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

Italian Studies at Birmingham has an excellent record in attracting funding and a vibrant postgraduate community. It is home to: the Leopardi Centre; a Leverhulme-funded project on populists in power; an AHRC-funded project on Leopardi's Zibaldone; an AHRC networking grant, ‘Interdisciplinary Italy 1900-2010'; an annual Birmingham–Warwick postgraduate symposium; and, since 2008, has held a student-led Italian seminar series.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Distance learning, doctoral research

Study Options: Full time, part time

Duration: PhD – 3 years full-time; 6 years part-time, MA by Research – 1 year full-time; 2 years part-time

Start date: January or September


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.

(Read Patrizia’s experience: English| Italian)

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

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2015/16 are currently as follows:

  • Home / EU £4,052 full-time; £2,026 part-time
  • Overseas: £13,195 full-time; £6,597.50 part-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.

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments.

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

Learn more about postgraduate tuituion fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To be eligible for these awards, candidates must hold either an offer of a place to study or have submitted an application to study at the University. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

Entry requirements

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

Research interests of staff

  • Italian politics, Italian media, political communication, populism and neo-nationalism in Europe.
    Contact: Dr Daniele Albertazzi
  • 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
  • The Age of Romanticism in Italy; the reception of Dante in the 19th century; 20th-century fiction; critical theory in Italy; the relation between oral and written literature; the work of Umberto Eco.
    Contact: Professor Michael Caesar
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5931
  • Autobiography; the work of Giacomo Leopardi; Leopardi in the European context.
    Contact: Dr Franco D'Intino
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5930
  • Medieval literature and Italian diachronic linguistics.
    Contact: Dr Paolo De Ventura
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5935
  • Renaissance literature; the relation between literature and the visual arts; chivalric romance, particularly Ariosto; the concept of grazia; the debate about women in the Renaissance; contemporary women's writing.
    Contact: Dr Ita Mac Carthy
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5930
  • Literary studies; Cultural studies; Gender and Sexuality studies 19th century, 20th century and contemporary
    Contact: Dr Charlotte Ross
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 7505

Related research


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).