German PhD

As well as our established strengths in twentieth-century and contemporary German literature and cultural studies, our world-leading researchers offer specialist supervision on German and comparative topics at the forefront of a number of important interdisciplinary fields: cultural sociology, film studies, sociolinguistics, language pedagogy, and translation studies.

Why study with us?

I've found a lively research community here, planning workshops, publishing four articles, and taking part in the Eighteenth-Century Worlds Research Centre. Thanks to fellowships and grants, I've been able to travel as far as Georgia and Texas for research, and to Downside Abbey Archives & Library.

Helga Müllneritsch - German studies PhD student
  • 4th

    in sector overall for research classified as 'world leading (4*) or 'internationally excellent' (3*) in latest Research Excellence Framework (2021)

  • 19/62

    in the Guardian League Table for Modern Languages and Linguistics for 2018.

  • 100%

    of research environment classified 'world leading' (4*) or 'internationally excellent' (3*) in the latest Research Excellence Framework (2021)


German research interests in MLC focus in depth on the twentieth century and contemporary period from a broad range of cultural, historical and linguistic perspectives. Colleagues in German are actively involved in cross-departmental research groups and contribute to supervision across a wide range of interdisciplinary or multilingual topics. 

Colleagues in German are actively involved in cross-departmental research groups and contribute to supervision across a wide range of interdisciplinary or multilingual topics.

Our research interests reflect our research themes:

  • Cultural history of the 20th Century 
  • Contemporary late 20th and 21st-century literature and film
  • German sociolinguistics and pedagogy
  • Translation Studies.

Research themes

We would particularly welcome proposals for postgraduate study in German in the following areas in which we have substantial expertise:

  • Cultural history of the 20th Century: Memory practice and especially musealisation of National Socialism and the GDR; Cultural politics and artistic practice in the German dictatorships; Images and memories of 1968; Periodical culture, especially literary and political magazines
  • Contemporary late 20th and 21st-century literature and film, including writing by women and non-native speakers of German; Berlin literature in German and English; Representations of the military in film and literature; Literature of the fantastic and unreal; Autobiography/life-writing
  • German sociolinguistics and pedagogy, in particular allochthonous and autochthonous minority languages; Emerging German varieties – multi-ethnic, urban and youth varieties; Language policies and language change; Trends in German language teaching
  • Translation studies, especially sociological approaches and literary translation.


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 sociolinguistic journals (including e-journal), 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

  • Media Histories
  • Image, Sound, Performance
  • Conflict, Memory and Heritage
  • Place, Space and Belonging

Study options and fees

PhD Duration UK students International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,596* (2022) £25,950* ^ (lab based programmes)
£20,400* (non Lab based programmes) (2022)
Part time 4-6 years £2,298* (2022) £12,975* (lab based programmes)
£10,200* (non Lab based programmes) (2022)

* 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

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 Overall 6.5 no band below 6.0
TOEFL iBT requirement Minimum 88 overall with L 19 W 19 R 19 and S 20
C1 Advanced CAE requirement Overall 176 with no less than 169 in any paper
Trinity College London, Integrated Skills in English (ISE II)ISE II with an overall pass with merit 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 169 in components
Cambridge English Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (Advanced)Overall 176 with 169 in components
Cambridge English Level 2 Certificate in ESOL International (Advanced)Overall 176 with 169 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

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