Hi Lucy, I am a student of English Literature. I have just completed my Masters course and now I am interested in pursuing a PhD in English Literature from the University of Birmingham. Please could you let me know the basic procedure for admission? Last but not least, I loved your Intro!
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Hey, I'm glad you loved my intro :) The first thing you'll need to do is find a supervisor whose research interests are similar to your proposed topic, for example I'm doing a PhD in romance novels and my two supervisors both research romance novels alongside other things. Once you've found a supervisor they'll help you with the application process, which will be fairly similar to the Masters application. The main difference is the proposal and this is something that you'll work with your supervisor on for a couple weeks, possibly months. It's completely normal to have up to seventh drafts of a PhD proposal so don't be put off it is feels like it is taking a long time!
Hope that helps and answers your question! Lucy
Hey Lucy! I hope you are fine and everything's okay.
I have a couple of questions basically about everything. I am an international student from Turkey. I want to do my PhD at Birmingham via the Distance Learning program. I graduated from the Comparative Literature Department and I have my MA from the Cultural Studies department.
My Masters thesis was about Pride and Prejudice's adaptations and how these adaptations changed the feminist reading of the original novel.
Right now, I am looking for research topics but I feel stuck. I feel like I don't know anything anymore.
Do you have any suggestions on how to find the correct research topic? I know that you should look at the areas that you are familiar with but I feel like everything has been done already. :)
Hello, there isn't necessarily a right or wrong research topic, the main thing is finding something you are passionate about and that hasn't been done before. I realise this can be hard if you want to do a popular author or novel, like Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice. That isn't to say there is nothing new to do a PhD on, but you'll need to do a lot more research to see what scholarship already exists and then try to find a gap in the research - be that a different methodological approach or focusing on less studied adaptations.
If you really do feel like everything has been done on Pride and Prejudice adaptations then I would suggest looking at why you find that topic interesting. What is it about that field that makes you want to spend 3 years studying it? Is it focusing on female authors, is it act of adaptation etc. You'll know this better than me! Then see if you can find these reasons or interests in less studied authors/adaptations.
Also don't be afraid to think outside the box, if you find something interest see if you could imagine yourself doing it academically. When I started applying for PhDs I only knew I wanted to do something with popular romance fiction, it wasn't until doing more reading that I realised how little had been done on queer romance and that made me want to study them. Also you don't need to have the idea fully-fleshed out right now as this is something you and your supervisor will work together on once you've found a supervisor.
Hope this answer helps!
What was your motivation for undertaking postgraduate study?
It was mainly because I couldn't see myself doing anything else! I actually gave up my 9-5 marketing job to return to postgraduate study. For the PhD I love my topic and couldn't wait to spend the next three years researching it. Plus I just love learning and the university environment.
What, for you, are the best things about the course?
It would have to be my supervisors! I don't have a 'course' as such but my monthly meetings with them also helps me refocus my research and get me excited about my project again!
What piece of advice would you give to anyone considering postgraduate study in your field?
Hello :) I would say the best piece of advice I have for other PhDs is to keep everything in perspective. A PhD is an amazing, tiring, long, interesting and at times frustrating process there'll be ups and downs so just remember why you wanted to do it in the first place.