Sexuality and Gender Studies PhD/MA by Research (On-Campus or by Distance Learning)

You will receive supervision from leading international scholars of interdisciplinary Sexuality and Gender Studies.

Postgraduate research in Sexuality and Gender Studies is a truly interdisciplinary collaboration, led by academics from a range of disciplines, each bringing their specific expertise to bear. Research can focus on topics including: feminist theory, masculinity studies, queer theory, postcolonial theory, psychoanalysis, ethnography, sexology, and criminology. 

Dr Charlotte Ross

Dr Charlotte Ross

“Sexuality and Gender Studies is recognized as a crucial field of critical and theoretical enquiry, which enables us to begin to untangle and problematize injustices and inequalities in culture and society, as well as to assess innovative and dissident practices and modalities of being.”

The MA by Research programme requires you to prepare a dissertation of up to 40,000 words on a topic of your choice, for which an academic staff member will provide expert supervision.

The PhD – the most advanced research degree – leads to a dissertation of up to 80,000 words on a subject of your choice and under the expert supervision of an academic member of staff.

You can study an MA by Research or PhD programme on campus or by distance learning. Please note that if you are studying with us by distance learning, there is a compulsory annual visit to campus (every two years for part-time PhD students) - please see our frequently asked questions about distance learning to find out more.

Postgraduate research is pursued in its broadest social and intellectual context, and you develop your research project within an active and friendly postgraduate community. Postgraduates are offered opportunities to present work-in-progress at Departmental Research Seminars and at the School Postgraduate Forum. As appropriate, staff and supervisors will also guide postgraduate students in important areas beyond the thesis itself, such as the preparation of external conference papers and research publications. Since we are particularly interested in interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary work, it is possible to arrange joint supervision involving staff from other Departments, thereby giving you access to a broader knowledge base and maximising the quality and originality of your work.

Profiles of our current Sexuality and Gender Studies doctoral researchers

Why study this course

  • This programme sits within  the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics, which celebrated excellent Research Assessment Exercise 2014 results  75% of research at the University of Birmingham for  this subject area was top 4* rated ‘world-leading’ or  rated 3* ‘internationally excellent’.
  • You may have the opportunity to present papers and work in progress at the postgraduate-led School Postgraduate Forum and Graduate Centre for Europe.
  • Birmingham’s Modern Languages postgraduates develop excellent communication skills, whilst cultural awareness and foreign language skills are highly sought after by employers. Postgraduates in Modern Languages also have a range of transferable skills including the ability to gather and interpret information, organisational skills and the ability to work well with others. Such skills can be used in a variety of occupations.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2016/17:

  • Home / EU £4,121 full-time; £2,061 part-time
  • Overseas: £13,680 full-time

The above fee quoted is for one year only; for those studying over two or more years, tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments. Learn more about postgraduate tuition fees and funding.

Entry requirements

Our requirements for postgraduate research are dependent on the type of programme you are applying for:

  • For MRes and MA by Research programmes, entry to our programmes usually requires a good (normally a 2:1 or above) Honours degree, or an equivalent qualification if you were educated outside the UK.
  • If you are applying for a PhD then you will usually also need to hold a good Masters qualification.

Any academic and professional qualifications or relevant professional experience you may have are normally taken into account, and in some cases, form an integral part of the entrance requirements.

If you are applying for distance learning research programmes, you will also be required to demonstrate that you have the time, commitment, facilities and experience to study by distance learning.

If your qualifications are non-standard or different from the entry requirements stated here, please contact the admissions tutor.

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications; our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

Research for this subject area takes place within the Department of Modern Languages. When you select ‘Apply Now’ you will need to select your preferred mode of study from the Modern Languages choices available. If you are applying to start before September 2016, please select 2015/16 as your study year; otherwise, select 2016/17.

Before you make your application

Please refer to our six step process on applying for PhD, MA by Research and MRes opportunities for Arts subject areas.

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Additional Guidance for applicants to the PhD Distance Learning study mode.

Making your application

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Enquiries about PhD Sexuality and Gender Studies in the Humanities (e.g. Cultural Studies, History, Literary/ Film Studies, etc.) should be addressed to Prof. Lisa Downing:

  • Professor Lisa Downing
    Professor of French Discourses of Sexuality
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 5981

Enquiries about PhD Sexuality and Gender Studies in the Social Sciences (e.g. Politics, Sociology, Psychology, etc.) should be addressed to Dr Emma Foster.

