a female student writes in her notebook in the graduate school

PhD, MResEnglish

Research opportunities

We offer MRes, MPhil and PhD degrees in English. 

You can study an MPhil or an MRes over the course of one year or a PhD over three years.

You can study whichever option you'd like in any of our five research areas:

  • Gender Studies
  • Literary Linguistics
  • Literature, Culture & Place
  • Journalism & Creative Writing
  • Renaissance Studies

Creative writing

We've particular expertise in the historical novel, writing for children, radio drama, lyric and ekphrastic poetry (a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art).

The MRes in creative writing is an opportunity to work on an extended project (up to 30,000 words) under the supervision of a successful, published author.

Find out more about the MRes in Creative Writing.

English language & literature

Postgraduates in English language and literature will be supervised by researchers with international reputations in a range of fields, from the Renaissance period to the present day.

Our areas of expertise include:

  • 20th and 21st-century popular culture
  • Victorian, Edwardian and Neo-Victorian
  • Renaissance
  • Scottish studies
  • gender and sexuality
  • animal studies
  • life writing
  • periodical/newspaper culture
  • heritage
  • linguistic and cognitive literary studies

Recent and current PhD projects supervised by English Studies include the representation of animals in the illustrated police news; the impact of the discovery of neanderthals on literary culture in the late nineteenth century; the concept of the will in renaissance writing; Alexander Trocchi; Nathaniel Hawthorne; a cognitive approach to spatial patterning in novels; metaphors and L2 learners of English.

Find a supervisor for English.

Journalism, Media & Communication

We have considerable experience in PhD supervision and welcome new applicants, particularly within our four key areas of research:

  • Gender and Media
  • Political Communications
  • Social Media
  • Media, Health, Wellbeing & Trauma

Recent and current PhD projects supervised by Journalism, Media and Communication studies colleagues include: gender and politics in the Scottish public sphere; fandom, media and gender in Scottish women’s football; transcultural fandom and K-pop; rape discourse on social media; beauty norms in anti-violence campaigns; the history of the feminist anti-violence movement in Scotland; female cannibalism in literature and film; female supporting roles in Hollywood; and the real and mediatised beach body.

Find a supervisor for Journalism, Media & Communication.

Our research & expertise

Postgraduate students at Strathclyde are part of the Scottish Graduate School in Arts and Humanities, and have been involved in organising postgraduate conferences for the Graduate School.  There have been postgraduate symposia on interdisciplinarity and animal studies, and a postgraduate creative writing workshop in animal studies. 

Colleagues in English are active in researching writing about the experience of travel, from tourism to migration and refuge. This work is part of a critical engagement with how we can revise ideas about heritage in transnational contexts that challenge ‘authentic’ connections to place or memory. Churnjeet Mahn is currently working on monograph analysing queer travel and tourism in contemporary postcolonial writing and is leading a strand of a major AHRC grant on lost memories and experiences of Partition in Punjab.  

We maintain a strong research base in Scottish Studies, with particular interests in popular culture and the recovery of lost Scottish writing. Recent works that have come out of this research include Professor Kirstie Blair’s anthology of Scottish Victorian working class poetry, Poets of the People’s Journal, Dr David Goldie’s anthology of Scottish war poetry, From the Line: Scottish War Poetry 1914-1945, and the accompanying book Scottish War Poetry 1914-1945; and Dr Eleanor Bell’s The Scottish Sixties: Reading, Rebellion, Revolution? and The International Writers’ Conference Revisited: Edinburgh, 1962. Current and recent projects relating to this work include Professor Blair’s AHRC-funded Piston, Pen & Press: Literary Cultures in the Industrial Workplace and Carnegie-funded The People's Voice: Scottish political poetry, song and the franchise. We have also hosted a number of funded doctoral projects in this area, including the AHRC-funded Poetry, Song and Community in the Industrial City: Victorian Dundee, Industrial Workers as Readers: Libraries, Reading Rooms and the Industrial Workplace in the Long Nineteenth Century, and The People’s Friend? Recovering Scottish Popular Magazine Culture.

Colleagues in English, Creative Writing and in Journalism work closely together and with colleagues in History and Languages, all of which are contained within the same School of Humanities. Students are co-supervised across different subject areas within the School, as well as across the University and with English and History departments in other Scottish universities.

Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development (PG Cert RPD) programme 

As part of your PhD degree, you'll be enrolled on the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development (PG Cert RPD). 

This certificate is designed to support you with your research and rewards you for things you'll do as a research student here.

It'll help you improve skills which are important to professional development and employability:

  • the knowledge & intellectual abilities to conduct your research
  • the personal qualities to succeed in your research & chosen career
  • the standards, requirements & conduct of a professional researcher in your discipline
  • working with others & communicating the impact of your research to a wide range of audiences

All you have to do is plan these activities alongside your doctorate, documenting and reflecting your journey to success along the way.

