Postgraduate research studentResearch Programmes in Modern Languages and Cultures

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     I am enjoying being able to investigate numerous lines of enquiry, and have the possibility to read what I want, rather than to limit myself to specific essay-based reading... If you are passionate about your research, then this is the time for you to put that passion to professional use. Enjoy researching, and knowing that you are pushing the boundaries of research in your own field.Right-hand quotation mark

(Eleanor Hodgson, PhD French Studies)

Through undertaking a research degree you will have the opportunity to develop your research skills, become an expert in your chosen discipline and make a significant contribution to scholarly debates with an original piece of research. In other words, your research will help push forward the boundaries of knowledge, whether you wish to attain a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) or the more extensive Doctor of Philosophy (PhD):


Typical duration:

  • Full-time: three years
  • Part-time: six years

You complete a thesis (75,000 words) on a research topic of your choice and present your research in an oral examination (a viva).


Typical duration:

  • Full-time: two years
  • Part-time: four years

You complete a thesis (40,000 words) on a research topic of your choice and present your research in an oral examination (a viva).


You will be assigned to two academic supervisors. Depending on the precise nature and scope of your research and on relevant staff research expertise they will be either joint supervisors, or a first and second supervisor with distinct areas of specialism. In the latter case you will be working closely with your primary supervisor as an acknowledged expert in your field of study, whilst also being able to consult with your secondary supervisor as an expert in a related field of study who is thus able to offer you a different perspective on aspects of your research.

Our staffs' areas of specialism comprise languages, literatures, cultures, area studies, applied and socio-linguistics, gender studies. For details on their research interests, publications and supervision topics, please see their individual staff pages:


Whether you wish to pursue a research degree to deepen your subject knowledge or develop your career, we can support you on your journey. We welcome enquiries regarding research supervision in any of the areas represented in our research clusters:

Research Clusters

If you're interested in pursuing research in French, Germanic, Hispanic, Russian or Slavonic Studies, please contact the relevant department directly:

Research by Department


Postgraduate research students in dedicated study spaceTraining and Development           

As a postgraduate research student at the University of Sheffield you will benefit from optional training and skills development modules made accessible to you through our Doctoral Development Programme (DDP). Under guidance of your supervisory team, you devise your own DDP by identifying the skills you already have and deciding how to improve these and acquire new skills and experience; this plan is then reviewed annually to ensure satisfactory progress through your research studies. The aim of the DDP is to provide you with a range of skills and competency-based training opportunities orientated both towards your specific PhD study and future employment, equipping you with transferrable skills that will make you not only a successful researcher, but also able to easily assimilate skills that have wider utility, thus extending your employability to other professions.

If you’re interested in developing your teaching skills, you will also have the opportunity to attend professional development workshops to become a Sheffield Teaching Assistant and gain teaching experience as a part-time tutor.

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     The DDP (Doctoral Development Programme) provides me with the opportunity to develop competencies associated with my research, and also skills that will be invaluable in seeking and securing employment in the future.
Whilst some aspects of the DDP are common to all researchers (eg Research Ethics and Integrity), the Programme is designed to meet my own specific developmental needs, and I have been encouraged to select from a wide range of modules based on a Training Needs Analysis which I wrote with the help of my supervisors... I will pursue a career as an academic following completion of my PhD, supported by opportunities to attend conferences, gain teaching experience, and produce work for publication during my research.Right-hand quotation mark

(David Lloyd, PhD Hispanic Studies)

Meet our Students and Graduates

If you would like to hear more of what our current students and graduates have to say about their experience here at Sheffield, please go to:

Meet Our Students and Graduates


Students entering through the School of Languages and Cultures door

Entry Requirements

We normally expect that an applicant for our PhD programmes has passed, or is currently completing, an MA or equivalent.

If your first language is not English, you must further have passed either the Academic IELTS with a score of 7.0 (with a minimum of 6.5 in each component), TOEFL iBT with a score of 95, or Pearson PTE with a score of 67 language test.

For detailed information about tuition fees and funding, postgraduate open days and how to apply, please proceed to the relevant web pages:

Fees and Funding

Visit Us

Apply Now

You will also find useful information on our Graduate School and on our PGR Portal, two dedicated websites for our postgraduate research students:

Graduate School

PGR Portal

Still got questions?

If you have any more questions which are not answered through the pages provided above, please do not hesitate to contact our Postgraduate Coordinator Caroline Wordley:

Email, Tel. +44 (0)114 222 0631