MA by Research, MPhil and PhD

We welcome application for research degrees at three levels: MA, MPhil and PhD.

Our diversity of research interests means we will consider thesis proposals in any field of literature from the Middle Ages to the present day, including literatures in languages other than English.

Click here for some recent examples of PhD monographs

About research degrees

The length and duration of the programme depends on the level, as follows:

  • MA: up to 30,000 words over one year (two years part-time)
  • MPhil: up to 50,000 words over two years (four years part-time)
  • PhD: up to 80,000 words over three years (six years part-time)

The well-developed supervisory system at York ensured that, despite the sometimes isolating nature of postgraduate study, I never felt abandoned.

Alex, PhD

Students embarking on a PhD programme are initially enrolled provisionally for that qualification. Confirmation of PhD registration is dependent upon the submission of a satisfactory proposal that meets the standards required for the degree, usually in your second year of study.

It is sometimes possible for MA by research students to transfer to a MPhil (and subsequently to a PhD) at the end of their MA year without having to make a new application. Such a transfer would be done without having the MA conferred, and your MA dissertation may be used as the basis for part of the thesis. The MA year will be counted as the first year of the MPhil/PhD.

Research training


Whichever course you choose, you will also receive training in research methods and skills appropriate to the stage they have reached and the nature of their work. This includes:

  • guidance on planning and writing your thesis
  • using bibliographic and archival resources (both electronic and printed)
  • handling research data
  • making conference presentations
  • preparting and submitting material for publication
  • applying for jobs

Introductory classes in computing and word processing, various modern languages, palaeography, bibliography, and classical and medieval Latin are also available.


Collaborative Doctoral Awards

In conjunction with WRoCAH, the National Railway Museum and the National Trust, we are pleased to offer two fully-funded collaborative PhD opportunities.  For more details, please click on the links below:

‘Industrial Relations’: the teenage Railway Queens 1925-1975

Georgian Paper Traces: Women's Stories, Ephemeral Texts and Hidden Objects 




PhD Monographs

Many of our PhD graduates have transformed their PhD research into monographs. Here are some recent examples of the many monographs that originated in PhD theses at York: 

Richard Adelman, Idleness, Contemplation and the Aesthetic (Cambridge University Press, 2011)

Amy Burge, Representing Difference in the Medieval and Modern Orientalist Romance (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)

James Fraser, Joyce & Betrayal (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)

Hollie Morgan, Beds and Chambers in Late Medieval England (York Medieval Press, 2017)

Mike Rodman Jones, Radical Pastoral, 1381–1594: Appropriation and the Writing of Religious Controversy (Routledge, 2010)

Alex Watson, Romantic Marginality (Pickering & Chatto, 2014) 

Rachel Willie, Staging the Revolution: Drama, Reinvention and History, 1647-72 (Manchester University Press, 2015)

Claire Wood, Dickens and the Business of Death (Cambridge University Press, 2015)