Prospective PhD Students




The School aims to provide a stimulating and nurturing environment for postgraduate research. We are privileged to include many academics of the highest national and international research reputation, encompassing a wide range of fields from French, German and Russian Studies, Iberian and Latin American Studies, Linguistics and Film Studies to Literary and Cultural Studies, Modern Critical Theory and Cultural Theory, History of Ideas and Modern Continental Philosophy.

We receive financial support for projects from sources including AHRC, the ESRC and the Leverhulme Trust, and a number of staff members are fellows of the Royal Society of Arts, the AHRC Peer Review College, the British Academy and the Association of Art Historians respectively. Our postgraduate students enjoy the use of the facilities provided by the Arts Research Centre and the Lock-keeper's Cottage Graduate Centre.

Prospective research students are welcome to approach the School at any time in the academic year. We are happy to discuss research proposals and to provide advice both on academic matters and on possible sources of funding.



Finding a supervisor

  • You are strongly advised to identify a potential supervisor and provide them with a draft research proposal prior to making a formal application.
  • You will be able to find a list of staff in each department and their research interests by visiting our Academic Department pages and following the links to people.
  • You may alternatively constult the appropriate Graduate Studies Convenor for your chosen subject area if you require further assistance in finding a supervisor.
  • We are open to proposals for research within individual departments and also to proposals requiring co-supervision, either within the School or involving other Schools in the Faculty.

  • If your research is based in linguistics, please be aware that the School offers two PhD programmes: Research in Linguistics offered by the Department of Linguistics and Research in Applied Linguistics offered by the Language Centre. Applicants for Research in Linguistics will need to submit an Applicant Query Form to the department, ideally, BEFORE contacting any potential supervisors directly or making a formal application.



Research studentships


The competition for the following awards is now closed for 2016/17 entry: Studentship details for 2017/18 are likely to be published by December 2016.

Queen Mary Research Studentships - open to applicants applying to any department within the School.
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Studentships - open to eligible applicants for Linguistics.
China Scholarship Council (CSC) Scheme - open to eligible applicants applying to any department within the School.

Further information on areas for potential PhD research can be found in the research and postgraduate pages of each departmental website.

  • The application deadline for all Research Studentships for 2016/17 entry is 31 January 2016.
  • Please ensure all the required documents are submitted as shown in our Application Checklist.
  • Your application for admission will also be considered for a studentship.
  • If your application for admission is successful you will receive an offer is for a place on the PhD programme only. Decisions on funding are made separately.
  • Candidates whose applications are received after the deadline will be considered for admission, but not for funding.
  • Candidates for the research studentships (QMUL or ESRC) will be informed by close of business on Tuesday 16 February 2016 if they are to be invited for a funding interview and will be offered the choice being interviewed in person, over the telephone or via Skype. The interviews will take place Monday 22 February 2016 between 10:15 and 18:15.
  • Decisions for funding will be made at the end of March and successful applicants will be informed shortly thereafter.



Research training

The School of Languages, Linguistics and Film delivers a research training programme, compulsory for students on all MA programmes in the School that research students are encouraged to attend.

The Centre for Academic and Professional Development at Queen Mary delivers research training and development opportunities to all research students in such areas as dissertation management (i.e., how to finish on time), academic publishing, research ethics, knowledge transfer, funding your research, and developing an academic career.



How to apply

Application process
You may apply at any time of the year. However, if you intend to begin your PhD at the start of the academic year in September, which we recommend, you should aim to submit your application before August, (unless you are also applying for funding when you may need to apply much earlier).

Application Checklist

Application Form:
This is available via the online application process.

Degree Transcripts/Certificates:
You should include those that you have already obtained. If you need to post these, please provide copies, not the original documents. If these documents are in a language other than English, a certified translation must also be provided.

English Language Proficiency:
Overseas applicants from non-English speaking countries should provide evidence of proficiency in English.

Writing sample in English:
Flexible word length, but maximum 10,000 words.

Research proposal:
You must include a 1,500-word research proposal. Ideally you would finalise this following consultation with your potential supervisor and it should be headed with a provisional title for your project

Personal statement:
This should typically be one side of A4 paper in which we recommend that you include:

  • Why you would like to undertake a PhD in your discipline.
  • Why Queen Mary is the right place for you to undertake this research.
  • What ethical issues you will need to consider in undertaking this research.
  • What research training and professional preparation you have already received.
  • What further training you think you will need to complete a PhD.

Reference Letters:

  • You will be required to obtain two academic reference letters.
  • Please note, you will need to contact your referees yourself, we do not request references on your behalf.
  • If your referee has agreed to provide you with an open reference letter you can scan this and upload it, in the upload document section of the online form.
  • References should be endorsed by the institution with an official stamp or on official institution letterhead if they are submitted or forwarded from you in electronic or in paper format. 
  • References not uploaded with your application should be sent directly to the College. Your referees can either submit a paper copy and post it to us, or complete it electronically and send it via email. 
  • Where possible, it is recommended that references are sent via email to Research Admissions.
  • If your referee emails your reference to us we can only accept it if it is sent from a university email address. References from a personal email address such as Yahoo or Hotmail are not acceptable.
  • If you are applying for a studentship, we will need to receive your references no later than one week following the application deadline.
  • Please ensure that you make a note of your application number and that this is included with your full name in every communication.



English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence of your proficiency in English. The College's preferred test is the International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) and the School will normally require a score of at least 7.0, plus 7.0 in the writing element. Further details and a table showing how the IELTS compares with scores of other tests which are accepted by the College for entry can be found on the College website for English Language Requirements.




Enrolment and Induction

Enrolment for 2016/17 takes place on Monday 26th September. Once you are in receipt of an offer, have accepted your place online and met any conditions set, instructions for online pre-enrolment will be sent to you by the Research Admissions Office from August. You will then need to complete your enrolment in person. If it is not possible to confirm your place in time for enrolment in September, or if you intend to begin your PhD at any other time of the year, you will be sent pre-enrolment instructions in time for one of the next available enrolment slots which are set on the first working day of each month.

All new students are expected to attend the QMUL PhD Induction event which runs twice a year, once at the beginning of the Autumn semester and once during the Spring semester.

A School Induction Meeting will also be held in the Autumn for all new PhD students on Wednesday 5 October, 4-5pm, Arts Two Building, Room 218.




Further information

The Doctoral College supports the life-cycle of Postgraduate Research Degrees at Queen Mary University Of London by working with both postgraduate research students and staff to support a thriving research community. The Doctoral College works with schools, institutes and academic services across QMUL to oversee the recruitment and admission, training and development, academic progression and examination of QMUL’s PhD students.

The QMUL website also contains information on admissions, accommodation, fees, fundinginternational students and open events or to order the Postgraduate Prospectus.

For more information about applying for postgraduate study in the School, please contact:
Postgraduate Studies
Tel: +44 20 7882 8332