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Postgraduate Study in the School of English

The School of English offers six year-long post-graduate M.Phil courses; these courses consist of coursework and a dissertation. Further information can be found at the following pages:

Research degrees (M.Litt. and Ph.D.)

The School of English offers two research degrees: the Research Master's Degree (M. Litt) and the Ph. D. Both involve a minimum period of research working closely with a supervisor and the writing of a dissertation. The dissertation is supposed to be a significant work of original criticism and research. Normally the M.Litt takes two years and the dissertation should not exceed 60,000 words; the Ph.D takes up to four years and the dissertation should not exceed 100,000 words. Because these degrees do not include any coursework other than a one-term research methods seminar, many prospective Ph.D students enroll in an M.Phil course before applying for the research register. It is expected that students applying for these degrees can cogently define and articulate the scope of their research in their application; to that end prospective students are required to submit a detailed research proposal and preliminary bibliography (approximately 2,000-3,000 words).

Applicants are encouraged to discuss their proposal beforehand with an appropriate member of staff. Due to the large number of applications, no individual member of staff can make a commitment to supervise a specific student in advance of the application process.You can find further information on the research speciality of each member of staff on their personal academic staff pages.

Go to for general details on how to apply for postgraduate study at Trinity College.Until the application package is complete (i. e., including references), it will not be forwarded to the School of English Graduate Studies committee for consideration. Your application will be assessed by the School committee focusing especially on the quality and originality of the research proposal, your references and general academic background (normally at least a II.1 honours degree or equivalent, such as a GPA of 3.3, is required). The demand for research places in English is very high and sometimes very good candidates have to be turned down because of the unavailability of staff to supervise in the proposed area.

Technically, unlike application for the M.Phil courses, there is no fixed closing deadline for applications for the research register although we suggest that applications be submitted by early April especially if students wish to apply for funding.

Teaching options are available to Ph.D students starting in their second year of research. While we make every effort to ensure that all Ph.D. students have the opportunity to teach, unfortunately we cannot guarantee teaching assignments to everyone.

Further information about the application process, including funding options, can be found at the Graduate Studies Office page for prospective graduate students:

For most matters regarding the application procedure, the Graduate Studies Office should be able to provide answers. Inquiries that address matters specific to the School of English may be addressed to the Director of Postgraduate Teaching and Learning:

  • Dr Sam Slote (
  • Diane Sadler ( deals with all administration pertaining to research students as well as the M.Phil's in Literature of the Americas and Popular Literature.

Last updated 11 February 2013 School of English (Email).