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

This PhD in the Department of Modern Languages offers promising candidates the opportunity to carry out research in the field of Translation Studies.

Research strengths include: literary translation and reception; the history of translation; translation stylistics; corpus-based translation studies; translation and language change; adaptation; and genre and translation.

Major funding opportunity for Home/EU applicants to this PhD programme

We are part of the Midlands3Cities consortium, offering up to 89 Arts and Humanities Research Council funded studentships. This includes full research fees, a substantial maintenance grant and additional research training support. Applications are now open. Find out more detailed information on this scheme.

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 Translation Studies doctoral researchers

Why study this course

  • The department celebrated excellent Research Assessment Exercise 2014 results  75% of research at the University of Birmingham for Modern Languages and Linguistics was top 4* rated ‘world-leading’ or  rated 3* ‘internationally excellent’.
  • 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.
  • Our programmes are challenging and rewarding, and offer the opportunity to gain a highly respected qualification. Each of our disciplines is a close-knit community, which attaches great importance to friendly and informal relations between staff and students. There are various social activities and events within each field, including research seminars, symposia, group meals, trips and cultural and sporting events. You will also have the opportunity to present papers and work in progress at the postgraduate-led School Postgraduate Forum and Graduate Centre for Europe.
  • The Birmingham Centre for Translation brings together staff and students from across the College of Arts and Law with research and teaching interests in Translation Studies.

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

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

Dr Hilary Brown: history of translation in Enlightenment Europe; female translators; literary translation, especially the work of ‘author-translators.'

Dr Angela Kershaw: reception of literary translation in the contemporary UK book market; translation and reception of contemporary French fiction about the Second World War and the Holocaust.

Dr Sofia Malamatidou: corpus-based translation studies, translation and language change, scientific translation and textual and intertextual analyses of translated texts.

Dr Gideon Nisbet:  representation of ancient Greece and Rome to reading and viewing publics, particularly in contemporary popular media; the role of translation and non-fiction in explaining antiquity to non-elite audiences.

Dr Pat Odber: a practising translator, teacher and an examiner for Universities in the UK, Ireland and Portugal, as well as the Institute of Linguists, She regularly publishes literary and cultural translations from Portuguese and Spanish.

Dr Natalia Rulyova:  20th Century Russian poetry (Joseph Brodsky's poetry and auto-translations); genre and translation.

Dr Gabriela Saldanha: translator style, reception of literary translations in the UK book market, translation and gender, corpus-based translation studies.

Dr Diana Spencer: Rome’s reception of Greece, including language and genre translation issues; the reception of Rome in the post-Classical world.

Dr Elena Theodorakopoulos: translation/adaptation of classical literature by women writers; the reception of classical literature and myth in contemporary writing by women.

Professor Michael Toolan: stylistic analysis of literary translations. 

Dr Andrew Watts: nineteenth-century French literature and film adaptation; contemporary ‘re-imaginings’ of nineteenth-century literature.

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.

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.