Modern Languages MPhil, PhD

Modern Languages MPhil, PhD

MPhil - full time: minimum 12 months, part time: minimum 24 months
PhD - full time: minimum 36 months, part time: minimum 72 months


The Modern Languages MPhil and PhD are research-based programmes. You can specialise in topics in the languages of: Chinese, French, German, Japanese and Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American studies. Specialism is also possible in translating and interpreting.

Your programme during COVID-19

Please rest assured we make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the programmes, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption, for example in response to COVID-19.

Further information

Our COVID-19 Study page gives more information about your Newcastle University study experience.

Terms and conditions and student complaints

The University has terms and conditions which create a positive environment for learning and academic achievement.

Given the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the commitments outlined are subject to the guidelines that may be in place at the time.

Recognition of professional qualifications outside of the UK

From 1 January 2021 there is an update to the way professional qualifications are recognised by countries outside of the UK.

Read our detailed explanation.

About this course

The Modern Languages MPhil, PhD is offered through the School of Modern Languages. We offer expert supervision in the following areas:


• Ethnicity, Identity, Islam and Han settler colonialism, with a focus on Xinjiang, China (Dr Jo Smith Finley)

• Film, literature, media and representation (Dr Yu, Prof Qian)

• Modernity and modernisation (Prof Qian)

• Gender Studies (Dr Smith Finley, Dr Yu).



• Contemporary women's writing (Dr Henry-Tierney; Prof Jordan; Dr Robson)

• Linguistics (Dr Hall) and in particular French syntax (Prof Mackenzie)

• Sociolinguistics, language variation, language change (Dr Hall)

• French and Algerian cinema (Prof Austin, Dr Leahy)

• 19th to 21st century French and Francophone literature (Prof Harkness, Prof Jordan, Dr El Maizi)

• Gender studies (Prof Harkness, Dr Henry-Tierney; Prof Jordan; Dr Robson)

• Cultural Gerontology/Ageing Studies (Prof Jordan)

• Postcolonial cultures (Prof Austin, Dr El Maizi)

• Translation (Dr Henry-Tierney)

• Trauma and culture (Prof Austin, Dr Robson)

• Visual culture (Prof Jordan, Dr Jein)

• Urban Humanities: French urban cultures of the modern and contemporary period (Dr Jein)

• 19th and early 20th-century French labour history, especially the role of women (Dr Salin)

• Language learning and teaching in higher education (Dr Salin).


• 20th century German and Contemporary literature (Dr Ludden; Prof Muller, Prof Malkmus)

• GDR literature and censorship (Prof Muller)

• Representations of the Holocaust and/or World War II (Prof Muller)

• Literature and philosophy - cultural and critical theory (Dr Ludden)

• Women's writing (Dr Ludden)

• Morphological theory - morphology, phonology and dialectology of German and Dutch (Dr Fehringer)

• Environmental humanities and the Anthropocene (Prof Malkmus).


• Film, literature, media and representation (Dr Hansen, Dr Yoshioka)

• Popular culture (Dr Hansen, Dr Yoshioka)

• Gender Studies (Dr Hansen).

Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American studies

• Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American cultural history and popular culture (Dr Catalá-Carrasco, Dr Morgan, Dr Oliart, Dr Fehimović, Dr Beleza)

• Historical and contemporary discourses of race and identity in Latin America (Dr Oliart, Dr Morgan, Dr Fehimović, Dr Beleza, Prof Hentschke)

• Spanish American and Spanish Caribbean Latin American film, literature, and theatre (Dr Page, Dr Fehimović)

• Luso-Afro-Brazilian literature and film (Dr Beleza)

• history of education in 19th and 20th-century Latin America (Prof Hentschke, Dr Oliart)

• Youth cultures and social movements, music and politics (Dr Oliart, Dr Beleza)

• Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American novels (Dr Catalá-Carrasco, Dr Beleza)

• Political, social, and intellectual history of Latin America in the 19th and 20th centuries, especially Brazil and the Southern Cone (Prof Hentschke)

• Linguistics, and sociolinguistics of Latin America (Dr Cru)

• Diachronic Spanish syntax, Old Spanish, language change, and quantitative historical linguistics (Prof Mackenzie)

• Catalan nationalism (Dr Catalá-Carrasco)

• Film, literature and popular culture of the Spanish-speaking Caribbean and its diasporas (Dr Fehimović)

• Lusophone environmental Humanities (Dr Beleza).


Translating and Interpreting

We can offer supervision for projects involving English plus Catalan, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Spanish, Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian.

Our research specialisms are:

• Interpreting (Dr Chen, Dr Jin, Dr Wu, Dr Du)

• Psycholinguistics of interpreting and translating (Dr Jin, Dr Lin)

• Sociolinguistics, discourse analysis in translation and interpreting (Dr Du, Dr Hall)

• Linguistic diversity and social justice (Dr Du)

• Translating literature (Prof Jones, Dr Henry-Tierney, Dr Lin)

• Translation and culture (Dr Chen, Prof Jones, Dr Lin)

• Translation and ethics, ideology, and power (Prof Jones, Dr Lin)

• Translation products, processes and strategies (Dr Chen, Dr Jin, Prof Jones, Dr Lin)

• Translator and interpreter training and assessment (Dr Chen, Dr Wu)

• Reflective/autonomous learning and educational psychology (Dr Chen, Dr Wu)

• Audiovisual translation studies (Dr Chen, Dr Henry-Tierney)

• Legal translation and legal and medical interpreting (Dr Du)

• Migration and multilingualism (Dr Du).


