PhD, MPhil, MSt (Res) applications
Prospective PhD and MPhil (direct entry to second year) students should be aware that they are applying to work with an individual supervisor within the School of English, not to a programme of study. It is therefore vital that applicants look at the list of staff who can supervise (below), ensuring that their project matches an existing area of research in the School.
Application documents required:
- CV or resume
- Two academic references (directly from referees via the automated system)
- A critical writing sample of approximately 2,000 to 5,000 words with relevance for the research topic proposed. The writing sample provided within your application is incredibly important in the assessment process. Ideally, this should be a piece of distinction-grade writing which you have recently completed at Masters level or equivalent.
- certified academic transcripts of study (interim Masters level transcripts are permitted at this stage where final results are not yet known, but applicants must also include complete undergraduate degree transcripts, including modular grades)
- PhD, MPhil, MSt (Res) research proposal (comprising draft title and a full proposal of at least 2,000 words, including chapter outlines if possible)
- statement of purpose
- IELTS, CPE, or TOEFL certificate (if applicable) with an IELTS 8.0 grade minimum or equivalent in each sub-category
Applications should be submitted via the fully automated online application system and you should ensure that you have all additional documents required available for upload at point of application.
Prior to this formal process, PhD applicants should ensure that they have already communicated and received approval from a prospective supervisor to proceed to this next stage.
Your research proposal should be original, well thought-out and fully developed by the time you apply formally. It is useful to send a draft version to your prospective supervisor for feedback prior to formal application and as part of the initial communication process. A sample academic research proposal (PDF) is available as a download here as an example of good practice. This has been made available with the kind permission from Katherine Bone, a current PhD student in English.
All applicants must submit an application for study. Application deadlines for receipt of the complete study application (including references) are as follows, according to the applicant's intended funding pathway:
- 10 December for applicants wishing to be considered for Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) and Wolfson Foundation funding
- 31 January for internal scholarship consideration
- 1 June for all other applicants
If applicants have questions about the status of their study application, they can contact the Postgraduate Administrator by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applicants for internal scholarships must allow time for referees to respond to the automated reference requests sent out at study application submission point, so we recommend submission by mid-January to allow for completion by 31 January. It is the responsibility of applicants to ensure all references are submitted in a timely manner. Where references have not been received by the relevant deadline, applications may be rejected as incomplete.
Tuition fee information can be found on the University's fees and funding page. This page also includes links to other relevant information, such as accommodation fees.
The School of English offers a small number of awards for applicants to postgraduate research courses. Successful candidates are selected on the basis of academic merit.
For students who wish to be considered for these internal sources of funding, applications for study, including all supporting documents and references, must be received by 31 January each year, except where an earlier deadline is advertised. Applicants must therefore allow time for referees to respond to the automated reference requests sent out following study application submission. It is anticipated that School of English awards will be announced by the end of April.
Following submission of a study application, students should also apply separately through the scholarships and funding catalogue for any available awards. Deadline dates and eligibility are separately listed for named individual awards within the catalogue, and students normally do not require to hold a study offer prior to application.
- If you are a new applicant to the University of St Andrews, you will receive a unique link directly to the scholarships and funding catalogue approximately one week after your study application has been submitted.
- If you are a current student at St Andrews, you can access scholarships and funding through MySaint, located under 'My Applications'.
School of English scholarships 2021-2022
The JB and Margaret Salmond Principal's PGR Scholarship in Medieval and Renaissance Literature
The School of English is delighted to announce the creation of a new fully-funded scholarship for PhD entrants, the JB and Margaret Salmond Principal's postgraduate research Scholarship in Medieval and Renaissance Literature. This will cover tuition fees and will provide a maintenance stipend at the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) rate (£15,560 in 2021-2022) for up to four years and is open to all applicants, UK, EU or Overseas. This prestigious scholarship is based on academic merit and has an intended starting date of September 2021.
