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German PhD (option of joint PhD with Stuttgart or Humboldt University)

  Faculty of Arts & Humanities

About the Programme

About German PhD

Our current research students work mainly in cultural and historical studies from the Middle Ages to the present day, including literary studies, film and cinema studies; theatre studies; literary and cultural theory; and the history of ideas. In the field of literary and cultural studies, applications are welcome from students with interests in the study of nation, identity and memory; gender; realism and modernism; the classical tradition; and comparative literature and performance.

The Department's links with European Studies also provide an important focus for research on migrant communities; post-1945 political movements; gender and politics; international relations; European identities and German history.

Most recent REF rankings: Research in French, German and Spanish - research impact rated 87.5% at ‘world leading’ (4*) or ‘internationally excellent’ (3*) and at 100% for ‘world leading’ (4*) research environment (REF 2021).

Research income: Over £1m since 2001.

Current number of academic staff: 11 permanent (all research active).

Current number of research students: 21.


Our PhD programme has grown in recent years to become one of the largest and dynamic in the UK with a really diverse range of postgraduate students working in all kinds of areas.

We offer a range of distinct PhD programmes, including joint programmes that offer unique opportunities for co-supervision in the UK and Germany. The MPhil/PhD in German is based at King’s College London, and leads to a PhD from King’s College. Our Joint-PhDs with the Humboldt University of Berlin or the University of Stuttgart involve at least one year at our partner institutions in Berlin or Stuttgart, and lead to a Joint-PhD conferred by both institutions.

Course study environment

As a research student, you will have designated primary and secondary supervisors, and most students will see their supervisor at least every two weeks during the first year of research. We will monitor your progress through termly written reports and annual reviews. You will be strongly encouraged to attend research seminars and reading groups in the department and beyond, and will have opportunities to present your research. We offer a dedicated study space for our postgraduate research students on the fifth floor of our Virginia Woolf building.

Postgraduate training

The department organises individual training for graduate students, tailored to their specific needs. All postgraduate research students in the department attend a regular graduate research seminar that provides a forum to discuss practical, methodological and theoretical issues relating to their research. Students also participate in a full programme of training events run under the auspices of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) doctoral training partnership, the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP) (

Joint PhDs

The Joint-PhD is an innovative integrated programme that offers unique opportunities for the very best PhD supervision in a pan-European context. The programmes offered provide candidates with the opportunity to divide their PhD study between two prestigious universities enjoying full supervision at both. The programme builds on an extensive network of existing institutional links, joint teaching experience and collaborative graduate programmes between King's and the partner universities.

Joint PhD with the Humboldt University, Berlin

The programme builds on an extensive network of existing institutional links, joint teaching experience, emerging research collaborations, and collaborative graduate programmes between King's and the Humboldt. Current and recent research projects include studies on Queer Theory, the Modernist Novel, female sexuality in medieval writing, and multilingual German literature.

Joint PhD with the University of Stuttgart

This well-established PhD programme leads to the award of a Joint PhD. It provides candidates with the opportunity to divide their PhD study between two prestigious universities, and to access resources at partner institutions including the German Literature Archive in Marbach and the Institute for the History of Medicine of the Robert Bosch Foundation. Recent and current research projects include the internationalisation of satire in Early Modern texts; history, translation and poetics in early 20th-century texts.

Free language tuition at King's

All research students in any discipline at King's can take a module from a choice of over 25 languages with the Modern Language Centre without any additional cost. 

More information found here.

Funding Notes

Find out more information about fees on our course web page on the King’s website

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