PhD programmes

Develop your original ideas in a supportive community of researchers.

Why take a PhD in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures?

Doctorate-level study is an opportunity to expand upon your interests and expertise in a community that really values research and seeks to make an original, positive contribution to learning in the arts and humanities.

As one of the largest and most diverse Schools in the University of Edinburgh, our research environment is the ideal place to challenge yourself and share your ideas with others.

You can be supervised by more than one member of staff, and there are many ways in which you can collaborate with the wider School community, from regular research and work-in-progress seminars to conferences, workshops and online journals and forums, including Inciting Sparks and FORUM. We are also home to a number of established research centres and networks.

Between the School, the Careers Service and the Institute for Academic Development, you’ll find a range of programmes and resources to help you develop your doctorate-level skills. Our PhD student community is also highly active, running reading groups and other meet-ups to support each other through the opportunities and challenges of PhD life.

What can I study?

We currently offer 18 PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) programmes across our subject areas. All links take you to the University of Edinburgh's online Degree Finder, where you can find out more about what's involved in the PhD and apply.

Celtic and Scottish Studies Chinese Comparative Literature
Creative Writing English Literature European Theatre
Film Studies French German
Hispanic Studies Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies Italian
Japanese Korean Medieval Studies
Russian Scandinavian Studies Translation Studies

PhD study at a glance

  • Over the course of your PhD, you’ll be expected to complete an original body of work - your thesis - culminating in a dissertation of around 75,000 words which you will defend in an oral examination (viva voce).
  • You’ll study for a minimum of 36 months (three years). If you’d like to study part-time, you may take up to 72 months (six years) to complete your PhD.
  • You’ll be supervised by one or more members of staff with expertise in your area of research. We strongly encourage you to contact potential supervisors with your research proposal before submitting an application.
  • You’ll be based at the heart of the University of Edinburgh, in the city’s historic centre, close to the Main University Library and the National Library of Scotland. Our in-house facilities include a dedicated Postgraduate Study Room, and our festival city, the first UNESCO World City of Literature, is a treasure trove of cinemas, theatres, music venues, museums, galleries and collections.

How do I apply?

If you’d like to take a PhD with us, the first thing you need to do is find a supervisor (one or more members of our academic staff) to discuss your research proposal.

Two ways to find a supervisor in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures

You will then need to upload your research proposal, and a range of supporting documentation, using the University of Edinburgh’s online system. 

Go to the University of Edinburgh web page on applying for postgraduate study

Related links

Contact the Postgraduate Office

Research centres and networks in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures

The Institute of Academic Development resources for doctoral researchers