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

Italian Studies at Birmingham has an excellent record in attracting postgraduate students and offers a vibrant postgraduate community that is firmly anchored within the broader context of Modern Languages.

Our doctoral researchers are involved in student-led seminars, discussion groups and networks including ROLES (the postgraduate and sexuality research network), the GCfE (Graduate Centre for Europe), the BCT (Birmingham Centre for Translation) and EMREM (a postgraduate forum for researchers working on Early Medieval, Medieval, Renaissance, Reformation and / or Early Modern topics).

The department is home to the Leopardi Centre, a Leverhulme-funded project on populists in power, an AHRC-funded project on Leopardi's Zibaldone and an AHRC-funded project on ‘Interdisciplinary Italy 1900-2010'. Research interests range from Medieval to Contemporary Italy and include expertise in literary studies, history of art, translation studies, cinema and visual culture studies, politics and media studies and cultural studies.

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.

We welcome applications in the major areas of Italian Studies, and members of staff are always willing to discuss ideas and proposals with those who are thinking of applying.

Profiles of our current Modern Languages doctoral researchers

Why study this course

  • 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.
  • We have been recognised for the quality of our research in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework Exercise, with over 75% of our research judged to be ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.
  • The Department incorporates the subject areas of French Studies, German Studies, Italian Studies, Russian Studies and Hispanic Studies. You can pursue specialist, cross-disciplinary or interdisciplinary postgraduate study in any of these areas and you can also research a wide range of cultural, literary, historical, and socio-political topics related to periods from the Middle Ages to the present day.

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

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

Our research-active staff in Italian Studies conduct and publish work that is nationally and internationally renowned. Indicators of the quality of our research include frequent reviews of our publications, high success rates in grant capture, and regular invitations to talk about our research at UK Universities and abroad.

As well as carrying out individual research, we are involved in international research networks that our postgraduates gain instant access to. We are as committed to supervising our postgraduate students as we are to our own research and invite you to view our staff profiles for possible research topics. For a more general summary of our principal areas of research expertise, see the following list: 

  • Italian cinema; 20th- and 21st-century Italian poetry and narrative; cultural theory, especially theories of conflict, opposition, power and privacy; religion in Italian and European cinema; interdisciplinary practice in Italy since 1900.
    Contact: Dr Clodagh Brook
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 7504
    Email: c.j.brook@bham.ac.uk
  • Autobiography; the work of Giacomo Leopardi; Leopardi in the European context.
    Contact: Dr Franco D'Intino
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5930
    Email: f.dintino@bham.ac.uk
  • Medieval literature especially Dante and Cavalcanti, Italian diachronic linguistics, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
    Contact: Dr Paolo De Ventura
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5935
    Email: p.deventura@bham.ac.uk
  • Renaissance literature and art; chivalric romance, particularly Ariosto; grace and other ‘keywords’ of early modern Europe, the debate about women in early modern Italy, the value of literature as an object of knowledge from early modern Europe to today.
    Contact: Dr Ita Mac Carthy
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5930
    Email: i.maccarthy@bham.ac.uk
  • Literary studies; Cultural studies; Gender and Sexuality studies 19th century, 20th century and contemporary
    Contact: Dr Charlotte Ross
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 7505
    Email: c.e.ross@bham.ac.uk

Related research

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.

Accommodation

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.