Academic staff with interests in sexuality and gender studies:

  • Dr Michele Aaron
    Senior Lecturer in American and Canadian Studies
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 5750
  • Dr Francesca Berry
    Lecturer in Art History, Film and Visual Studies
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 3930
  • Dr Amy Brosius
    Lecturer of Musicology
  • Professor Leslie Brubaker
    Professor of Byzantine Art
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 2944
  • Dr Shelley Budgeon
    Senior Lecturer in Political Science and International Studies
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 415 8621
  • Emma Foster
    Lecturer in International Politics and Gender
  • Professor Marie Fox
    Professor of Socio-Legal Studies
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 6323
  • Dr Shelley Godsland
    Senior Lecturer in Hispanic Studies
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 6041
  • Dr Elystan Griffiths
    Senior Lecturer in German
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 6178
  • Dr Deryn Guest
    Senior Lecturer in Biblical Hermeneutics
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 3914
  • Dr Rosie Harding
    Senior Lecturer, Birmingham Law School
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 4960
  • Dr Louise Hardwick
    Lecturer in French Studies
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 5964
  • Dr Matt Houlbrook
    Senior Lecturer in Modern British History
  • Dr Kate Ince
    Reader in French Film and Gender Studies
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 5972
  • Dr Monica Jato
    Senior Lecturer in Hispanic Studies
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 4088
  • Dr Imogen Jones
    Lecturer, Birmingham Law School
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 9038
  • Dr Helen Laville
    Senior Lecturer in American Studies
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 5737
  • Dr Iain Law
    Senior Lecturer in Philosophy
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 8336
  • Dr Elizabeth L'Estrange
    Lecturer in History of Art
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 8042
  • Dr Deborah Longworth
    Senior Lecturer, Department of English
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 7248
  • Dr Miriam Muller
    Lecturer in Medieval History
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 5741
  • Dr Charlotte Ross
    Senior Lecturer in Italian Studies
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 7505
  • Dr Joanne Sayer
    Senior Lecturer in Cultural Theory and German Studies
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 6177
  • Dr Kathryn Simpson
    Senior Lecturer in English
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 415 8219
  • Professor Christine Skelton
    Professor of Gender Equality in Education
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 3474
  • Dr Camilla Smith
    Lecturer in Art History, Film and Visual Studies
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 7568
  • Nicola Smith
    Senior Lecturer in Political Science
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 288 2937
          +44 (0) 121 414 7569
  • Jill Steans
    Senior Lecturer in International Relations Theory
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 6278
  • Dr Nicki Ward
    Lecturer in Applied Social Sciences
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 5713
  • Dr Ruth Whittle
    Lecturer in German Studies
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 5996
  • Professor Heather Widdows
    Head of Research for Philosophy, Theology and Religion
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 8399
  • Dr Jessica Woodhams
    Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology
  • Dr Simon Yarrow
    Lecturer in Medieval History
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 5744

The University has been recognised for its impressive graduate employment, being named ‘University of the Year for Graduate Employment’ in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016.

In addition, the global edition of The New York Times has ranked the University 60th in the world and 9th in UK for post-qualification employability. The rankings illustrate the top 150 universities most frequently selected by global employers and are the result of a survey by French consulting firm Emerging and German consulting firm Trendence.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School. The University also offers a wide range of activities and services to give our students the edge in the job market, including: career planning designed to meet the needs of postgraduates; opportunities to meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs, employer presentations and skills workshops; individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

University of the Year for employability

Birmingham's Modern Languages postgraduates develop excellent communication skills, whilst cultural awareness and foreign language skills are highly sought after by employers. Postgraduates in Modern Languages also have a range of transferable skills including the ability to gather and interpret information, organisational skills and the ability to work well with others. Such skills can be used in a variety of occupations.

Over the past five years, over 94% of Modern Languages postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Some of our language graduates train to become professional linguists such as translators and interpreters. Others graduates enter employment where their language skills may be advantageous but not central to their role - for example, within international organisations, the Civil Service and in the travel and hospitality industry. Employers that graduates have gone on to work for include: Arts and Humanities Research Council; Deloitte; Tate Britain Gallery; University of Manchester; and Zamyn (a communications agency).

Birmingham has been transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Get involved

In addition to the student groups hosted by the Guild of Students, each school runs its own social activities, research fora, seminars and groups for postgraduates.


Coming to Birmingham to study might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

Support in your studies

We offer an Academic Writing Advisory Service, which aims to help your transition to postgraduate research. The service offers guidance on organising your ideas and structuring an argument, referencing and avoiding plagiarism, being clear and coherent and editing your work for academic style and linguistic accuracy. Individual support is provided by a professional academic writing advisor via tutorials or email, as well as through the provision of online materials.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and cultures, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work. Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.