Postgraduate study

European Theatre PhD

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: European Theatre

Thanks to its rich artistic heritage – which includes the world-famous Edinburgh International Festival and Edinburgh Festival Fringe – Edinburgh is one of the most inspiring places in the world to study theatre.

This vibrant theatrical culture has attracted researchers and practitioners from all over the world, many of whom you will find on our academic staff.

Our breadth of expertise means you will have access to supervisors who are active researchers in British, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian and Scandinavian theatre studies, as well as drama and performance theory.

Many are theatre practitioners, as well as experts in the culture and language of their respective areas of interest.

Research topics

Due to the far-reaching interests of our academic staff, your scope for research is extremely broad, and includes:

  • 17th-century French theatre
  • 19th- and 20th-century Italian literature
  • 20th-century German theatre and cultural politics, particularly in the Weimar Republic and the GDR
  • contemporary French cinema
  • contemporary French fiction
  • digital philology
  • early modern Spanish culture
  • electronic publishing
  • English Renaissance Theatre and theories of performance and performativity
  • film aesthetics and film philosophy
  • gender and performance
  • gender history
  • Greek and Persian political and sociocultural history
  • Greek poetry
  • literary theory
  • medieval literature
  • Modernism and performance
  • reception studies and popular culture
  • Russian modernist and postmodernist film, theatre and literature
  • Scandinavian literature
  • word and image

As well as the seasonal offerings of its festivals, Edinburgh boasts the UK’s only student-run theatre, the Bedlam Theatre.Here you can complement your research with practical experience in any aspect of the theatre, from acting to directing or producing.

The city’s Traverse Theatre provides support and opportunities for new and emerging writers.

All postgraduates are required to take a one-year research methods course, which teaches core research skills (bibliographic work, library research, data management) and introduces you to the research facilities available at the University and in the city of Edinburgh.

Career development is offered through workshops on conference presentation and publishing. Second-year research students can become undergraduate tutors.

You will have access to IT and common-room facilities and benefit from visiting lectures from international scholars.

A UK 2:1 honours degree and a masters degree, or their international equivalents, in a related subject.

We may also consider your application if you have equivalent qualifications or experience; please contact a supervisor to check before you apply.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

For 2021 entry we will accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 23 in each module). We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhD3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhD6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

There are a number of scholarship schemes available to eligible candidates on this PhD programme, including awards from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh.

Please be advised that many scholarships have more than one application stage, and early deadlines.

*(Revised 27 November 2020 to update featured funding information.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH

If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

*(Revised 11 November to remove contradictory deadline information.)

You must submit two references with your application.

Pre-application guidance

Before you formally apply for this PhD, you should look at the pre-application information and guidance on the programme website.*

This will help you decide if this programme is right for you, and help us gain a clearer picture of what you hope to achieve.

The guidance will also give you practical advice for writing your research proposal – one of the most important parts of your application.

*(Revised 19 November to provide updated pre-application guidance)

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH