Modern Languages 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 dedicated to multidisciplinary, multilingual and multicultural research. We are able to provide supervisory expertise across eight languages in a wide range of intersecting disciplines, from postcolonialism and gender studies, to sociolinguistics, visual cultures, memory studies and beyond. We support innovative approaches and have extensive experience of working with academic and non-academic partners across the globe.
  • 100%

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

  • 4th

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

  • 10th

    in the sector for 4* research overall (outputs, impact and environment) in the latest Research Excellence Framework (2021)


A PhD in Modern Languages allows candidates to draw on Departmental research strengths across the eight different language areas and multiple disciplinary intersections. Language-based expertise is supported by specialists researching literature, history, visual cultures, gender studies, sociolinguistics, and translation and interpreting. With staff involved in major research programmes such as ‘Translating Cultures’, and projects such as ‘Transnationalizing Modern Languages’, the Department has pioneered studies that incorporate post- and de-colonial perspectives to theory and practice, integrating these into pedagogical approaches to language study.

The range of specialisms in Modern Languages and Cultures is enhanced by collaborations across departments and schools, such as the Department of English and that of Communications and Media, whilst maintaining the multilingual and multicultural perspectives as a necessary interpretive key to an understanding of the contemporary world. We also offer opportunities to collaborate with non-academic partners, locally, nationally and internationally, supported by the many research projects across five continents that scholars in the department lead.

Research interests

We welcome proposals that are multidisciplinary, multilingual and inspired by language-based approaches to research that facilitate the emergence of diverse conceptualisations of knowledge. Central to our research is a sensitivity to language and culture, both historically and in the contemporary world – and a commitment to addressing the urgent questions to which language and culture relate.


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 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

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

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Related Doctoral Training Partnerships

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

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

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