All PhD applicants in the relevant research area are eligible to apply. Applications should be made through the scholarships and funding catalogue. Informal enquiries may be directed to Dr Margaret Connolly via email@example.com.
School of English Handsel Tuiton Fee Scholarship
Up to five full tuition fee scholarships will be made available under the School of English and St Leonard's Postgraduate College handsel scheme. All PhD entrants are eligible to apply.
The Professor AF Falconer PhD Scholarship
A UK tuition fee waiver award of £4,486 will be available through this endowment scholarship in 2021-2022. All PhD entrants are eligible to apply.
Hargreaves Research Studentship
This award has been made possible by a generous donation from Mrs Jan Hargreaves, in memory of her husband, Geoff, former Rare Book Librarian and bibliographer, who also kindly donated a collection of early editions of the Brontës and other Victorian novelists to the University of St Andrews. The studentship covers a maintenance grant of up to £5,000 over the course of the study period. Applicants and current students from the UK, European Union and overseas are eligible to apply, but a stipulation of the award is that the student must undertake research in the area of Victorian bibliographical studies, which may include but not be limited to the Brontës.
Other scholarships are available through the scholarships and funding pages.
External funding opportunities
Recent School of English postgraduate students have been successful in obtaining funding from various external sources in order to study here, including Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Carnegie, Commonwealth, Fulbright, Marshall, Ransome, Rotary, and Saltire to name a few.
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded studentships are available for application by UK and EU residents and are offered as part of the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science Doctoral Training Programme.
External sources of funding, administered through the University of St Andrews, such as Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) and the Wolfson foundation normally have earlier deadlines that you should be aware of in relation to the study and scholarship application cycles.
Information relating to additional scholarship opportunities may be found through the general scholarships and funding pages.
Applicants for research degrees in the School of English are recommended to contact a potential supervisor before applying.
Applicants cannot be admitted to the research degree programme unless a suitable supervisor can be identified by the postgraduate committee. The committee must agree that the applicant’s research interests are viable and are a reasonable match with a prospective supervisor’s interests, who is willing to take primary responsibility for supervising the candidate; the School must also be able to identify a stand-in supervisor.
Contacting a supervisor
Prior to formal application, we would therefore expect all prospective PhD students to identify and contact a suitable supervisor directly by email to check the viability of any chosen project and be given authorisation to proceed to the next stage of the application process where applicable. When contacting a potential supervisor, please include:
- a full research proposal,
- a CV or resume,
- a relevant academic writing sample.
The following members of staff may be available to supervise research topics:
Dr Alt is interested in exchanges between literature and science in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and would be happy to supervise projects in literature and science studies, ecocriticism, and material culture studies.
Dr Archer welcomes applications from students working on any aspect of literary culture in the long 16th century. She is particularly interested in print culture, histories of knowledge, and the representation of classical and medieval texts and contexts in Tudor writing, as well as ecocritical approaches to the literature of the period.
Dr Augustine is pleased to hear from students with interests in 17th-century English literature, especially the poets John Milton, Andrew Marvell, John Dryden, and John Wilmot, Lord Rochester. His particular expertise lies in the areas of politics and literature, reception history, and early modern literary culture.
Dr Burns welcome projects from students interested in working on postcolonial and world literatures. She is particularly interested in supervising PhD work on contemporary postcolonial literatures and theory, Caribbean literature, theories of world literature, and Black British and British Asian writing. She is also interested in philosophical approaches to literary studies and aesthetics, in particular the work of Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Rancière and Bruno Latour applied to postcolonial contexts.
Professor Burnside would be happy to supervise work relating to ecocriticism, nature writing, and 20th century or contemporary American poetry.
Dr Connolly is happy to supervise in any area of Middle English literature, religious or secular, particularly prose and including writings of a non-literary nature (e.g. medical, practical, legal, chronicles). She is also interested in editing. Much of her own research involves manuscripts, scribes, book production, reception, libraries, and collections. Proposals that cross the traditional disciplinary boundaries of literature and history, including art history, manuscript and print, and the later medieval and early modern periods, are especially welcome.
