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Critical and Cultural Theory (PhD/MPhil)

3 years (PhD), 1 year (MPhil) (full-time) / 5 years (PhD), 2 years (MPhil) (part-time) / n/a (distance / e-Learning)

Students on the PhD Critical and Cultural Theory receive supervision from academic staff with a long-standing commitment to excellence and diversity in research, who work at the forefront of pioneering research in critical and cultural theory.

Programme Aims

The PhD programme aims to offer knowledge and expertise to take you on to a role in Higher Education, or employment requiring high-level skills in research or advanced subject knowledge.

Special Features

School Research

‘Positioned at the interface of different traditions, methodologies, theoretical approaches, disciplines and practices, our pioneering research engenders challenging and fascinating questions for our staff and, through our PhD supervision and research-led teaching, also for our students at all levels.’
Professor Alison Wray, Director of Research in the School of English, Communication and Philosophy

The School’s research is recognised internationally for its excellence and was ranked in the top ten for the quality of its English Language and Literature research, including Creative Writing, in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF2014).

Cardiff University has recently joined the world's top 100 universities for the study of English Language & Literature in the 2016 QS World University Rankings. Read in full here.

Research Environment

The School takes the training of research students very seriously, providing the facilities and supervisory guidance to help each student flourish intellectually and work productively. The School has a dedicated suite of PhD research rooms with excellent networked IT facilities. Each student has a travel budget and a contribution to photocopying costs, as well as free printing facilities. We regularly check with students what training they need, and ensure that it is provided. Our PhD students can apply to get teaching experience with us, and our unique ‘Learning to Teach’ programme is accredited by the Higher Education Academy. The School holds a yearly conference to allow PhD students the opportunity to share work with their peers in a supportive and stimulating multi-disciplinary environment. The Arts and Social Studies Library is well-stocked with books and academic journals in all our subject areas, electronic resources, and specialist collections such as Cardiff Rare Books, a rich collection of over 14,000 items ranging from fifteenth-century incunabula to twentieth-century fine press books.

In a competitive jobs market, our students are encouraged and supported in building up the skills that will make them employable, whatever their career direction. We value the rich experience of our many overseas students, and actively attend to their specific needs in relation to their cultural context of study and the demands of writing elegantly in a second language.

Research Areas

We welcome PhD applications in staff specialist areas, such as the following:

Supervisors

More information about staff and their research areas can be found on the School's website.

Student views

Picture of Marija

 

'I found myself part of a vibrant, lively and international cohort of students who made me feel immediately welcome.'

Marija Grech, Year 4

Read Marija's full testimonial

'When I first came to Cardiff University in 2011 to begin a PhD in Critical and Cultural Theory I found myself part of a vibrant, lively and international cohort of students who made me feel immediately welcome. The strength of the Centre for Critical and Cultural Theory lies in the wide ranging expertise and interests of its staff and its doctoral students, many of whom come from different academic backgrounds and have first degrees in a variety of subjects, ranging from Economics to Aesthetic Theory, Literature and Philosophy. Throughout my years of doctoral study this made for very rich and engaging discussions that helped broaden my knowledge and allowed me to view my own research in a new light. Doctoral students at the Centre benefit from numerous staff- and student-led research activities, including many different reading groups, an evening seminar series, various conferences and the weekly PhD workshop where students are able to present and discuss their on-going research with their peers. These workshops were an invaluable asset during the first few of years of my PhD; not only were they of great academic benefit, teaching me how to critique my own work and that of others, they also provided a welcome break from my research and the opportunity to make friends with other students at the Centre.'

Marija Grech, Year 4

'The best thing about CCT is that our topics are diverse in a way that other departments just don’t have.'

ReBecca Compton, Year 1

Read ReBecca's full testimonial

'Studying as an international student allows you to pick up and move your whole life, and this can be super exhilarating, but also super terrifying. Choosing to study at Cardiff Uni was both of these things for me, but now Cardiff is my favourite city that I’ve ever lived in! It’s busy and full of people and life, but it’s not so big that you get wrapped up in the flow of people and can’t enjoy everything Cardiff presents to you. Like the parks. No one does parks like Cardiff!

But you also have to love what you’re doing. The best thing about CCT is that our topics are diverse in a way that other departments just don’t have. I’ve never felt limited in my research since joining this department since new perspectives are constantly presented to me through my supervisor and my peers. All the lecturers and tutors know their subjects backwards and forwards, and even better, they don’t make you feel bad when you don’t. I love the way that I’m guided to my topic rather than told what to think about it. I’m learning to trust myself with my research and that has given me confidence that I didn’t have when I first started my degree.

