Hispanic Studies PhD/MA by Research (On-Campus or by Distance Learning)

We offer promising candidates the opportunity to carry out research in a vibrant and diverse postgraduate community.

Research activity in Hispanic Studies spans medieval to modern, embracing the history, literatures and cultures of Spain, Catalonia, the Hispanic Caribbean, Spanish America, Portugal and Brazil. It also encompasses the disciplines of Linguistics, Translation Studies and Cinema.

Professor Francis Lough

Professor Francis Lough

“Birmingham has a very long standing tradition of modern languages, with superb facilities, a fantastic campus and a very vibrant department of modern languages. Each of the individual language sections (Arabic, French, German, Hispanic Studies, Italian) has its own particular identity while colleagues also work closely across languages in different areas of teaching and research.”

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.

Profiles of our current Modern Languages doctoral researchers

Why study this course

  • The department celebrated excellent Research Assessment Exercise 2014 results, where over 75% of research at the University of Birmingham for Modern Languages and Linguistics was top 4* rated ‘world-leading’ or  rated 3* ‘internationally excellent’.
  • Postgraduate students in Modern Languages are fully supported to achieve their goals. They have access to excellent training facilities and opportunities to participate in  research seminars  and other activities as a means of developing their confidence as researchers and acquiring a broad range skills and knowledge.
  • 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.
  • Hispanic Studies students may have opportunities to become involved with the Galician Review, a peer-reviewed journal published annually by the Centre for Galician Studies in association with Queen’s College, Oxford and with assistance from the Xunta de Galicia.

Fees and funding

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

  • Home / EU £4,110 full-time; £2,055 part-time*
  • Overseas: £13,680 full-time

For part-time students, the above fee quoted is for year one only and tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.

* For UK/EU postgraduate research students the University fee level is set at Research Council rates and as such is subject to change. The final fee will be announced by Research Councils UK in spring 2016.

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 tuituion fees and funding.

Entry requirements

A good upper second-class degree in Spanish (Single or Joint Honours), or the equivalent, is usually required.

Learn more about entry requirements

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

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

The following summary indicates our principal areas of research expertise. Please view our staff profiles for further possible research topics.

Hispanic Caribbean and Latin-American literature; gender and post-colonial studies. 

Contact: Dr Conrad James - Tel: +44 (0)121 414 6037; Email: c.m.james.1@bham.ac.uk

The invention of America in the Spanish culture of the exile of 1939; women's personal narratives; 19th- and 20th-century Spanish literature; modern Spanish poetry. 

Contact: Dr Mónica Jato - Tel: +44 (0)121 414 6035;  Email: m.jato@bham.ac.uk

20th-century Hispanic narrative; the avant-garde novel of the 1920s; the social novel of the 1930s; Spanish Civil War Literature; Spanish republican exile; María Zambrano. 

Contact: Professor Frank Lough (Head of Department) - Tel: +44 (0)121 414 6034; Email: f.lough@bham.ac.uk

Catalan poetry and narrative; literature of exile; comparative literature. 

Contact: Dr Elisenda Marcer - Tel: +44 (0)121 414 4467; Email: e.marcer@bham.ac.uk

Portuguese literature in English translation; the anthology in Portugal; the Uruguayan short story; advertising language; translation studies. 

Contact: Dr Patricia Odber de Baubeta - Tel: +44 (0)121 414 6031; Email: p.a.odber-de-baubeta@bham.ac.uk

Spanish cinema

Professor Rob Stone - Email: r.stone@bham.ac.uk

Textual editing; medieval chronicles; comparative philology; Hispanic linguistics. 

Contact: Dr Aengus Ward - Tel: +44 (0)121 414 7237; Email: a.m.m.ward@bham.ac.uk

Golden Age literature and culture; drama and theatre in early modern Europe. 

Contact: Dr Jules Whicker - Tel: +44 (0)121 414 6033; Email: j.whicker@bham.ac.uk 

The University of Birmingham has been ranked 8th in the UK and 60th in the world for post-qualification employability in the latest global survey of universities commissioned by the International Herald Tribune.

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.

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.

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.