Dr Davis is interested in supervising students working on any aspect of 16th and 17th-century literature and culture. He has previously supervised theses on theatre and national identity, on the penitential psalms in literature, and on the emotion of pity in the Renaissance.
Dr Garner welcomes enquiries from students interested in pursuing doctoral work on any aspect of Romantic or Victorian women's writing, or on Gothic literature in those periods. She has a particular interest in the Arthurian legend in 19th-century literature and art and would be very keen to supervise projects in this area, as well as those relating to medievalism, romance, and book history in the 19th century more broadly.
Dr Gill welcomes enquires from potential research students who are interested in developing projects on fin-de-siecle literary culture, the 19th-century press, Victorian publishing, and Victorian and Edwardian popular culture.
Dr Haddow is interested in supervising students working on contemporary (post-war to present) British and European drama, theatre or performance. He is also interested in projects involving performance analysis of contemporary events (especially relating to terrorism, violence and crisis), historiography or critical theory.
Dr Hazzard is interested in supervising students working on 20th and 21st-century poetry. He is particularly interested in transnational poetic exchange, coteries, influence, ekphrasis, appropriative and constraint-based writing.
Ian Johnson is happy to supervise in the area of later medieval English and Scottish literature, and in particular in topics involving the following: Latin and vernacular medieval literary theory, vernacular theology, devotional and meditative literature, paratextuality, Lives of Christ, translation, Boethius in English, and Chaucer.
Dr Jones is interested in supervising students working on Old and Early Middle English poetry (especially on aspects of poetic technique), and also on apocalyptic literature in Anglo-Saxon England. He is also interested in any aspect of ‘medievalism’: the reception of medieval literature and the Middle Ages more generally in the post-medieval world from the Renaissance to the 21st century. Anglo-Saxonism in the Americas and the use of medieval literature by contemporary poets in English are both viable PhD topics he is currently interested in supervising. He is open to other proposals too.
Dr Emma Jones is interested in supervising students working on: 19th and 20th-century poetry; poetics, particularly metaphor and ideas of 'mental imagery'; poetry and cinema.
Dr Tom Jones is happy to supervise research projects focusing on the following areas in 18th-century studies: poetry and poetics; history of linguistic thought; philosophy and literature; literature and the history of ideas. He is also happy to supervise projects on poetics and the theory of poetic language across a broader historical span, particularly those touching on experimental or linguistically innovative poetry and associated poetics.
Dr Mackay is interested in supervising students working on Irish or Scottish literature from 1890 onwards, modern and contemporary poetry, and modern Scottish Gaelic literature.
Dr Manly is interested in supervising students who wish to work on Romantic-era writing for children or Romantic-era women’s writing, especially of the 1790s and very early 1800s.
Professor Paterson is interested in supervising students working on 20th century and contemporary poetry, poetic form, cognitive poetics, ars poetica, translation studies, metre, metaphor studies, and poetry as it relates to linguistics.
Professor Plain is interested in supervising theses on 20th-century war writing and representation (in particular Second World War literature and film); British literature, film and culture of the 1940s and 1950s; crime fiction, cinema and television. She is particularly interested in popular genres, stardom and performance, and in projects that explore the construction of national identity, gender and sexuality.
Dr Purdie welcomes PhD applications in any area of Older Scots literature up to ca. 1560, in secular Middle English literature of the 14th and 15th centuries, or in comparative studies of medieval romance in French and English or Scots. She also publishes scholarly editions, so would welcome editorial projects in these areas as well as traditional PhD theses.
Dr Purdon welcomes approaches from students working on 20th and 21st-century literature, especially fiction. He is particularly interested in supervising projects that deal with the relationship between literary texts and other (new or old) media, projects involving postwar and Cold War-era culture, and the social inscription of technology more generally.