Research staff in the School of Modern Languages work in a diverse range of fields from sociocultural, historical and political studies, to film and literature, linguistics and sociolinguistics. The School has strong links with interdisciplinary research centres and groups, including:

Subject to Covid-19 restrictions you may also have the opportunity to attend festivals and conferences with a direct bearing on your course. Past examples have included:

As a student in the School of Modern Languages, you will benefit from the Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS) Faculty research training programme. You will choose these research modules in consultation with your supervisors.

The School of Modern Languages is part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Northern Ireland and North East Doctoral Training Partnership  Through training courses provided by these partnerships, you will gain knowledge and skills to undertake high-quality social science research.


These courses are delivered by the School of Modern Languages, with the possibility of joint supervision with other schools. You will carry out research in order to write a thesis on a topic proposed by you. You will work under supervision of two members of research staff.

Subject to Covid-19 restrictions, you will mainly be based in Newcastle's city-centre campus. Attendance is flexible and agreed between you and your supervisors depending on the requirements of the research project.

Full-time students are typically expected to undertake 40 hours of work per week with an annual holiday entitlement of 35 days (including statutory and bank holidays). Part-time study requires a commitment of at least 20 hours per week.

Student Profile

“I really enjoy the independence of my PhD, the fact that my time is mine to manage, and the ability to travel!”

Elise's student profile

Related Degrees

  • French MLitt

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  • German MLitt

    The German MLitt comprises taught and research-based elements, allowing you to focus in depth on one aspect of German studies. Our research interests cover all aspects of German culture, literature and language from medieval to modern times.

All related programmes

Training & Skills

You will receive a tailored package of support from the University to ensure you maximise your research and future career. There are also opportunities to undertake your research at Newcastle within a Doctoral Training Centre, Centre for Doctoral Training or Doctoral Training Partnership.

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Research Training Programme and Student Support

Our Faculty Research Training Programme is a community made up of postgraduates from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

It is recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as a sound foundation for doctoral studies.

Our aim is for you to develop a broad range of research and project management skills that will support you in your career ahead. Staff and students from across a range of disciplines can come together and share their research experiences. You can also choose to register for a Postgraduate Certificate in Research Training.

You will study in our Doctoral Training Suite, a purpose-built facility for lectures, workshops, seminars and computer access to specialist software. Each year we have two student-led research postgraduate conferences. There are also a variety of prizes and awards to celebrate the successes of our students.

Postgraduate Research Student Support

Our Research Student Support Team will provide support and advice throughout your studies. The team can help you on a variety of issues from registration to producing your transcripts.

Doctoral training centres and partnerships

Being part of a Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) or Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) means that you can benefit from the research expertise and training of a number of leading universities, academic schools and academics. You'll also be studying alongside a cohort of other PhD students.

These centres are often interdisciplinary, combining expertise and training from multiple subject areas. You may also be able to collaborate with an industrial or commercial organisation.

Your PhD will be funded. Normally the fees are covered and you'll receive a tax-free stipend or living expenses. Additional funding is sometimes available to cover things such as conference attendance and research materials.

The centres/ partnerships below may have PhD opportunities available in your subject area.

Fees & Funding

2021-2022 fees

If your studies last longer than one year your fee may be subject to an annual inflationary increase.

The fees displayed here are per year.

MPhil, PhD


Full time: £4,500
Part time: £2,250


Full time: £18,000

EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals

For courses commencing from September 2021 and beyond, EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for home fees or Student Finance England support.

If you are from the EU you will pay international tuition fees.

All students

Find out more about our tuition fees, including how to pay them and available discounts.

Funding opportunities

Entry Requirements

A 2:1 honours degree and normally a good master's degree in a subject related to one of the discipline areas covered by the School of Modern Languages.

Find out the equivalent qualifications for your country.

Use the drop down above to find your country. If your country isn't listed please email: for further information.

English Language Requirements

Select an English language test from the list to view our English language entry requirements.

Please email us at for further information.

If you have lower English Language scores, you may be accepted onto a Pre-sessional English course.

How to Apply

You apply online, track your application and contact the admissions team via our applicant portal. Our step by step guide can help you on your way.

Applications for 2022/23

You'll be able to apply for 2022/23 entry from September 2021

You need to submit a 1,000 word research proposal with your application. Read our guidelines for producing a research proposal (PDF: 41.5KB) from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science Graduate School.

You should discuss your research proposal with a potential supervisor in the School of Modern Languages before you submit your formal application. They will be able to offer you advice on whether we will be able to supervise your proposed topic. A list of our staff and their areas of research expertise is provided on our staff pages.

You also need to include a list of modules and marks for previous degrees. 


If we short-list you, you'll need to attend an interview. We may conduct this via Skype if necessary. The interview will be arranged by your potential supervisory team and will involve a detailed discussion about your research proposal.

Start dates

There are usually two possible start dates, although in some circumstances an alternative start date can be arranged:

  • January
  • September

There is no application closing date for this course, but specific deadlines for funding may apply.

We suggest international students apply at least two months before the course starts. This is so that you have enough time to make the necessary arrangements.


If you are an international student or a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland and you need a visa to study in the UK, you must:

  • pay a deposit of £1,500
  • or submit an official letter of sponsorship

The deposit is payable after you receive an offer to study with us. The deposit is non-refundable, but we will deduct it from your tuition fees when you register.


School of Modern Languages
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5867

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