Find out more about the PG Cert RPD programme.



NameAreas of Expertise
Elspeth Jajdelska
  • cognitive science of Literature
  • history of reading
  • literature and wellbeing
Nigel Fabb
  • linguistics and literature
  • psychology of literature
  • comparative world literature
Erica Fudge
  • animal studies
  • renaissance studies
  • animal literary studies (renaissance to modern)
David Goldie
  • First World War literature and culture
  • Scottish literature since the 19th-century
  • modernism
Churnjeet Mahn
  • postcolonial writing and theory
  • travel writing and theories of transnationalism
  • LGBTQI writing 
Eleanor Bell
  • C20th-century Scottish literature
  • national and cultural identity
  • 1960s literature and culture
Sarah Edwards
  • Edwardian/neo-Edwardian literature and culture
  • life writing
  • architecture and literature
Kirstie Blair
  • Victorian studies
  • Scottish studies, especially 19th century
  • working-class literature and culture
  • children's literature, 1800 to the present day


NameAreas of expertise
Karen Boyle
  • feminist media studies (film, television, journalism)
  • gender, violence and representation
  • feminist theory
Petya Eckler
  • health communication
  • social media
  • public relations and advertising
Michael Higgins
  • political communications
  • representation and public discourse
  • news discourse
Dr Sallyanne Duncan
  • media reporting of trauma, death, bereavement, mental health & suicide
  • journalistic processes
  • ethical issues & media representations
Chamil Rathnayake
  • social media
  • political communications
  • social network analysis

Fees & funding


All fees quoted are per academic year unless otherwise stated.

2019/20 entrants may be subject to a small fee during the writing up period.

Scotland/ EU

  • £4,327

Rest of UK

  • £4,327
International students
  • £13,550


The Dean’s Global Research Scholarship (up to 10 Awards) will help to cover the difference between the tuition fee for a UK/EU postgraduate student and that chargeable to an overseas postgraduate research student. The award will apply for each year of study up to 3 years.

Our postgraduate students are eligible to apply for doctoral studentships from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Students have also competed successfully for the Carnegie-Caledonian PhD scholarships and for the University’s Tranche studentships. The details for these schemes can be found on the the Graduate School webpage, and the websites for the Scottish Graduate School for the Arts and Humanities and the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland.

Have a look at out our scholarship search for any funding opportunities available.

Postgraduate research opportunities

Search for all funded and non-funded postgraduate research opportunities.

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year.

How can I apply?

You can apply for a postgraduate research degree at any point in the year.

All you have to do is complete an online application.

The application

During the application you'll be asked for the following:

  • your full contact details
  • transcripts & certificates of all degrees
  • proof of English language proficiency if you're applying as an international student
  • two references, one of which must be academic
  • funding or scholarship information
  • research proposal of 1,500-2,000 words in length, detailing the subject area & topic to be investigated

By filling these details out as fully as possible, you'll avoid any delay to your application being processed by the University.


You'll need to identify your research supervisor before you finalise your application, preferably as soon as possible.

When you've identified a potential supervisor, based upon how well your research interests match theirs, drop them an email to introduce yourself.

In the email, make sure you attach a draft of your research proposal along with a copy of your CV.

Don't worry about how rough your research proposal may be at this stage - you'll have help from the School of Humanities to refine it.

If your chosen supervisor if available to work with you, they'll confirm this and nominate a potential second supervisor.

As soon as a second supervisor is confirmed, an offer of study will be sent to you through Pegasus; our online application system.

If you accept our offer, you'll then be sent a full offer in writing via the email address you provide.

Accepting an offer

Once you've accepted our offer, we'll need you to fulfil any academic, administrative or financial conditions that we ask.

UK or EU students

If you're applying as a UK or EU student, you'll then be issued with your registration documentation.

You can apply for a postgraduate research degree at any point in the year.

All you have to do is complete an online application.

Support & development

The Graduate School

The Graduate School is a friendly and supportive study environment for all our research students studying subjects within Humanities & Social Sciences.

Our staff will support you through your studies and you'll become part of a community of students who get involved with out workshops, seminars and competitions.

Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development (PgCert RPD)

Our PgCert RPD programme aims to ensure you get the most out of your current research activities at Strathclyde and help you prepare for your future career as a researcher.

We'll help you recognise and develop your transferrable skills that'll have a positive impact on your research, now and in the future.

Find out more about the PG Cert RPD programme.


We have a great careers service at Strathclyde that can help you with everything from writing your CV to interview preparation.

Student support

From financial advice to our IT facilities, we have loads of different support for all students here at our University. Get all the information you need at Strathlife.

Discover more about English