English Literature


  • Entry year 2024
  • Duration Full time 3 - 4 years, Part time 4 - 7 years


Top reasons to study with us

  • Enjoy literary events in Lancaster's Castle Quarter

  • World Top 40 QS World Subject Rankings 2024 (English Language & Literature)

  • Partners with Wordsworth Grasmere in the English Lake District

Why Lancaster?

  • Benefit from our rich programme of free literary events on campus and in Lancaster’s historic Castle Quarter
  • Make the most of our connections – we are partners with The Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere
  • Get support from staff who have expansive experience of literature from medieval to the contemporary
  • Join a diverse community of PhD students investigating Jane Austen, Shakespeare, post-colonialism writing, and more
  • Work on your PhD close to the Lake District, home of the Romantic poets, and inspiration for many writers since

Be part of a community of literary experts as you carry out your PhD project. With inspiring workshops and regular one-to-one meetings with your supervisor, you’ll have all the support you need for success.

Your PhD journey

There are different reasons why people join us at PhD level. Some students are eager to start their journey into academia or continue their research, while others are returning to education from careers in areas such as teaching or publishing.

Finding the right supervisor for your PhD is important. With the diverse range of themes we cover, you should be able to find a great match. Explore our staff’s profiles to read about their work on different themes including religion, medicine, the gothic and more.

These are a few examples of themes chosen by previous PhD students:

  • 'Cumbrian Gothic'
  • 'On Bodies, Transformations, and Becomings in Contemporary Feminist Science Fiction'
  • 'Hopeful Ecologies and Speculative Fiction'
  • 'Crip/Queer Times: Ovid's Metamorphoses in Early Modern England, 1565-1632'
  • 'Indexing Futility: Neopatriarchal Trauma, Expressions of Grief, and Constitutions of Subjectivity in Contemporary Arab Women's Fiction'
  • 'Haunts of Infamy. Investigating Urban Other Spaces in the Penny Dreadful'
  • 'An Illegitimate Reading of Derrida'
  • 'Hospitable Boundaries: Literary and Visual Homelands'

The world of writing

Our work covers a diverse range of time periods from medieval to modern. We also look at how literature is part of many worlds – from politics and philosophy to fashion and gender.

Whatever your background or goals, Lancaster is a great place to surround yourself with brilliant minds and inspiring thinkers. The Lake District is on our doorstep too, and we run a range of exciting events for our literature and creative writing community on campus, such as talks from visiting scholars and authors.

You could get involved with our four student-run literary journals: Cake, Lux, Flash, and Errant, or attend a reading in the city’s historic Castle Quarter.


Achieving a PhD can be the first step to a career in academia. It also will strengthen your profile and show your dedication to your area of interest.

You might be planning a career move and thinking about going into publishing or journalism, or maybe you are looking to move into a research role.

Entry requirements

Academic Requirements

Master's degree or equivalent in English literature or literature in other languages, usually with an average of at least 65% for UK MAs.

2:1 Hons degree (UK or equivalent) in English Literature or related subject, for example literature in other languages.

If you have studied outside of the UK, we would advise you to check our list of international qualifications before submitting your application.

Additional Requirements

As part of your application you also need to provide

  1. A viable research proposal. Guidance can be found on our writing a research proposal webpage.
  2. A sample of written work, eg an essay or dissertation chapter of approximately 3000-5000 words

Details of the research areas can be found on the Department’s find a supervisor webpage. If you are interested in applying for one of our PhD programmes, you may wish to informally contact a potential supervisor for guidance on the proposal prior to submitting your application.

If you submit an application you should include the names of any potential supervisors that you have identified

English Language Requirements

We may ask you to provide a recognised English language qualification, dependent upon your nationality and where you have studied previously.

We normally require an IELTS (Academic) Test with an overall score of at least 7.0, and a minimum of 6.5 in each element of the test. We also consider other English language qualifications.

If your score is below our requirements, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language programmes.

Contact: Admissions Team +44 (0) 1524 592032 or email pgadmissions@lancaster.ac.uk

Course structure

You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.

Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research. Not all optional modules are available every year.


Fees and funding

Location Full Time (per year) Part Time (per year)
Home £4,786 £2,393
International £21,082 £10,541

General fees and funding information

Scholarships and bursaries

You may be eligible for the following funding opportunities, depending on your fee status and course. You will be automatically considered for our main scholarships and bursaries when you apply, so there's nothing extra that you need to do.

Unfortunately no scholarships and bursaries match your selection, but there are more listed on scholarships and bursaries page.

If you're considering postgraduate research you should look at our funded PhD opportunities.

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We also have other, more specialised scholarships and bursaries - such as those for students from specific countries.

Browse Lancaster University's scholarships and bursaries.

Important Information

The information on this site relates primarily to 2024/2025 entry to the University and every effort has been taken to ensure the information is correct at the time of publication.

The University will use all reasonable effort to deliver the courses as described, but the University reserves the right to make changes to advertised courses. In exceptional circumstances that are beyond the University’s reasonable control (Force Majeure Events), we may need to amend the programmes and provision advertised. In this event, the University will take reasonable steps to minimise the disruption to your studies. If a course is withdrawn or if there are any fundamental changes to your course, we will give you reasonable notice and you will be entitled to request that you are considered for an alternative course or withdraw your application. You are advised to revisit our website for up-to-date course information before you submit your application.

More information on limits to the University’s liability can be found in our legal information.

Our Students’ Charter

We believe in the importance of a strong and productive partnership between our students and staff. In order to ensure your time at Lancaster is a positive experience we have worked with the Students’ Union to articulate this relationship and the standards to which the University and its students aspire. View our Charter and other policies.