English PhD / MPhil

The Department of English conducts research in all the main branches of our discipline: literature, language, and creative writing. We aim to support world-leading work in all three areas and to foster and develop strategic partnerships, particularly with local and national cultural organisations, to reach those who can benefit from our research.

Why study with us?

There is a close postgraduate community within the department. There is always someone around to talk to about your research and plenty of activities to get involved in including, reading groups, lectures by visiting speakers and conferences.

Emma Hayward - English PhD student
  • 10th

    nationally in our subject area for the quality of our research publications in the REF (2014).

  • 3

    members of the department are AHRC/BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinkers

  • 93%

    averaged for overall satisfaction over the past four years (NSS).


The Department of English has an outstanding international reputation. Students benefit from strong research-led teaching covering a wide range of literary, linguistic and applied linguistic fields, which equips students with the critical and communication skills and the capacity for adaptable intelligence which are in demand in all areas of modern life.

Our world-leading expertise in English and related literature spans all periods from medieval to contemporary. We also have expertise in many aspects of language study including sociolinguistics, pragmatics, stylistics, philosophy of language, discourse analysis and applied linguistics. Our creative writing degrees are supervised by published and award winning writers with particular expertise in critical and creative writing, especially in the area of poetry and/or poetics, and international poetics in translation. There is also the possibility of students sharing their time between the University of Liverpool and Paris-Diderot University and receiving a dual award.

We particularly welcome research proposals that match those of our researchers; see list of individual potential supervisors below. Researchers in the department are currently involved in the following collaborative interdisciplinary research projects:

Notable Past Projects Include:

Research themes

The following Research Clusters are established in the department:

  • Editing and Adaptation
  • Drama and Performance
  • Literature and Religion
  • Global Literatures
  • Literature and Mental Health
  • Northern Voices
  • Creative Writing
  • Historical Variation and Change
  • Stylistics, Pragmatics and Discourse Studies
  • Language Teaching, Learning and Assessment
  • Sociolinguistics and Multilingualism


We have access to a variety of subscription databases, such as Early English Books Online, Eighteenth-Century Collections Online, Literature Online and the Burney Collection of Newspapers.

In addition the Special Collections and Archives department of the library houses:

  • Literary manuscripts, including papers by Seamus Heaney, Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes
  • The Science Fiction Foundation collection, including the archive of John Wyndham
  • Rare and early printed books
  • Medieval manuscripts
  • Poetry archives from the Romantic period to the present day.

Study options and fees

MPhil / PhD Duration UK students International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,500* (2021) £24,250* ^ (lab based programmes)
£18,450* (non Lab based programmes) (2021)
Part time 4-6 years £2,250* (2021) £12,125* (lab based programmes)
£9,225* (non Lab based programmes) (2021)

* This excludes potential research support fees also known as ‘bench fees. You will be notified of any fee which may apply in your offer letter.

^ Self funded full time international students studying a lab based programme will receive a £2,000 reduction in their fees for the first year only.

If an EU student starts their studies in 2020-21, before 1 August 2021, they will have a fee classification of EU and pay UK fee rates for the duration of this registration. The exception being ROI students, who will continue to be charged fees at the UK fee rate, post 1 August 2021.

Entry requirements

PhD students are expected to have an MA in a related area of study, with an overall average of at least 65%.

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, Intergrated 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.

More about applying for research degrees

Apply online

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

Related studentships: self-funded and funded PhD projects

Related Doctoral Training Partnerships

Doctoral Training Partnerships support future researchers with funding and a rewarding learning environment where you can collaborate with leading researchers.

Find a scholarship

We offer a range of scholarships to help you meet the costs of studying a research degree.

See scholarships