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 early twentieth century literature. 


  • Late nineteenth and early twentieth century literature
  • The literature of the Irish Revival
  • 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
  • The history of print illustration
  • Anglo-American modernism
  • Anglo-Irish literature of the twentieth century
  • American literature of the twentieth century
  • Romanticism
  • Reading notes and marginalia 
  • Textual criticism
  • Reception history
  • Literary history 

Mode of Study

Research degrees can be completed on a full-time basis (up to four years) or on a part-time basis (up to seven years). All students register initially for the MPhil. After two years (full-time) or four years (part-time), students complete the upgrade to PhD. Students have the option of one 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 the prospective supervisor or the post-graduate administrator (who can advise on which member of staff might be a suitable supervisor). We expect applicants to discuss their research proposal with the prospective supervisor before submitting an application. Discussions can take place in person or via telephone, email or letter. 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 Institute's Higher and Research Degrees Committee. 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; not exceed 1000 words, plus the bibliography.

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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