The University of Essex is one of the UK's leading academic institutions, ranked ninth nationally for research excellence following the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).
Our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies offers supervision for PhD Literature in all fields of staff research interest, which includes a wide range of expertise in different literatures and in varying approaches to literature, covering most aspects of early modern and modern writing in English and a number of other languages. The titles of just a few of the books published by members of our Department in 2010 and 2011 give some indication of the extent and range of our research interests: Cubas Wild East: Towards a Literary Geography of Oriente; The Intimate and the Extimate: Violence and Gender in the Globalized World; After the Fall: American Literature Since 9/11.
A number of our graduates have gone on to undertake successful careers as writers. Other past students are now established as scholars, university lecturers, teachers, publishers, publishers editors, journalists, arts administrators, theatre artistic directors, drama advisers, and translators.
We also offer an MPhil and a Masters by dissertation in this subject.
Your research degree gives you the chance to investigate your chosen topic in real depth and reach a profound understanding. In communicating that understanding, through a thesis or other means, you have a rare opportunity to generate knowledge. You develop new high-level skills, enhance your professional development and build new networks. A PhD can open doors to many careers.
Within our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, you will be allocated a supervisor whose role it is to guide you through the different stages of your research degree. In some cases, you may have joint supervision by two members of our staff.
The support provided by your supervisor is a key feature of your research student experience and you will have regular one-to-one meetings to discuss progress on your research. Initially, your supervisor will help you develop your research topic and plan.
Twice a year, you will have a supervisory board meeting, which provides a more formal opportunity to discuss your progress and agree your plans for the next six months.
How you will study
From the first day of your research within our Department, we encourage you to plan your work so that you can expect to submit your thesis for examination by the end of three years. Aside from strong financial reasons to do this, it is wise to limit the scale and scope of what you can achieve in a set period of time. Indeed, o work within limits allowed by the time available is part of the exercise of research itself.
A typical first year of undertaking research within our Department would involve planning, conceptualisation, reading, writing a critical review of the secondary literature in your field, establishing your position regarding it, and identifying the sources you intend to use. You should keep a critical bibliography of the material you are reading. By the spring, you should be working on the primary materials of your thesis and writing draft chapters as soon as possible.
Your typical second year should involve continuing to investigate and write. In this second year (or the end of your third year, if studying part-time), your first supervisory board of the year will be your Confirmation Board. This will review the evidence to confirm whether or not you should progress and whether your work is at PhD level. After confirmation of your status, you should undertake further substantial research and writing over the next 12 months.
In a typical third year, you should comlete the writing of your draft chapters and move to revise your work into a final version ready for submission.
Finalising your PhD
Within our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, your PhD thesis is generally completed within three to four years and has a length of around 80,000 words.
Your PhD is awarded after your successful defence of your thesis in an oral examination, in which you are interviewed about your research by two examiners, at least one of whom is from outside Essex.
Seminars and conferences
Within our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, our regular staff-graduate seminar provides a forum, both intellectual and social, at which our students may give papers about their work in progress. Visiting scholars are invited to speak about their research and interdisciplinary seminars are also offered by other departments in our School of Humanities and Comparative Studies.
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For research study within our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, we normally require a good Masters degree, or equivalent, in a relevant discipline. Some applicants may be accepted on the basis of an outstanding Bachelors. A well developed research proposal is also essential.
If English is not your first language, then we will require you to have IELTS 7.0 or equivalent.
For up-to-date information on funding opportunities at Essex, please visit: www.essex.ac.uk/studentfinance.
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