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The Department of English is well respected, having a proven record in developing and maintaining a vibrant research culture. Numerous books, scholarly monographs, journal articles and editions have been produced by the Department’s academic staff in recent years, and many act regularly in the capacity of expert readers for publishers and editors. The Department has also hosted a range of successful international conferences covering areas such as nineteenth-century literature and culture, language and representations of social class, queer cultures, and Holocaust representations and gender.

The University of Chester welcomes students who wish to undertake further study towards MPhil and PhD research degrees in English. The Department’s research students attend and present their work at interdisciplinary and departmental research seminars and conferences, alongside experienced researchers. Postgraduates are well supported in terms of high-quality supervision, generic and subject-specific research training, equipment and facilities. Research students benefit from a positive and inclusive research culture, and can expect an encouraging, supportive and stimulating environment in which to develop their studies. The English Department is situated in an attractive listed Victorian building near to the main campus and in easy walking distance of the city centre.

Research Areas

We are particularly keen to hear from students who would like to research the following areas:

  • Renaissance literature (including Shakespeare)
  • Nineteenth-century literature and culture
  • Modernism
  • Twentieth-century literature
  • Contemporary literature
  • South African literature
  • Irish literature
  • Gender studies and queer theory
  • Film adaptation
  • Creative writing (including flash fiction, short stories, novels, poetry, and travel writing)

Recent Projects 

Recent postgraduate research projects have included: ‘Troubling Women Troubling Genre: Shakespeare’s Unruly Characters’; ‘Images of the Witch in Victorian Literature and Culture’; ‘Representations of the Female Body in Screen Adaptations of Shakespeare’; ‘Gender and Genre in the Work of Shakespeare’; ‘The Evolution of Artificial Illumination in Nineteenth-Century Literature: Light, Dark and the Spaces in Between’; ‘Rivalry and Same-Sex Desire in the Work of Victorian Women Writers’; ‘The Ideology of Separate Spheres in Nineteenth-Century British Travel Literature’; ‘The Resonant Fiction of Sarah Water’s’; ‘The Fiction of William Carleton’; ‘Intimacy Between Men in Modern Women’s Writing’; ‘J.R.R.Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and Appropriation’; ‘Deviant Mothers in Neo-Victorian Fiction’; ‘Fantasy and Myth in Children’s Literature’. The Department also has experience of supervising the work of creative writers at doctoral level.

Entry Months

These Research Degrees usually commence annually in October, February and May.


As part of the application process students are required to present a detailed research proposal. Please contact Dr Sarah Heaton, Head of English, to discuss the process and the availability of appropriate supervision before you start to construct a detailed application.