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PhD in English




The English Department offers promising students the opportunity to pursue a PhD with any of its permanent members of staff (professors and maîtres d’enseignement et de recherche, also known as MERs). Currently we have eighteen doctoral students working towards their degrees. There is no doctoral-level course-work so we expect students to have excelled at a high-quality MA program before they arrive and be able to carry out independent research. Advanced training is, however, available to UNIL students through the CUSO-funded Doctoral School in English in Western Switzerland (encompassing the universities of Lausanne, Geneva, Neuchâtel, Fribourg, and Bern) which offers doctoral workshops, seminars and conferences several times a year.

There are several ways to finance a doctorate degree. The English department employs some doctoral students as assistants (5-year research and teaching positions) in the different fields taught in the department. These assistant positions are advertised quite rarely (see job.unil) and are extremely competitive. Other options include self-funding (working part-time as you write). Or applying for funding through the FNS (National Science Foundation). In any case, the first step to inquiring about doctoral study is to talk to a potential supervisor and determine if that person is willing and able to take you on based on a solid research proposal.  We privilege close working conditions with a small group of highly qualified students and many staff members are already working with a full load. When contacting a prospective supervisor by email or post, please send a research proposal and cover letter explaining why that person would be ideal to direct your project. Please be aware that we do not offer financial aid or scholarships so please be prepared to explain how you will fund yourself.

If you have the agreement of a supervisor in the department, you may enroll either in October or February (students without a UNIL degree need to apply in July) and submit a 5-10 page thesis proposal (including bibliography). You will find more administrative and practical information about doctoral study on the Faculty of Arts Decanat webpage.


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