cambridge English Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (Proficiency)Overall 176 with 162 in components
Cambridge English Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (Advanced)Overall 176 with 162 in components
Cambridge English Level 2 Certificate in ESOL International (Advanced)Overall 176 with 162 in components

How to apply

Research degree applications can be made online.  You'll also need to ensure that you have funding to cover all fees.

Applications are open all year round.

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Before you apply, we recommend that you identify a supervisor and develop a research proposal

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ESRC - NW Social Science DTP
• AHRC - NW Consortium DTP

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