BAME PhD studentship in English Literature, English Language, Creative Writing or Film Studies


Qualification type: PhD

Location: Hatfield, United Kingdom

Funding for: UK-based BAME students

Funding amount: The studentship includes a full tuition fee waiver for three years and a bursary at UK Research Council rates which for 2020-2021 will be £15,285.

Duration: Three years

Closing application date: 7 December

Expected start: 1 February 2021

Project outline

The University of Hertfordshire’s School of Humanities is committed to supporting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students. BAME students are underrepresented at postgraduate research level within the School, only making up 8% of PhD students as opposed to 57% of undergraduate and 34% of postgraduate taught students. Across the sector, BAME individuals account for only 6.5% of academics in english language and literature.

We want to ensure that we are encouraging BAME students to consider academic research careers in our disciplines. To this end, we are inviting applications from UK-based students who self-identify as BAME for a 3-year, fully funded PhD studentship in any of the disciplines of english literature, english language, creative writing or film studies.

We recognise that there are many ways to increase diversity in research careers, and we strongly encourage applications from people who identify with additional protected characteristics; those from areas with traditionally low participation in higher education; and people who are the first in their family to study at university.

Successful candidates will be supported by a team of supervisors with experience and expertise on the selected topic of research. There may be opportunities to undertake teaching related activities in a relevant area.

Areas of supervisory expertise

We have diverse supervisory expertise and encourage applications from students wishing to work in a range of areas.

In english literature, we are interested in applicants working on:

  • eighteenth century literature; nineteenth-century popular culture; Victorian, Edwardian and World War I theatre and entertainment; theatrical adaptation; crime writing; the history of female performance; modernist literature; landscape and literature; Gothic literature; twentieth-century and contemporary poetry; children's literature; gender and critical theory; twenty-first century US literature and culture; race, gender and/or sexuality in US culture; decolonial approaches to literary and cultural studies; Animal studies and the posthuman; Literature and Culture of the US South; early American literature and culture.

In english language and linguistics, we are interest in applicants working on:

  • first and second language acquisition; bilingualism and codeswitching; language processing; specific language impairment; (second language) syntax; pragmatics/semantics; discourse analysis (gender and language; workplace discourse; classroom discourse); identity construction (including second language identity and identity construction online); corpus linguistics (constructing and investigating (bilingual) language corpora, corpus-assisted discourse studies), sociolinguistics; intercultural communication; TEFL/TESOL (including teaching English to young learners; ELT teachers' resilience; students' learning & transition experiences); digitally-mediated interaction; cognitive linguistics.

In film studies, we are interested in applicants working on:

  • the theory and practice of filmmaking; documentary film; representations of class; Marxism and film; Third Cinema; radical film theory and practice; the film industry; Hollywood history of the 1910s-1950s; gender, sexuality and film; film and television stardom and fandom; fan magazines.

In creative writing, we can offer supervision in:

  • poetry; scriptwriting for stage and screen; fiction, with specialisms in historical, literary and genre fiction; and creative non-fiction, including life writing, travel and raising awareness.

Essential criteria

To apply for this studentship, you must:

  • be permanently resident in the UK
  • hold a good honours degree (2:1 or above), and a Master's degree, in a relevant discipline
  • self-identify as a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) student. The following ethnic groups are considered as BAME:
    • Arab
    • Asian - Bangladeshi
    • Asian - Chinese
    • Asian - Indian
    • Asian - Other
    • Asian - Pakistani
    • Black - African
    • Black - Caribbean
    • Black - Other
    • Gypsy or Traveller
    • Mixed - White/Black Caribbean
    • Mixed - White/Black African
    • Mixed - White and Asian
    • Mixed - Other
    • Other - Any other Black or Minority Ethnic Group.

Application process

Applicants must submit:

  • a completed application form, available for download here (PDF - 0.25 Mb)
  • a 2000-word research proposal
  • two academic references
  • copies of qualification certificates and transcripts
  • a copy of your passport
  • certification of english language competence (minimum IELTS 6.5 or equivalent) for candidates for whom english is not their first language
  • for enquiries regarding research degrees and the application process, please email Ms Lynette Spelman.

To apply for the studentship please complete the application form (PDF - 0.25 Mb) and email it with supporting evidence and a copy of your CV to: You should provide the title of the PhD project in the subject line of the email and indicate that you wish to be considered for the 3-year studentship.

For enquiries regarding research degrees at the University of Hertfordshire and this application process, please email Ms Lynette Spelman (

For enquiries concerning these studentships please email Dr Rowland Hughes, Associate Dean Research in the School of Humanities (