Skip to main content

Research degrees

The PhD

The period of registration is 4 years full-time or 7 years part-time, leading to a thesis of 80,000 words. However, the expectation of the University is that full-time students work toward submission by the end of the third year, utilizing the fourth year, if needed, solely for the purpose of writing the thesis and expressly not for undertaking any further research.

Students are assigned a supervisor, who will guide their research and writing, and a mentor, who offers pastoral support and advice.

PhD students have a wide range of opportunities to develop their professional expertise while studying at Warwick, including the chance to gain experience in undergraduate teaching (at the discretion of the Head of Department), participation in the Arts Faculty Postgraduate Research and Professional Training Programme, and the Graduate School Skills Programme and the chance to compete in the Humanities Research Centre’s Doctoral Fellowship programme.

PhD students who have not already taken the Warwick MA are strongly advised to take the ‘Foundation Module’ of the taught MA. This will not be formally assessed but will ensure that you have acquired the necessary skills for further research.

The M.Phil

A two year full-time leading to a 60,000 word thesis.

What is a thesis/dissertation?

The English Department defines a postgraduate thesis/dissertation as a sustained piece of research organized around a specific and defined topic. The PhD is a demanding degree, and the final dissertation is expected to make an original contribution to knowledge. It can be undertaken as an exciting and fulfilling project in its own right, or as the essential preliminary qualification for an academic career.

The argument of the dissertation will be broken down into subdivisions/chapters, but each chapter will work towards explicating the overall thesis of the research. The thesis/dissertation is expected to reach (and not exceed) the maximum words allowed for the degree in question. The Department is not likely to accept a thesis made up of a series of discrete, unconnected chapters even if the prescribed word length is achieved. Students are advised to discuss the shape and content of their theses/dissertations regularly with their supervisor. Any queries which cannot be resolved in this way can be answered by the Director of Graduate Studies.