Italy is a cornerstone of European culture and provides a controversial and stimulating area of study in the modern period. A PhD in Italian enables you to undertake a substantial piece of supervised research in the subject that makes an original contribution to knowledge and is worthy of publication.
A PhD, also known as a doctorate, is a requirement for a career as an academic or researcher. In addition, it has become a qualification valued by many employers who recognise the skills and commitment a PhD requires. Employers also recognise that a PhD indicates excellent research capabilities, discipline and communication skills.
Over the duration of the PhD, you produce an original piece of research of up to 100,000 words, in English or Italian. Previous research theses have included ‘Elements of Magic(al) Realism: Deledda, Bontempelli, Banti’, ‘A Clinic of Lack: Franco Basaglia, Biopolitics and the Italian Psychiatric Reform’, ‘Italo Calvino and Pier Vittorio Tondelli: Love in Post World War Italy’ and ‘Anna Banti and the (Im)possibility of Love’.
The Department of Modern Languages offers supervision from world-class academics with expertise in a wide range of disciplines, able to support and guide you through your research. The main areas of research are early twentieth-century avant-garde literature, twentieth-century poetry, psychoanalytic literary criticism, the intersection of literature and photography, Italian biopolitical thought, and the cultural history of psychiatry and the Italian anti-psychiatric movement. Your progress is carefully monitored to ensure that you are on track to produce a thesis valued by the academic community. Throughout your programme, you are able to attend and contribute to research seminars, workshops, and research and transferable skills training courses.
You may be eligible for a fully-funded PhD scholarship to support your studies with us. The PhD in Italian at Kent can be funded through the Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) scheme, or through the Consortium for the Humanities and the Arts South-East England (CHASE) collaborative doctoral partnerships. Please indicate in your application if you want to be considered for any of these programmes, and explain your eligibility for the chosen scheme. For the full list of scholarships available within the School, please see our postgraduate scholarship page.
For the full list of ongoing and completed projects in the department, see our postgraduate research page.
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, modern languages and linguistics was ranked 3rd for research quality, 3rd for research output and in the top 20 for research intensity, research impact and research power in the UK.
Our submission was the highest ranked nationally to include modern languages – a testament to our position as the UK’s European university. An impressive 100% of our research was judged to be of international quality and the School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.
A postgraduate degree in the area of Italian studies is a valuable and flexible qualification that can open the door to exciting careers. Our graduates have gone on to work as lecturers and language instructors at UK and overseas universities.
About Italian at Kent
Kent offers an ideal environment for the postgraduate study of modern Italian society, literature and thought, within a broadly European context. With the research interests of staff covering the modern period, postgraduates can also benefit from the Italian studies interdisciplinary research seminar series and the activities of the newly established Centre for Critical Thought, both co-ordinated by the Department, which includes lectures by prestigious guest speakers. The Department is also running a PhD co-tutelle programme with the Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane (SUM), one of the leading research institutions in Italy.
The Templeman Library has excellent holdings in all our areas of research interest, with particular strengths in modern Italian literature and culture. In addition, the School of European Culture and Languages (SECL) provides high-quality facilities in IT, with state-of-the-art language laboratories, dedicated technical staff and designated areas for postgraduate study. Italian television channels can be viewed, and language-learning and translation facilities include eight all-purpose teaching rooms and two networked multimedia laboratories. The University of Kent’s location is ideal for students who want to visit not only the British Library in London, but also the major libraries and research centres on the European mainland.
A significant number of native speakers of European languages follow our courses and several European exchange students stay on to do graduate work. We can assist with language training needs for overseas postgraduates, particularly where English is concerned, and are also involved in the Erasmus and Tempus networks.
All postgraduate students in SECL have the opportunity to undertake a Researcher Development Programme provided by the Graduate School. The School provides training workshops for postgraduate students with teaching responsibilities, which bring together students from all its subject areas. Research students gain further academic experience by giving research talks in the Centre for Critical Thought series and attending national and international conferences.
Conferences and seminars
We encourage all of our postgraduate students to get involved in conferences, by attending, contributing or organising them. Furthermore, Italian postgraduate students are currently editors of the journal Skepsi (founded and run by postgraduate SECL students). Regular research seminars help to bring postgraduates together as a community, as well as to introduce them to visiting speakers from outside the University.
Dynamic publishing culture
Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: Italian Studies; The Italianist; Angelaki, Modern Language Review; Revue Internationale de Philosophie; Film-Philosophy; and aut aut.
Researcher Development Programme
Kent's Graduate School co-ordinates the Researcher Development Programme for research students, which includes workshops focused on research, specialist and transferable skills. The programme is mapped to the national Researcher Development Framework and covers a diverse range of topics, including subject-specific research skills, research management, personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking and teamworking, and career management skills.
A first or upper-second class BA honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject, and a distinction or merit in an MA programme or equivalent in a relevant subject.
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, and professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country.
English language entry requirements
The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Need help with English?
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
The research strengths within Italian lie at the intersection of critical thought and literary theory. Research at Kent is consciously conceived as interdisciplinary.
We encourage you to contact us to discuss your plans at an early stage of your application.
Centre for Critical Thought
Founded on the shared interest in continental philosophy of colleagues in KLS, POLIR, and SECL (Italian), and drawing on related research of staff from other Schools across the Faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Centre for Critical Thought (CCT) aims to consolidate, sustain and develop research being carried out at the cutting edge of the broad area of critically-oriented theory. CCT is an interdisciplinary venture and involves staff with expertise in modern European philosophy, political thought, critical legal theory, psychoanalytic theory, social anthropology, film and drama theory.
Centre for Modern European Literature
Many of the most significant European writers and literary movements of the modern period have traversed national, linguistic, and disciplinary borders. Co-directed by members of Comparative Literature, French, and German, the Centre for Modern European Literature aims to promote collaborative interdisciplinary research that can do justice to these kinds of border crossing. Ranging across English, French, German, Italian and Spanish literature, the Centre focuses in particular on the European avant-garde, European modernism and postmodernism, literary theory, the international reception of European writers, and the relations between modern European literature and the other arts, including painting, photography, film, music and architecture. The Centre’s activities include a lecture and seminar series and the regular organisation of conferences. It also works with the editors of the postgraduate journal Skepsi, and runs the MA in Modern European Literature.
Staff research interests
Kent’s world-class academics provide research students with excellent supervision. The academic staff in this school and their research interests are shown below. You are strongly encouraged to contact the school to discuss your proposed research and potential supervision prior to making an application. Please note, it is possible for students to be supervised by a member of academic staff from any of Kent’s schools, providing their expertise matches your research interests. Use our ‘find a supervisor’ search to search by staff member or keyword.
Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.
Dr Francesco Capello: Lecturer in Italian
Turn-of-the-century Italian literature and culture; 20th-century Italian poetry; psychoanalysis applied to the humanities.View Profile
Dr Alvise Sforza Tarabochia: Lecturer in Italian
Italian biopolitical thought; Italian mental health care; medical humanities in Italian studies.View Profile
Dr Deborah Holmes: Senior Lecturer in German
Biography; Austrian studies; late-19th and early- 20th-century German literature; Italian anti-fascist writing; feuilleton journalism, women’s writing.View Profile
Dr Alexander Marlow-Mann: Lecturer in Italian
Italian cinema, modern Italian culture and translation.View Profile
The 2018/19 annual tuition fees for Home/EU PG Research programmes have not yet been set by the Research Councils UK. This is ordinarily announced in March.
General additional costs
Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both: