English - Research
The English subject at Ulster University forms part of the School of English and History in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences. It is a vibrant and diverse centre for the study of English literature and culture and hosts an active and thriving body of postgraduate researchers.
Individual scholars within the department are engaged in an extensive range of research fields which maintain and enhance the broader scholarly practice of English Studies across the globe, from Early Modern, Eighteenth Century and Victorian literature and culture, through to Modern, Contemporary, and Creative Writing, as well as Critical Theory.
Several of the researchers working in these areas also distinctively contribute to a significant focus on the study of Irish Literature, which is also strongly and widely represented in the department's teaching practice.
The value of the department's research as a whole is nationally and internationally recognised by the numerous monograph publications produced by English staff with scholarly presses, as well as the frequent output of articles in highly ranked academic journals. The department also regularly supports and hosts major conferences and symposia, as well as the appointment of eminent visiting scholars.
English encourages and sustains an energetic research culture and offers an inter- disciplinary environment to scholars working in a variety of different research areas. English is the base for the Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies and the Ulster Centre for Literary Biography. Postgraduate supervision in English is available from all staff in the department and within individual members' specialist areas of interest (research interests of staff can be viewed under each staff member's profile).
Postgraduate research facilities in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences have recently been upgraded to include a dedicated and shared postgraduate office suite on the Coleraine campus. The Library in Coleraine has also undergone recent refurbishment to include extensive computing facilities, as well as a range of specific study areas. In addition, the library has valuable holdings relating to book history, as well as archival resources pertinent to Celtic Studies, Irish and local writing.
Postgraduate researchers embarking on a PhD/MPhil in English will be allocated a supervisory team of at least two supervisors for the duration of their studies. As part of their course of study, PhD Researchers will also partake a range of development courses run through the Doctoral College. These are designed to provide an excellent grounding in developing the skills and capabilities needed for the successful completion of the doctorate and preparation for professional life beyond the degree.
In addition to this research training, all postgraduate researchers will be offered teaching experience in the second year (full-time) or fourth year (part-time) of their course of study. Those who take up this opportunity will be allocated paid teaching hours on modules run by the department. Much of this teaching experience comprises seminar tutoring on introductory first year modules, or second year modules which closely match the PhD Researcher's own research area.
Research Seminar Series
The department of English also runs an English Research Seminar Series throughout semesters 1 and 2. Postgraduate researchers are invited to join staff at these seminars in order to further familiarise themselves with the range of research interests within the department, as well as engage in informal scholarly debate and dialogue with scholars from both within and without Ulster University. Postgraduate researchers will also have the opportunity of formally presenting their work at these seminars.
Postgraduate researchers within the Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences are further asked to nominate representatives to serve on the Doctoral College PhD Researcher Forum. This provides all postgraduates with the opportunity of voicing any individual or collective concerns they might have relating to any aspect of their studies, as well as provide a forum for postgraduate researchers to comment on the broader research policies of the University which may concern them.
Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a subject relevant to the proposed area of study. We may also consider applications from those who hold equivalent qualifications, for example, a Lower Second Class Honours Degree plus a Master's Degree with Distinction.
In exceptional circumstances, the University may consider a portfolio of evidence from applicants who have appropriate professional experience which is equivalent to the learning outcomes of an Honours degree in lieu of academic qualifications.
Get additional information for International applicants at https://www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/apply/international-students
English language requirements
In order to be admitted to research study at Ulster, you will need to provide evidence of your English language proficiency as part of your application.
Get full details on the requirements for both home and overseas applicants can be found on our English language requirements page.
We are delighted that you are considering Ulster University for your research studies.
Get full details on the application process and further guidance on how to apply, and what you will need to upload as part of your application (see "Application Weblink" below.
Once you have identified supervisors, discussed a research proposal and are ready to make an application, please apply using the online application system (see "Application Weblink" below.
Ulster University welcomes applications from all sections of the community and from persons with disabilities. It is University policy to assess all applications using academic criteria and on the basis of equality of opportunity and you should be assured that reasonable adjustments will be made should you require them.
