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  21st century literary representations of love and relationships in works with themes of disabilities, long-term illness or neurodivergence

   School of Humanities

   Thursday, October 31, 2024  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The primary objective of this PhD project is to research the interaction in literature of love and relationships with themes of disabilities, ill-health or neurodivergence. You will build a 21st century corpus in which authors with and/or without these characteristics feature.

This project can be limited to English-language texts, potentially from one country to capture the national discourse, societal structures and health inequalities locally, or it can be designed as a comparative project with German-language or Finnish texts. Other language combinations may be possible depending on the availability of co-supervisors.

Furthermore, there is scope for an element of participatory research in working with community groups on creative expression of the research themes.

The lead supervisor Michael Gratzke is professor of comparative literature and a world-leading researcher into love and relationships. He has published extensively on love in literature from the 18th century to the present. He has previously worked with community groups using creative writing and practice-as-research methods to examine complex emotions.

For informal enquiries about the project, contact Professor Michael Gratzke ()

For general enquiries about the University of Dundee, contact

Our research community thrives on the diversity of students and staff which helps to make the University of Dundee a UK university of choice for postgraduate research. We welcome applications from all talented individuals and are committed to widening access to those who have the ability and potential to benefit from higher education.


Applicants must have obtained, or expect to obtain, a UK honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent for non-UK qualifications), and/or a Masters degree in a relevant discipline. For international qualifications, please see equivalent entry requirements here:

English language requirement: IELTS (Academic) overall score must be at least 7.0 (with not less than 7.0 in reading, listening, speaking or writing). The University of Dundee accepts a variety of equivalent qualifications; please see full details of the University’s English language requirements here:


Step 1: Email Professor Michael Gratzke () to (1) send a copy of your CV and (2) discuss your potential application and any practicalities (e.g. suitable start date).

Step 2: After discussion with Professor Gratzke, formal applications can be made via our direct application system. When applying, please follow the instructions below:

Candidates must apply for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in English: English and creative writing : Study : University of Dundee

Please select the study mode (full-time/part-time) and start date agreed with the lead supervisor.

In the Research Proposal section, please:

-       Enter the lead supervisor’s name in the ‘proposed supervisor’ box

-       Enter the project title listed at the top of this page in the ‘proposed project title’ box

In the ‘personal statement’ section, please outline your suitability for the project selected.

Languages, Literature & Culture (21) Sociology (32)

Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for tuition fees and living expenses, via external sponsorship or self-funding.

Register your interest for this project

Where will I study?

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