Dr Rauer is interested in Old English language and literature, insular Latin literature, hagiography, and the literary history of Anglo-Saxon England (particularly ninth-century literature, Mercian literature, the Old English Martyrology and Beowulf). Her current projects include a monograph on source references made by Old English and Anglo-Latin authors, and a survey of lost Anglo-Saxon hagiography. She welcomes applications from postgraduates interested in any of her research areas.
Dr Raychaudhuri is interested in supervising PhD students working in the following areas: postcolonial and diasporic studies, with special emphasis on south Asia, memory studies, war writing, Marxism, critical theory and cultural studies, popular culture and cinema. Feel free to get in touch with a project in any of the above areas.
Professor Rhodes has three main area of interest at present: first, translation and the development of the vernacular in early modern England. Second, sound and the oral and aural dimensions of literature in English, especially the early modern period; this develops from a long-standing interest in rhetoric and the media in history. Third, popular culture and its relationship to elite forms of culture in Elizabethan England. He is available for co-supervisions only.
Professor Roe welcomes enquiries from postgraduate students interested in working on Romantic literature and culture, especially Coleridge, Wordsworth, Keats and Leigh Hunt, and biography.
Professor Sellers welcomes applications for doctoral research in the general areas of modernist and post-modernist fiction, and 20th-century and contemporary women's literary prose. She is interested in the processes of writing and in writers' drafts, notebooks, correspondence and diaries.
Professor Stabler is interested in supervising PhDs on any aspect of Byron’s poetry, prose and drama. She has a particular interest in editorial approaches and manuscript-based work.
Dr Sutton is interested in supervising students working on the relationship between music and literature, particularly projects that concentrate on literature from the 19th century onwards. She is also interested in supervising theses on the work of Virginia Woolf, on decadence or aestheticism, and on British writing, visual art or culture of the fin de siecle.
Dr Tate’s research interests are in Romantic and Victorian poetry; literature and science; literature and philosophy; 19th-century writing about psychology; the Victorian periodical press; and the links between literary form and gender in the 19th century. He welcomes applications from postgraduates interested in pursuing doctoral research in any of these areas.
Dr Treen welcomes enquiries from students working on any aspect of 19th-century American literature. She is particularly interested in projects which explore the literature, culture, and afterlives of the American Civil War; African-American literature; American literature and material culture; constructions of national identity; the history of emotions; and popular genres. She is also happy to supervise projects which consider these topics in relation to American literature of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Studying English at St Andrews was the best possible choice I could have made. As an international student, I was apprehensive about moving to a small town in Scotland and making friends, but between the incredibly kind, supportive, and engaging staff in the English faculty and the community opportunities offered by the research centre at 66 North St, I have found myself feeling more at home at this university than any other I have attended.
I am in my second year of PhD and I feel blessed to be a part of the School of English at the University of St Andrews. The staff here are extremely helpful, cooperative and friendly and I could not have asked for better fellow students. Although St Andrews is a small town but we have a tight-knit student community and there is always lots going on.
My first year has been filled with so many new experiences, friendships, and opportunities beyond what I expected or imagined. The School of English fosters such a strong sense of community among students, and the staff are all so generous with their time to offer research advice and guidance.
I came to St Andrews from New Delhi and before I knew it, I fell in love with the calmness and serenity of the place and the warmth of its people. Despite being a place of work, 66 became my home away from home. I have cherished each day of my PhD in this special town and have always found great support in staff members and fellow Postgraduates at the School of English.
St Andrews is a magical place where dreams become smaller and hearts become bigger. Studying here completes one no matter what the outcome might be.
The benefits of postgraduate study at St Andrews stretch far beyond graduation. As well as joining a long line of notable alumni and academics, postgraduate students are supported in their next steps by both the Careers Centre and the University alumni relations team. See the University's page on using your English degree.
The University also provides an extensive and award-winning generic skills development programme – GRADskills – for all of its early career researchers, including PhD, MPhil and MSt (Res) students.