Research course

English (Criticism and Culture)

University of Cambridge · Faculty of English

Entry requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK Masters (Pass).

Months of entry

January, April, October

Course content

Cambridge offers internationally significant libraries and special collections, above all through the copyright library resources of the University Library. In addition, a dynamic and developing context for supporting research that shares the interdisciplinary emphasis of Criticism and Culture is provided by the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH). Furthermore, doctoral candidates in Criticism and Culture have also been closely involved in the Centre for Material Texts, the Cambridge Performance Network, and the Centre of African Studies, and across the many different research groupings alive in the University of Cambridge.

Along with such resources and intellectual contexts, the research environment for doctoral candidates in Criticism and Culture provides an intellectual framework for dialogue across the range of interests represented in the Faculty of English and for dialogue with other faculties both within and beyond the humanities. Building on the innovative MPhil in Criticism and Culture, the research environment for the PhD in Criticism and Culture actively enables a wide range of different kinds of research. It encourages students to explore concepts and problems across boundaries, disciplines and historical periods, use their research to offer novel combinations of writing and thinking and pursue problems that generate new kinds of criticism. Criticism and Culture students frequently work across conventional period boundaries and literary categories. Past and current research projects address, among other things, topics in poetics, visual culture, post-colonial and global literatures and eco-poetics, and draw together literature and science, screen media and the digital humanities.

While there is no imperative to be or become inter-disciplinary, comparative or theoretical, and while much of the work in Criticism and Culture remains productively within the traditional range of English studies, Criticism and Culture nevertheless seeks to support and nurture research that might need to explore the boundaries of disciplines and traditional categories.

The committee examining research applications is as interested in historically grounded scholarship as in innovative research methods. Faculty members who supervise and advise for doctoral theses (an indicative but not exhaustive list is given below) themselves work across a wide array of topics, historical periods, literary genres, and approaches. Proposals of all kinds, therefore, are welcome.

In addition to the training offered as part of the PhD, the research environment for Criticism and Culture includes a number of fortnightly graduate research seminars (Literary Theory; Drama, Postcolonial and Related Literatures; Screen Media Research, Twentieth Century and Contemporary Literature; and American), along with a number of informal networks and reading groups.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    full time
    36-48 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    60-84 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details