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.

Research interests range from Medieval to Contemporary Italy and include expertise in literary studies, history of art, translation studies, sexuality and gender studies, and cultural studies.

AHRC funding for UK/EU PhD students

The University of Birmingham is part of the Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership (M4C DTP), offering Arts and Humanities Research Council PhD studentships for campus-based programmes across the eight M4C DTP partners. These include a number of Collaborative Doctoral Award opportunities. Each studentship includes full research fees, a substantial maintenance grant and additional research training support. Applications are open until 12pm, 14 January 2019.

Find out more

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, Russian) 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 thesis of up to 40,000 words. In contrast the PhD, the most advanced research degree, leads to a thesis of up to 80,000 words. Both programmes will be supported by expert academic supervision.

Distance learning

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, the programme includes a fully-funded annual visit to campus for each full year of your programme (every two years for part-time students).

For more information on distance learning including answers to frequently asked questions, student experiences and funding opportunities, please see our distance learning website

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.

Why study this course

  • Employability skills: 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.
  • World-leading research: The Department has been recognised for the quality of our research in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF), where 75% of our research was judged to be ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.
  • Interdisciplinary study: 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.
  • Leopardi Centre: 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 networks: 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).

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2019/20 are as follows:

  • UK/EU: £4,320 full-time; £2,160 part-time*
  • International: £17,040 full-time; £8,520 part-time

The same fees apply to both campus-based and distance learning study. The distance learning programme fee also includes a fully-funded visit to campus for each full year of the programme.

The above fees quoted are for one year only; for those studying over two or more years, 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 2019.

Fee status

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

We can also confirm that EU students who are already studying at the University of Birmingham or who have an offer to start their studies in the 2019-20 academic year will continue to be charged the UK fee rate applicable at the time, provided this continues to be permitted by UK law. The UK Government has also confirmed that students from the EU applying to courses starting in the 2019-20 academic year will not see any changes to their loan eligibility or fee status. This guarantee will apply for the full duration of the course, even if the course finishes after the UK has left the EU.

Paying your fees

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

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. 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

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.
  • Applicants for a PhD will also need to hold a Masters qualification at Merit level or above (or its international equivalent).

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, which includes detailed advice on research proposals and how to write them.

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.

Please note: Postgraduate research can start at any time during the year, but it is important to allow time for us to review your application and communicate a decision. If you wish to start in September, we would recommend that you aim to submit your application and supporting documents by the end of June.

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:

  • 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

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.

You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive 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.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: Modern Languages

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 three 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. Other graduates enter employment where their language skills may be advantageous but not central to their role - for example, within international organisations - and some go on to teaching or lecturing positions. Employers that graduates have gone on to work for include: Language Connect; RWS Group; TransPerfect Global Business Solutions; University of Birmingham; University of Cambridge; and University of Oxford.

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

The Guild of Students hosts over 250 student groups and societies to suit a wide range of interests. These include the Postgraduate and Mature Students Association which runs a regular and varied programme of events specifically tailored to postgraduate students.

In addition, you will find that each Department runs its own social activities, research fora and student groups.

Accommodation

We offer accommodation for postgraduates on or near to campus, although many of our students also choose to live privately in student accommodation, shared houses or flats. If you do choose to live in private accommodation, the University has dedicated support services to help you to find properties from accredited landlords.

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.