Birkbeck, University of London

Course Introduction

This programme supports original research projects across different disciplines, media, or practice'based research, encouraging new ways of thinking on how to historicise, bridge and transcend disciplines. Working under the supervision of 2 scholars from different departments in the School of Arts, you will join a unique and innovative interdisciplinary graduate community working in literatures, languages, media and art historical studies, where new kinds of scholarship take their place in a larger academic conversation about cross'cultural transfer, cultural comparison and interdisciplinary interpretation.

Current supervisors on this programme include Silke Arnold'de'Simine, Andrew Asibong, Luisa Calè, Ben Cranfield, Patrizia Di Bello, Professor Esther Leslie, Ana Parejo Vadillo, Leslie Topp and Jo Winning. Further potential supervisors can be found via each department's pages.

In addition to supervision, we support students’ work through a programme of critical theory seminars, and research skills and methodologies classes. In your first year you are encouraged to think about how to frame research questions, what happens when research subverts disciplinary boundaries, and how these might be seen differently through alternative or historical divisions of knowledge. From the second year, you will take part in research'in'progress workshops and a range of other activities, including conferences, student'led seminars and reading groups. Throughout, your work will be enhanced by and contribute to the School’s vibrant research culture and research centres.

Course Modules

This programme supports PhDs in comparative studies (e.g. French and English literatures, Japanese and American film), multidisciplinary studies (e.g. English film and literature; photography and book history), theoretical approaches that cut across disciplines (e.g. cultural studies) and practice'based research. If your thesis involves studio'based, audio'visual or technological research, it may include a portfolio, exhibition or other audio'visual display. This must be original work, exemplifying and locating the ideas that are developed in conjunction with the written part of the thesis.

Start Date:


Duration & Attendance Qualification Tuition fees Fee type
4 years
Full Time
Doctor of Philosophy - PhD
7 years
Part Time
Doctor of Philosophy - PhD

Qualifications required:

  • A good Honours degree and preferably an MA in the relevant field(s). If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.