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Applying: PhD

king's college

PhD Study at MMLL

PhD study is offered in each of the Faculty's Sections: French, German & Dutch, Italian, Slavonic Studies, Spanish & Portuguese, Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, and also in the Centre for Film and Screen Studies.


Please refer to the relevant Section/Centre website:


Current PhD Students 

You can find lists of our current PhD students by clicking on the links below:


PhD Research

A PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) is a substantial piece of original scholarship, for which the research and writing-up can be reasonably expected to be completed in three to four years (or for part-time students, where this is offered, five to seven years).  In MMLL the maximum word limit is 80,000 words. For the purposes of a PhD, the notion of originality means that the thesis should represent a significant contribution to learning, through the discovery of new knowledge, or through the connection of previously unrelated facts, or the development of new theory, or the revision of older views, or some combination of these different criteria. 

During the period of research, students will  work closely with a Supervisor who is a specialist in their research area. Students are additionally assigned an Advisor who acts as a second point of contact for academic advice. In addition to providing specialist supervision, the Faculty runs a programme of professional training for the benefit of all research students.


Please see the central prospectus for the exact requirements (you will need to search for the particular PhD course you are interested in).​  It is noted that language skills in a particular area may be required depending on the specific nature of your research proposal.

How to Apply & Funding

You can apply online at the Postgraduate Admissions website.  Their site also provides detail on the course structure and content, fee rates, information on the College system, and information regarding the application process. 

Please find further information regarding applications and funding on our Applying and funding page and our Applying: PhD page.

Supporting Documents

When you apply online you will be asked to upload your supporting documents:

  • Academic transcripts for any degree-level courses you have taken.
  • Evidence of your English ability (if you are not a native English speaker).
  • A sample of writing, of approx 5,000-10,000 words. The sample can be either an essay produced during master's-level studies or a section of a dissertation, and must be a single-authored work. 
  • A research proposal, approx 500-1,000 words, written in English.
  • Your curriculum vitae (CV).

In the applications portal you will be asked to enter details of your nominated referees. They will then be sent an automated email asking them to provide an electronic reference via the applications portal. It is recommended that you allow several weeks before the application/funding deadline to allow time for this process.

Further information on supporting documents can be found on the Postgraduate Admissions website.

Finding a Prospective Supervisor

All students who are admitted to the Faculty will be assigned a Supervisor to work with them and support them in their research. It is recommended that applicants informally approach a potential Supervisor to discuss their proposed research project in advance of applying. Students are encouraged to consult the Faculty's Academic staff pages within the relevant Section/Centre to help identify a suitable potential supervisor. When completing their online application for admission, applicants should nominate a Supervisor with whom they wish to work, and the Faculty will take into account this preference. However please note that this does not guarantee that the Supervisor will be appointed. In June/July each year the MMLL Degree Committee will monitor the supervision load for each member of academic staff in the faculty and in some cases may decide to appoint another suitable Supervisor.

Please try to avoid sending your proposal to more than one staff member at the same time. If you have already sent your proposal to a staff member, please state this in messages to any other staff.

Consideration of Applications

Applicants who apply for US Gates funding by the October funding deadline may normally expect to receive an admissions decision in December.  All other applicants who apply by the funding deadline in January may normally expect to receive a decision before the end of March, and the majority of offers are made in February and March.  Following the funding deadlines, applications are processed on a rolling basis and applicants may normally expect a decision within 12 weeks following the submission of their completed application and required supporting documents.  Occasionally, applicants may not receive a decision within the normal timeframe due to being placed on a reserve list.  If this is the case then the Faculty will be in touch to let applicants know.  Normally the latest date for decisions to be communicated is the end of June.

Consortium in Latin American Cultural Studies 

If you are applying to the Section of Spanish and Portuguese and wish to work on any topic within Latin American literary, visual, or cultural studies, you may wish to read about the new Consortium in Latin American Cultural Studies for PhD students.