Skip to main content

Postgraduate research

Search Royal Holloway

Postgraduate research

An International Reputation for Advanced Research

We have an excellent record of MA and PhD completion and a thriving postgraduate community with a variety of events, reading groups, and researcher development opportunities. We have excellent research facilities, including a number of online resources and the largest library in the University of London.

Find out more about our research

Students are supervised in the Department for the degrees of MPhil and PhD, awarded by the University of London. Applications for funding should be made through the TECHNE scheme. Please note that the departmental deadline for TECHNE applications for 2019 entry has passed. The deadline for applications to TECHNE for September 2020 entry will be in January 2020. Prospective applicants should contact potential supervisors in October or early November of the Autumn term. We consider applications for unfunded PhDs at any time of year.

Applicants should fill in both a college application form. TECHNE applicants should also complete an online TECHNE application form

It is possible to study either full- or part-time. Our start dates are September or January each year, though we prefer the former.

For any research enquiries, contact the School of Humanities Director of PGR, Danielle Sands.

Please also see below on this page for more details about funding and the application process.

The English PhD

We have around 50 PhD students researching topics across the full range of English literary studies, Creative Writing, and Poetic Practice. The Department of English supports a significant body of postgraduate students developing Practice-based PhDs, in which a component part of the research involves producing a body of creative work.

MA by Research

We also offer a Master’s by Research, which can serve as an alternative to the traditional taught MA, whether as a pathway to PhD study or as an independent research qualification. In the course of this one-year (or two-year part-time) degree, you will work towards a dissertation of up to 40,000 words. This is an extended independent research project pursued with the support of a supervisor. You will receive training in research skills, and have access to the wide range of other training opportunities available in the college, including the Researcher Development Programme (RDP).

There is also a taught module which focuses on developing research skills, hosted by the Department of Languages, Literature and Culture. As this course is taught in Autumn term, it is generally expected that the MA by Research will begin in Autumn term, although we may consider Spring term starts where there are exceptional reasons to do so.

Research community

There is considerable opportunity for research students to work together at Royal Holloway; doctoral students participate in and lead a variety of research seminars, including the Contemporary Innovative Poetry Research Seminar, the Shakespeare Reading Group, the Nineteenth-Century Reading Group, the London 19th Century Studies seminar, and the Finnegans Wake Research Seminar.

Encouragement and support is given to students who wish to present their work at or run conferences. Creative writing and practice-based students also find numerous platforms to disseminate their work. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences runs a lively series of seminars, workshops and lectures for practice-based students. Discipline-specific research training is available through departmental, Faculty and College programmes.

Victorian Studies

The English department is home to two high-profile Research Centres. Our long-standing Centre for Victorian Studies is one of the leading international centres for Victorian research, with many of its events held in the stunning picture gallery, which houses a world-famous collection of Victorian art.

Royal Holloway is an award-winning centre for Victorian postgraduate training, moreover, each year hosting the residential London Victorian Studies Colloquium which brings together aspiring Victorian academics from all parts of the UK and beyond as well as masterclasses.

We are a centre of excellence for research on Dickens and offer unrivalled opportunities for aspiring Dickensians: we have an official partnership with the Dickens Museum and are a member institution of influential the Californian consortium, the Dickens Project.

Among other benefits, this means that each year a postgraduate student is funded to attend the Dickens Universe conference in Santa Cruz, the biggest annual gathering of Dickensians in the world. We are the only member institution in London and one of the few in the UK.

Poetics Research

Our Poetics Research Centre is a leading forum for the investigation of contemporary poetry, embracing the following strategies of writing – innovative and experimental writing, hybrid poetics, sound, bookarts, live-art, digital writing, installation, performance writing – as they are conceived in the framework of modernist and contemporary writing and critical theory.

The Centre runs numerous events. These include the Contemporary Innovative Poetry Research Seminar at Senate House, a seminar series run in collaboration with colleagues at Kent’s Modern Poetry Centre, the Praxis reading series and various one-off colloquia, readings and discussions. Research Centre staff teach on the well regarded Poetic Practice MA, and are currently supervising several PhDs. PGR students working within the areas of enquiry addressed by the Research Centre are eligible to become associates.

Graduate conference

Our annual PGR conference takes place every year in early November. Prospective students are welcome to attend. Please email Dr Danielle Sands for details. 

Explore Royal Holloway