Senate House Library

Postgraduate Degrees

The Institute of English Studies offers an established Masters degree in the History of the Book and PhD supervision across the field of English Studies.


The Institute of English Studies provides a unique scholarly community in which to pursue doctoral research. We offer research supervision in a number of literature-related subject areas, ranging from book history to modern and contemporary literature and digital humanities. 


  • The history of the book
  • The history of authorship and author-publisher relations
  • The history of individual publishing houses
  • The history of literary agencies from the 1880s
  • The history of book and newspaper distribution and selling
  • The history of libraries and collections
  • The history of printing
  • Anglo-American modernism
  • Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century American literature
  • Reading notes and marginalia 
  • Textual criticism
  • The history of the manuscript and rare book trades
  • Archives and collections
  • Radical print cultures
  • Medieval literature
  • Early Modern literature and culture
  • Early Modern print culture
  • Victorian literature
  • Modern and Contemporary literature
  • Scottish literature

Mode of Study

Research degrees can be completed on a full-time basis (normally three years) or on a part-time basis (normally six years). All students register initially for the MPhil. Before the end of their second year (full-time) or fourth year (part-time), students complete the upgrade to PhD. Students have the option of an additional writing-up year.  


The Institute is part of the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP), which offers competitive full-fee plus living stipend funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. For further funding opportunities, see the funding page. 

Research Students

Students at the Institute of English Studies come from a variety of backgrounds: some pursue MPhil/PhD study after completing our MA/MRes in the History of the Book, while others choose to study with us after a second (or third) career. Students can take advantage of research training opportunities offered through the School of Advanced Study, as well as the Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network. For a list of current research students and their topics, see our research students page.


In the first instance, applicants should approach a prospective supervisor or the Director of Studies, Dr Andrew Nash, who can advise on which member of staff might be a suitable supervisor. We require prospective applicants to discuss their research proposal with the prospective supervisor before submitting an application. Please go to our supervisors page for further details.

A formal application will require a research proposal, references and a statement from the prospective supervisor. All applications are considered by the Director of Studies. The research proposal should: define the research question or problem to be addressed; indicate the main objectives of the research; specify why the question or problem is important, what other research has been done in the area (supported by a short bibliography of no more than one side of A4), and how the research will contribute to understanding in the area; indicate the methods and sources to be used. It should not exceed 1500 words inclusive of bibliography.

Apply online now

Location Mode Duration Apply
London Full Time 3 Years Apply
London Part Time 6 Years Apply
Distance Learning Full Time 3 Years Apply
Distance Learning Part Time 6 Years Apply