The English subject at Ulster University forms part of the School of Arts and Humanities in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences. It is a vibrant and diverse centre for the study of English literature and creative writing and hosts an active and thriving body of postgraduate researchers.
Individual scholars within the department are engaged in an extensive range of research fields which maintain and enhance the broader scholarly practice of English Studies across the globe, from Early Modern, Eighteenth Century and Victorian literature and culture, through to Modern, Contemporary, and Creative Writing, as well as Critical Theory.
Several of the researchers working in these areas also distinctively contribute to a significant focus on the study of Irish and Ulster-Scots Literature, which is also strongly and widely represented in the department’s teaching practice.
The value of the department’s research as a whole is nationally and internationally recognised by the numerous monograph publications produced by English staff with scholarly presses, as well as the frequent output of articles in highly ranked academic journals. The department also regularly supports and hosts major conferences and symposia, as well as the appointment of eminent visiting scholars.
English encourages and sustains an energetic research culture and offers an inter- disciplinary environment to scholars working in a variety of different research areas. English is the base for the Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies and the Ulster Centre for Literary Biography. Postgraduate supervision in English is available from all staff in the department and within individual members’ specialist areas of interest (research interests of staff can be viewed under each staff member's profile).
Postgraduate research facilities in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences have recently been upgraded to include a dedicated and shared postgraduate office suite on the Coleraine campus. The Library in Coleraine has also undergone recent refurbishment to include extensive computing facilities, as well as a range of specific study areas. In addition, the library has valuable holdings relating to book history, as well as archival resources pertinent to Celtic Studies, Irish and local writing.
Postgraduate researchers embarking on a PhD in English will be allocated a supervisory team of at least two supervisors for the duration of their studies. As part of their course of study, PhD Researchers will also partake a range of development courses run through the Doctoral College. These are designed to provide an excellent grounding in developing the skills and capabilities needed for the successful completion of the doctorate and preparation for professional life beyond the degree.
In addition to this research training, all postgraduate researchers will be offered teaching experience in the second year (full-time) or fourth year (part-time) of their course of study. Those who take up this opportunity will be allocated paid teaching hours on modules run by the department. Much of this teaching experience comprises seminar tutoring on introductory first year modules, or second year modules which closely match the PhD Researcher's own research area.
Research Seminar Series
The department of English also runs an English Research Seminar Series throughout semesters 1 and 2. Postgraduate researchers are invited to join staff at these seminars in order to further familiarise themselves with the range of research interests within the department, as well as engage in informal scholarly debate and dialogue with scholars from both within and without Ulster University. Postgraduate researchers will also have the opportunity of formally presenting their work at these seminars.
Postgraduate researchers within the Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences are further asked to nominate representatives to serve on the Doctoral College PhD Researcher Forum. This provides all postgraduates with the opportunity of voicing any individual or collective concerns they might have relating to any aspect of their studies, as well as provide a forum for postgraduate researchers to comment on the broader research policies of the University which may concern them.
Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a subject relevant to the proposed area of study. We may also consider applications from those who hold equivalent qualifications, for example, a Lower Second Class Honours Degree plus a Master’s Degree with Distinction.
In exceptional circumstances, the University may consider a portfolio of evidence from applicants who have appropriate professional experience which is equivalent to the learning outcomes of an Honours degree in lieu of academic qualifications.
Careers and opportunities
PhD graduates are recognised by employers to hold valuable transferrable skills, as the nature of the degree trains candidates in creativity, critical inquiry, problem solving, negotiation skills, professionalism and confidence.
The most recent Ulster survey of PhD graduates found that 92% had secured employment within the first year since graduation (HESA Destination of Leavers Survey 2015), and while two thirds end up in the Higher Education or Research sectors, the range of skills acquired equips the remainder for employment in a wide range of contexts.
We are delighted that you are considering Ulster University for your research studies.
Get full details on the application process and further guidance on how to apply, and what you will need to upload as part of your application.
Once you have identified supervisors, discussed a research proposal and are ready to make an application, please apply using the online application system.
Ulster University welcomes applications from all sections of the community and from persons with disabilities. It is University policy to assess all applications using academic criteria and on the basis of equality of opportunity and you should be assured that reasonable adjustments will be made should you require them.