PhDs in Modern Languages and Cultures
Research in The Department of Modern Languages was ranked highly in the last assessment of national research performance, the 2015 Research Excellence Framework (REF2014), receiving a 3.04 overall GPA score, which ranks us second in London.
The Department of Modern Languages and Cultures conducts research in literary, visual and cultural history from the Middle Ages to the present. We collaborate closely with the Department of Comparative Literature and its members as we share many research interests with them.
The programme is normally a 3-year research only PhD programme (i.e., there is no mandatory coursework component).
Teaching opportunities for research students will be available from September 2020.
Funding Competitions and Deadlines
Applicants to our PhD programmes in Modern Languages and Cultures may be eligible for competitive funding awards managed by the university. If you wish to be considered for one of our funded studentships, you must apply before the end of January for admission the following September. For September 2021 entry, the application deadline for most awards is 19 January 2021. Students hoping to be competitive for funding awards should allow time to substantially revise their initial proposals following feedback from their potential supervisor(s). This means initial contact should be made before December of the year preceding the intended start date.
For 2021 entry, applicants shoould visit the Doctoral Training Studentships page.
MLC hosts or contributes to a number of flourishing Centres:
- Centre for Anglo-German Cultural Relations (directed by Rüdiger Görner), which also runs the ‘Writers-in-Residence’ programme
- Centre for Catalan Studies (directed by John London)
- Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies (co-directed by Rosa Vidal Doval)
- Centre for the History of Emotions (co-directed by Elena Carrera)
- Centre for Poetry
- Iberian and Latin American Research Seminar
- Medieval Hispanic Research Seminar
- BASF Lecture Series on Anglo-German Matters
- Anglo-German Research Colloquium
- Queen Mary Catalan Seminars (Centre for Catalan Studies)
- Translation, Transmission and Cultural Transfer, jointly organised with the Department of Comparative Literature
- Visual & Material Forum, jointly organized with the School of History
Major yearly lectures:
- The Angermion Annual Lecture (German)
- The London Kleist Lecture (German)
- The German Special Research Lecture (German)
- The Camões Annual Lecture (Hispanic Studies)
- The Catalan Annual Lecture (Hispanic Studies)
- The Kate Elder Lecture (Hispanic Studies)
- The Malcolm Bowie Lecture, held alternately at the Institute of Modern Languages Research (French)
Events and Projects
Training is available through these main routes:
Research staff in MLC collaborate closely with the Departments of Comparative Literature, Film Studies, and Linguistics as well as with the Schools of History, Politics and International Relations, and English and Drama.
They also have strong connections with external research centres, groups and institutions, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Leo Baeck Institute, the Morphomata Centre for Advanced Study at the University of Cologne, the Ramon Llull Institut (Catalan Studies), the Camões Institute for Cooperation and Language, and the University of London’s Institute of Modern Languages Research.
Research in MLC takes place within subject areas and in interdisciplinary clusters and research centres. Our subject areas also run research events seminar series as well as occasional research events and major annual lectures.
Centre for Poetry (co-directed with the School of English and Drama)
Translation, Transmission and Cultural Transfer, jointly organised with the Department of Comparative Literature
Visual & Material Forum, jointly organized with the School of History
Major annual lectures
The Angermion Annual Lecture (German)
The London Kleist Lecture (German)
The German Special Research Lecture (German)
The Camões Annual Lecture (Iberian and Latin American Studies)
The Catalan Annual Lecture (Iberian and Latin American Studies)
The Kate Elder Lecture (Iberian and Latin American Studies)
The Malcolm Bowie Lecture, held alternately at the Institute of Modern Languages Research (French)
Writers in Residence Programme
Queen Mary research students have access to training and development opportunities within the Research Development services, and outside QMUL.
External training via Doctoral Training Partnerships, Centres for Doctoral Training, or Doctoral Training Centres may be available to students who are not funded by the partnership/centre itself e.g. LAHP (AHRC-funded), LISS (ESRC-funded). Further information can be found here. It is also available through the University of London School of Advanced Studies.
Careers guidance for PGRs
Supervisors will be available to advise on discipline-specific issues related to academic career paths. Teaching opportunities are available for research students.
A PhD opens doors to a vast range of careers. Find out more about our Careers and Enterprise services:
In addition to high-quality supervision in French, German, Russian, Hispanic Studies (Catalan, Portuguese and Spanish), Visual Cultures and Translation, the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures has particular supervision strengths in the following areas:
- Linguistics: Falco Pfalzgraf, Felicity Rash, Luisa Martí, Leigh Oakes
German: Current PhD Grants
- One AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award with the V&A
- One QMUL research scholarship
- One grant from the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes
- One BASF grant
Hispanic Studies: Current PhD Grants
- One grant from the Welcome Trust
- One grant from the Balearic Islands Doctoral Studentship in Catalan Studies
- Three of the Principal’s studentships, one of which as part of the Open World Research Initiative 'Language Acts and Worldmaking'
- One China Consul Scholarship
- Two of the Principal’s studentship (jointly supervised with History and with the School of Politics and International Relations)
- Two from the Queen Mary University of London Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Scholarships (QMUL-LTDS) (jointly supervised with the School of Politics and International Relations on the theme of ‘Mobile People: mobility as a way of life’)
Minimum entry requirements for our PhD programmes are:
- A Bachelor's degree (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject, with a minimum final degree classification of 2.1 (or international equivalent)
- A Master's degree (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject, with a minimum final degree classification of Merit (or international equivalent)
- Proof of proficiency in academic English (e.g., minimum IELTS 7.0, with a minimum of 7.0 in writing), where applicable
- A compelling research proposal that closely aligns with the research interests and expertise of staff in the department
- Capacity to conduct independent and original PhD-level research (as evidenced by a statement of purpose and letters of reference)
The first step as you consider applying to the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures for a PhD will be to look at the research interests of individual staff to see if we have a colleague who works in the area of your research interests. Our main research interests are set out here.
It is essential to contact a potential supervisor to discuss your proposed PhD project before you apply for admission. This is likely to be a draft proposal at this stage, and indicative of your interests rather than binding. It will help you to organise your thinking and will give any prospective supervisor the most essential information. Your proposal may be refined and redrafted after discussions with your prospective supervisors before you apply.
We normally do not accept students who have not yet secured agreement from a potential supervisor. If you are unsure who may be an appropriate supervisor for your project, have a look at the available supervisors below and/or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Once you have applied online (How to apply), we also encourage applicants to send a complete zip archive of their application dossier to the Director of Graduate Studies in Modern Languages and Cultures (email@example.com). This helps to ensure that applications are processed in as timely a fashion as possible.