Research course


Open University · Department of English

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Entry requirements

PhD: The normal minimum entrance requirement is an upper second class honours degree or master's degree, relevant to the proposed area of study, from a recognised higher education institution in the UK. You should also have experience of academic research in the previous four years, normally in the form of either a master's degree in research methods, an undergraduate degree with a research element in the final year, or work-related experience with evidence through research reports.

MPhil: Applicants should normally hold, or be expecting to obtain, a bachelors degree with at least first or upper-second class honours, or an equivalent qualification. However, entry requirements differ between academic areas, and sometimes a taught masters degree is also required.

Months of entry


Course content

Research in this area embraces a diverse range of periods, topics and approaches. Our research extends from the early modern to the contemporary, includes all the main literary genres, and is characterised by a strongly interdisciplinary approach and ethos.

Research in English is showcased via a well-established research collaboration – the History of Books and Reading (HOBAR) research collaboration – and a number of clusters or research groups, such as Postcolonial and Global Literatures; Contemporary Cultures of Writing; and Literature and Music. Colleagues in English are also active in interdisciplinary, cross-subject research groups, such as the Digital Humanities Research Collaboration, the Medieval and Early Modern Research Group, and the recently established Centre for Research in Gender and Otherness in the Humanities (GOTH).

Current PhD students are working on a wide range of topics, including terrorism in early modern Drama, the literary representation of Anglo-Indians, secrets and silences in the writings of Edith Wharton, the reading of C.S. Lewis, the German translation and reception of Katherine Mansfield, and the literature of the First World War, amongst others.

Creative writing candidates are working on collections of poetry, or novels with wide ranging themes and eras. We warmly welcome applications from prospective research students, and other full-time and part-time places. Please contact us using the email address below if you are interested in exploring PhD study with us.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    part time
    72 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    36 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification
  • MPhil
    full time
    15 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    24 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Postgraduate Admissions Tutor
+44 (0)1908 652092