English at King's is characterised by an exceptionally wide range of research activities reflected at all levels of its teaching programme. Academics in the department have cross-period interests in visual and material cultures; literature, medicine and science; gender and sexuality; colonial, postcolonial and transnational cultures; creative writing, life writing and performance; text, history, politics.
All members of staff are actively involved in research: most have gained an international reputation for the quality of their scholarship and are frequently called on to contribute their specialist knowledge to newspapers and other media Staff in the department regularly attract large-scale research grants from the European Research Council, Wellcome Trust, AHRC and Leverhulme Trust.
Ph.D. students are at the heart of our Department and its research culture. We have over 100 doctoral students from all over the world working on a wide range of projects. Many are AHRC-funded and some are working on collaborative doctoral projects with our cultural partner institutions. Together with our community of postdoctoral fellows, our early career researchers both organise and participate in our thriving seminar and conference culture.
Course study environment
We place great emphasis on pastoral care and are a friendly and welcoming department. Our home in the new Virginia Woolf Building offers many spaces for postgraduate students to work and socialise. Studying in London means students have access to a huge range of libraries from the Maughan Library at King’s to the Senate House Library at the University of London and the British Library. In addition, archives and special collections abound: eg The Women’s Library at LSE. The department hosts a number of vibrant research seminars series and symposia open to all graduate students. In addition, there is a student-led graduate seminar series called ‘The Abstract’ and an online journal which allow students to present, discuss and publish their work. We also organise an annual graduate conference attended by students and staff in the department which provides a friendly and supportive forum in which research students can give papers on their work. Students are encouraged to organise their own events, with Departmental and College support.
There is a range of induction events and training provided for students by the Graduate School, the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and the English Department. A significant number of our students are AHRC-funded through the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP) which also provides doctoral training to all students. All students take the ‘Doctoral Seminar’ in their first year. This is a series of informal, staff-led seminars on research skills in which students can share and gain feedback on their own work. We run a series of ‘Skills Lunches’, which are informal lunch meetings with staff, covering specific topics, including Upgrading, Attending Conferences, Applying for Funding and Post-Doctoral Awards, etc. Topics for these sessions are generally suggested by the students themselves, so are particularly responsive to student needs. We have an Early Career Staff Mentor who runs more formal workshops of varying kinds, particularly connected to career development and the professions (for example, ‘Applying for Jobs’ and ‘How to Write an Academic CV’). Furthermore, individual research groups within the department also provide various forms of trainings, including ‘Work in Progress’ sessions, in which students raise research/methodology questions related to their own projects.
Through our Graduate Teaching Assistantship Scheme, doctoral students are given the opportunity to teach in the department (usually in their second year of study) and are trained and supported as they do so.
Joint PhDs - Benefits of collaboration
Exciting opportunities are available to undertake a joint PhD programme either with Hong Kong University (HKU), the National University of Singapore (NUS) or Humboldt in Berlin. There are a number of areas where research expertise at King’s overlaps with our partnerships with these international institutions, enabling excellent supervisory teams for students. The fields of post colonialism, performance studies/drama, modernism, and 18th-19th century literature are especially strong across all our partners, but the full breadth of literary studies can usually be accommodated via our joint programmes. In undertaking a joint degree, students have access to studying in vibrant international contexts, making the research experience a rich and rewarding one. FAQs about joint PhDs can be found on the King’s Worldwide web pages.
Head of group/division
Professor Richard Kirkland
Contact for information
Postgraduate Admissions, Admissions Office tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 1649 fax: +44 (0) 20 7848 7200