The department is relatively small, and that’s why it was so easy to get to know my peers—and why we’re all ready to help each other out. When everyone knows each other, we genuinely care. Every time I bring up my subject, the others are engaged in what I have to say and at least one person tells me about a text that I 'have to read'. The school has more resources than I could ever use, but if there’s something more that I need, the school makes sure I’m taken care of.'

ReBecca Compton, Year 1

'One the most interesting aspects of the PhD in Critical and Cultural theory were the student-led workshops we had every week.'

Claudio Celis, graduated in 2015, currently in a post-doctoral position at the University of Santiago in Chile

Read Claudio's full testimonial

'My experience as a PhD student at Cardiff University was great. I met really interesting people and enjoyed being part of an exciting academic environment. I had an excellent supervisor, who gave me all the help and guidance I needed to complete my thesis. One the most interesting aspects of the PhD in Critical and Cultural theory were the student-led workshops we had every week. In these workshops you would not only have to present your work to fellow research students and staff members, but you would also learn a lot from listening to the other students’ challenges, difficulties and eventual solutions to common issues in doctoral research.

Cardiff University provided me with all the necessary facilities to develop my research. The library network works great, and its staff is always willing to help you access any necessary material. There are also many working spaces, including the Graduate Centre, where you find great study areas, IT rooms and plenty of space to socialize with other graduate students.'

Claudio Celis, graduated in 2015, currently in a post-doctoral position at the University of Santiago in Chile

'I chose to pursue my PhD at the Critical and Cultural Theory Centre because I was really impressed by the level of expertise of my supervisors.'

Eiman Kurdi, graduated in 2015, currently Head of General Courses Department, Jeddah College of Advertising, University of Business and Technology

Read Eiman's full testimonial

'The Critical and Cultural Theory Centre at Cardiff University provides a wide range of relevant activities for students including training sessions, workshops, seminars and conferences. I keep a great memory of the classes and of the atmosphere amongst staff. I chose to pursue my PhD at the Critical and Cultural Theory Centre because I was really impressed by the level of expertise of my supervisors. The quality of the professors gives it a high academic level with their constant feedback and support. The research environment is excellent at Cardiff University with a vibrant community.'

Eiman Kurdi, graduated in 2015, currently Head of General Courses Department, Jeddah College of Advertising, University of Business and Technology

Skills Acquired

The School enables students to develop professional discipline-specific skills, and to share work-in-progress, through its fortnightly student-led workshop, with more generic training provided via the research programmes run by the University’s Graduate College. At the end of their candidatures, doctoral students at Cardiff have gained the capacity for independent and innovative critical thinking and possess a rich array of transferable skills. These include: advanced communication in a variety of written and oral contexts; sophisticated analysis of a range of complex research materials; organization and synthesis of findings; assimilation, evaluation and distillation of competing arguments.

Career Prospects

A number of our students go on to careers in Higher Education both in the UK and abroad, taking up positions either as full-time lecturers or postdoctoral fellows. Other typical employment destinations are publishing, journalism, public relations, arts administration, teaching, advertising, the civil service, law and the media.

Entry Requirements

Suitable for graduates in Humanities and Social Sciences. A First or Upper Second class UK honours degree, or equivalent is required.

Students who have not completed an MA or a research training methods course may be asked to audit Theory Modules on the MA English Literature.

The School welcomes applications from students outside the United Kingdom. For non-native speakers of English, an IELTS overall score of 7.5 with at least 7.0 in each sub score is essential.

Note: International students pursuing part-time programmes of study are not eligible for Tier 4 General Student) visas and must have alternative leave to remain in the UK if they intend to study at the University in person.

How to Apply

As well as the online application form, the research proposal and supporting documents, we also require a sample essay of around 4000 words in English written by you on any literary or cultural topic of your choice (something that you have previously submitted for your master’s degree, for instance). You are recommended to email the postgraduate administrator at encap-pg@cardiff.ac.uk with your research proposal and a sample essay prior to making a formal application.

Guidelines for writing a research proposal can be found here.

Funding

The School offer bursaries worth one year of the Home/EU fee on a competitive basis. For more information, please email encap-pg@cardiff.ac.uk.

The deadline for funding for 2016-17 via the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWW-DTP) has now expired. The School welcomes enquiries from applicants who are considering applying for funding for a PhD in Critical and Cultural Theory from the SWW-DTP for 2017-18. Please contact encap-pg@cardiff.ac.uk with your enquiry.

Websites

Below you can find links to social media relating to just some of the School’s activities:

Next intake: The University has four entry points for research degrees: 1 October, 1 January, 1 April, or 1 July

School Contact

Name: ENCAP Postgraduate Admissions  

Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 0322 

Fax:  

Email: encap-pg@cardiff.ac.uk  

School Website: http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/english-communication-philosophy

More information

School of English, Communication and Philosophy

Postgraduate

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