You can study for a PhD on a full (3 years) or part-time (6 years) basis and by the end of your programme, you will have produced a body of work that makes a contribution to knowledge in your chosen field.
We have various routes to obtaining a PhD - for example, in some areas you can submit a practical element as part of your submission, such as a piece of art or a musical composition.
The MPhil programme is studied over a 2 year period on a full-time basis or 4 years on a part-time basis.
We would recommend that you contact one of our academic staff whose interests align with your own to discuss your intended research prior to submitting an application.
Year of entry: 2020/21
Postgraduate Information Session 26 March 2020
Register at: ulster.ac.uk/pg-information-events
Post Course Info
Careers and opportunities
PhD graduates are recognised by employers to hold valuable transferrable skills, as the nature of the degree trains candidates in creativity, critical inquiry, problem solving, negotiation skills, professionalism and confidence.
The most recent Ulster survey of PhD graduates found that 92% had secured employment within the first year since graduation (HESA Destination of Leavers Survey 2015), and while two thirds end up in the Higher Education or Research sectors, the range of skills acquired equips the remainder for employment in a wide range of contexts.
Staff research areas
Below is a full list of English staff members and their main research interests. Staff actively welcome and encourage enquiries from students hoping to pursue postgraduate study in their respective research areas and can be contacted via the email addresses supplied below.
Professor Richard Bradford
Professor of Literary History and Theory Literary Biography; Questioning Theory.
Dr Stephen Butler
Lecturer in contemporary British, American and World fiction; role of literature in a globalised multicultural landscape; representation of minority cultures and subcultures in literreature; interdisciplinary relationship between literature, philosophy and psychology; genre literature: crime writing, science fiction, fantasy
Dr Kate Byrne
Lecturer in Victorian Studies and Women's Writing Nineteenth-Century Literature and Disease; the History of Medicine; Victorian Women's Writing and the Body; the Gothic; Adapting Victorian Fiction for the Screen.
Dr Frank Ferguson
Lecturer in Irish Studies Ulster and Scottish Literature; Eighteenth- and Nineteenth- Century Literary Studies; Romanticism; Literary Antiquarianism; National Literary Identity Formation; Book History.
Dr Tim Hancock
Lecturer in Modernism Love Poetry; Poetry of Mina Loy; Modern Poetry and Autobiography; Contemporary Poetry from Northern Ireland.
Professor Jan Jedrzejewski
Professor in Victorian Studies Literature and Religion in Victorian Britain; Victorian Literature and the Visual Arts; Victorian Literature and Politics; Victorian Writers and Continental Europe; the Literature of Victorian Ireland; the Victorian Novel.
Dr Andrew Keanie
Lecturer in Romanticism Romantic Poets, including biography and criticism; T.S. Eliot.
Dr Kathleen McCracken
Lecturer in Creative Writing and American Literature Contemporary Irish Poetry; Contemporary Writing and Masculinity; Authorship and the Inscription of the Autobiographical/ Subjective; Beat Literature and its Legacy in Popular Culture; Native American Literature and Culture.
Dr Willa Murphy
Lecturer in Irish Studies and American Writing Nineteenth-Century Irish Novel; Nineteenth- Century American Writing; Irish Women's Writing; Eighteenth- and Nineteenth Century Theology.
Dr Kevin De Ornellas
Lecturer in Renaissance Studies Shakespeare and Renaissance Studies; Early Modern Women's Writing; James Shirley; Mid-Twentieth-Century Drama; Noel Coward; Arnold Wesker.
Dr Frank Sewell
Lecturer in Creative Writing Twentieth-Century Irish Poetry.
Dr James Ward
Lecturer in Eighteenth-Century Studies Literature and Politics in the long Eighteenth- Century; Jonathan Swift; Waste, Refuse and Rubbish in Literature; Adaptations and Appropriations of Eighteenth-Century Texts in Fiction and Film.
Dr Kathryn White
Lecturer in Modern Irish writing in English; Samuel Beckett Studies; Literature and Cultural Identity; Literature and Gender.