PhD, MPhil

English at Leicester All research areas within English are offered as:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - campus based full-time and part-time 
  • Master of Philosophy (MPhil) - campus based full-time and part-time

 Applied Linguistics and TESOL research is available as campus based or distance learning.

Supervision and research areas

We offer PhD and MPhil supervision in English in areas compatible with the research interests of our academic staff including:


  • History of the Book
  • Literature, Medicine, and Science
  • Literature and War
  • Literature, Art, and Film
  • Literature and Adolescence
  • Life Writing
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • English Language and Linguistics
  • Applied Linguistics and TESOL  


  • Old English and Late Medieval
  • Renaissance and Early Modern
  • Romantic and Victorian
  • 20th Century and Contemporary

Interested in a different research area?

It is important that the area you want to work in is broadly compatible with our research interests - otherwise we may not be able to accept your application.

However, please do not feel we will not be interested if there is not an exact match. It is sometimes possible to be flexible, so please contact us.

Entry requirements

You must hold a UK undergraduate (Bachelor's) degree with at least First-Class or Upper Second-Class honours or an equivalent qualification from a recognised overseas institution.

We would also normally expect applicants to hold a Master's degree.

See academic entry requirements and the English language entry requirements.

How to apply

  1. Make sure we offer PhD supervision in the area in which you want to work.
  2. Download and save the Research Proposal Form and prepare your proposal. Complete all sections and make sure it tells us what you want to research, how you intend to do it, and why it is worth doing.
  3. Prepare your supporting documents - with your application you need to include proof that you meet the academic entry requirements and the English language entry requirements:
    • Include all relevant certificates/diplomas and transcripts
    • International applicants must provide official copies of their entire course transcripts including explanations of the mark schemes used
    • Supporting documents not in English must be provided with a certified English translation
    • CV
    • Enter contact details for two academic (not personal) referees who can comment on your suitability for the research degree programme or upload letters of reference if already available
    • Personal Statement
  4. Submit your online application using the Apply button at the bottom of this page. Upload your supporting documents and your completed Research Proposal Form.
    • For all campus based research use the full-time or part-time application buttons.
    • Only use the Linguistics TESOL DL Apply button if you want to study Applied Linguistics and TESOL by distance learning.

When to apply

We have intakes in January, April, July, and September each year.

You should try to submit your application as far in advance of your preferred start date as possible. If you are an international applicant and require a visa to study in the UK you should submit your application at least three-to-four months before the proposed start date.

After you have submitted your application, it will take a minimum of six weeks for you to receive a decision about your application.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees vary according to your fee status and the mode of study (full-time or part-time). For clarification please contact pgradmissions@le.ac.uk.

UK/EU Campus-based - English


  • Starting in 2020/21 academic year: £4,407 per year


  • Starting in 2020/21 academic year: £2,203.50 per year

International Campus-based - English


  • Starting in 2020/21 academic year: £15,520 per year


Please note that owing to UK visa restrictions, part-time campus based registration is not normally available to international applicants.

The normal duration of a PhD programme is three years (full-time). PhD students may use the fourth year as a 'writing-up' year for which a reduced fee is payable if active research has been completed (currently £100). The maximum registration permitted is four years full-time or seven years part-time.

Distance Learning - Applied Linguistics and TESOL 

For distance learning study if you are living outside of the UK/EU during your studies you will pay the International fee.

UK/EU Distance Learning

  • Starting in 2020/21 academic year: £20,825 (Total course fee) 

International Distance Learning  

  • Starting in 2020/21 academic year: £24,930 (Total course fee)

The fees quoted are the total fee for the PhD distance learning programme and can be paid by the following options:

  • Total course fee paid in full before first year registration
  • Total course fee split into four annual payments with first annual payment made in full before first year registration
  • Total course fee split into 12 equal instalments payable during years 1-4 of the study. The first instalment to be paid before first year registration

If study extends beyond the 4th year no further fees are required. A payment schedule will be sent with the offer letter.


For a list of our available scholarships/studentships, please visit our funded opportunities pages.

PhD description

PhD students complete an independent research project under the guidance of a supervisory team. The research is normally completed over a maximum period of 3.0-3.5 years (full-time) or 6.0-6.5 years (part-time).

A fourth year (full-time) or seventh year (part-time) or the remaining part of this can be used to prepare the thesis for examination. The thesis should not normally exceed 80,000 words and must make an original contribution to knowledge and contain work of publishable quality. The thesis must then be defended in a viva voce (oral) examination before a degree can be awarded.

PhDs Explained