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Postgraduate Life

We host a thriving community of around 60 taught and 60 research students who work across a wide variety of fields, reflecting the breadth of world-class expertise within our academic staff. We offer taught and research degrees in English literary studies, and in creative writing.

Postgraduates are integrated into the research culture of the Department through events, publishing opportunities, and a comprehensive programme of training and induction.

  • A day in the life of an English MA student

    Coffee, library, lunch, and friends - plus of course lots of books to read and discuss in seminars. Lydia Shaw studied her MA with us and is currently researching her PhD. Here's how Lydia describes a typical day as a postgraduate in Durham English Studies.
    Four students sat around a coffee table
  • What's it like studying Creative Writing

    The Creative Writing MA at Durham is such a great opportunity to improve your writing in the company of award-winning authors and talented students. Get the student perspective of our Creative Writing programme in Lana's blog post.
    A student writing on a laptop and in a notepad

A day in the life of an English MA student

Coffee, library, lunch, and friends - plus of course lots of books to read and discuss in seminars. Lydia Shaw studied her MA with us and is currently researching her PhD. Here's how Lydia describes a typical day as a postgraduate in Durham English Studies.
Four students sat around a coffee table

What's it like studying Creative Writing

The Creative Writing MA at Durham is such a great opportunity to improve your writing in the company of award-winning authors and talented students. Get the student perspective of our Creative Writing programme in Lana's blog post.
A student writing on a laptop and in a notepad
University student
My highlights of studying at Durham were: the cosy English Department, with a friendly cohort of like-minded students; the scope of the MA English Literary Studies course, which allowed me to study a wide range of texts, from Renaissance Humanism to Post-War Drama; and, the beautiful city, witnessing it change through all four seasons.

Lisa Benson
MA English Literary Studies, 2020

Postgraduate videos

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University student
I attended many of the skills sessions available to me through the library and the university, strengthening my understanding of things such as digital skills, health and wellbeing, and time management. All of these put me on excellent ground to go into my PhD studies with more confidence in my academic abilities, and a portfolio of academic and vocational skills and knowledge which would aid me through the next stage of my career.

Laura Sadler
MA English Literary Studies, 2023

Training and Opportunities

The following opportunities may be available to you as a postgraduate student. Some of these are exclusively for PhD researchers, others are open to all and a chance to get involved in the wider life of the whole Department. For MA students, much training also happens as part of your MA Dissertation module, where you will take seminars on fundamental skills such as digital information management and using scholarly archives.

Events

  • Extra-curricular events

    We help produce around 80 different events each year, ranging from public lectures to specialised academic seminars and conferences. You can also get involved in the activities of the University's research centres and institutes.

    Students in English Language Class
  • Lecture Series and Reading Groups

    Find out more about the various regular lecture and seminar series, such as Inventions of the Text which is convened by postgraduates. Postgraduates and staff also run a number of specialised reading groups to support your research or widen your interests.

    Lecture

Extra-curricular events

We help produce around 80 different events each year, ranging from public lectures to specialised academic seminars and conferences. You can also get involved in the activities of the University's research centres and institutes.

Students in English Language Class

Lecture Series and Reading Groups

Find out more about the various regular lecture and seminar series, such as Inventions of the Text which is convened by postgraduates. Postgraduates and staff also run a number of specialised reading groups to support your research or widen your interests.

Lecture

Induction

  • University Programmes

    Training in core research skills, and personal and career development, is available through a central postgraduate programme.

    Student reading a career brochure
  • Departmental Induction

    Taught MA students receive training in preparation for a research career through their dissertation programme. Our ongoing induction for PhD researchers offers training in skills such as information management, digital, and conference presentation.

    A smiling student walking along a busy street

University Programmes

Training in core research skills, and personal and career development, is available through a central postgraduate programme.

Student reading a career brochure

Departmental Induction

Taught MA students receive training in preparation for a research career through their dissertation programme. Our ongoing induction for PhD researchers offers training in skills such as information management, digital, and conference presentation.

A smiling student walking along a busy street

Publishing Opportunities

  • Postgraduate English

    We host possibly the world's longest-running online journal for early-career English, which is edited by two PhD students each year.

    A word cloud of literary terms
  • Social Media

    PhD researchers and MA students are able to publish articles, reviews, interviews, podcasts and more on our popular blog, and to build skills in research dissemination and impact.

    Research English at Durham

Postgraduate English

We host possibly the world's longest-running online journal for early-career English, which is edited by two PhD students each year.

A word cloud of literary terms

Social Media

PhD researchers and MA students are able to publish articles, reviews, interviews, podcasts and more on our popular blog, and to build skills in research dissemination and impact.

Research English at Durham

Research and Teaching

  • Research Assistantships

    Offer research students the chance to contribute to active research projects. Students are paid £500 to support staff.

    Incandescent bulb and colourful notes
  • Teaching

    The Department may offer research students the chance of some paid teaching experience, usually in their second or third year of research, subject to the approval of supervisors.

    Group of students talking

Research Assistantships

Offer research students the chance to contribute to active research projects. Students are paid £500 to support staff.

Incandescent bulb and colourful notes

Teaching

The Department may offer research students the chance of some paid teaching experience, usually in their second or third year of research, subject to the approval of supervisors.

Group of students talking

Upcoming events

English Creates: Alumni Careers

Wednesday 6 March 2024 - Wednesday 6 March 2024
1:00 PM to 2:30 PM
Online
Business people discussing business on virtual staff meeting
University student
The balance between coursework, extra-curricular lectures, pursuing publication or conference participation, and socializing has been ideal.

Anna Curry
MA English Literary Studies