The Department of Italian has a strong commitment to excellence in both teaching and research. We promote a vigorous research culture in a cooperative and positive atmosphere, which enables postgraduate research projects and the research of staff to thrive.

The department pursues the study of Italian culture in an interdisciplinary context, which challenges traditional parameters of the discipline to advance knowledge in our areas of expertise. We currently have particular strengths in the literature, visual culture and cultural history of modern and contemporary Italy, and in the literary and cultural history of the medieval period.

Programme structure

MPhil: a standalone, one-year (full-time) research degree. Students will undertake their own research project, concluding in the submission of a 25,000-word dissertation. Students may have the option to audit units from our taught master's programmes if they are relevant to their research.

PhD: a research project undertaken across three to four years (full time), culminating in an 80,000-word thesis. As well as having the option to audit taught units, there may be the potential for PhD students themselves to participate in teaching from their second year of study onwards.

The MPhil and PhD can be studied via distance learning.

Entry requirements

MPhil: An upper second-class degree or international equivalent. Please note, acceptance will also depend on evidence of your readiness to pursue a research degree.

PhD: A master's qualification, or be working towards a master's qualification, or international equivalent. Applicants without a master's qualification may be considered on an exceptional basis, provided they hold a first-class undergraduate degree (or international equivalent). Applicants with a non-traditional background may be considered provided they can demonstrate substantial equivalent and relevant experience that has prepared them to undertake their proposed course of study.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Go to admissions statement

If English is not your first language, you will need to reach the requirements outlined in our profile level C.

Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Fees and funding

UK: full-time
£4,758 per year
UK: part-time
£2,379 per year
Overseas: full-time
£20,700 per year

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to an 8% increase in fees each year.

More about tuition fees, living costs and financial support.

Alumni discount

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a 25% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni discount.

Funding for 2024/25

The University of Bristol is part of the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWW DTP), which will be offering studentships for September 2024. For information on other funding opportunities, including University-funded studentships, please see the Faculty of Arts funding pages.

Further information on funding for prospective UK and international postgraduate students.

Career prospects

Many graduates from this programme develop careers in higher education or work on high-level research projects in fields relating to their studies. Others take their in-depth understanding of historical, literary and visual cultures into a host of other professions, such as translation, journalism, publishing and the cultural industries.

The advanced critical and professional skills developed at postgraduate level, alongside skills in research and communicating research, also prepare our graduates for a diverse range of careers, from the civil service and law to commerce and the media.

Meet our supervisors

The following list shows potential supervisors for this programme. Visit their profiles for details of their research and expertise.


Research groups

The department has two broad areas of research expertise:

  • Modern and Contemporary Italian Literature, Film and Cultural History, including contemporary Italian history; Italian fascism; memory studies; sports history and culture; the history of psychiatry; modern and contemporary literature, film and culture; Naples and the urban imaginary; representations of political violence and terrorism; women's studies; visual culture and film; film stars and performance; Italian popular cinema; masculinity studies; the reception of Italian film in post-war culture.
  • Medieval and Early Modern Italian Literature and Cultural History, including Dante; Boccaccio; medieval and Renaissance Italian culture; early lyric poetry; the reception of Boccaccio; modern literary appropriations of Dante; the history of the book.

Every member of the department participates in the research clusters of the Faculty of Arts and the School of Modern Languages. Staff in the department play an active role in the Centre for Medieval Studies; Bristol Common Press; Screen Research; Centre for Creative Technologies; and Bristol Hub for Gambling Harms.

Members of staff are or have been recently involved in various major projects, including the large-scale Film Studios: Infrastructure, Culture, Innovation in Britain, France, Germany and Italy, 1930-60 (STUDIOTEC), funded by the European Research Council; Naples and the Nation: Image, Media and Culture in the Second Republic, and The Renaissance Decameron, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council; and Blood and Power: A History of Italian Fascism, and Dante and the Idea of Italy, funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

Other major projects include AHRC-funded research into Italian cinema audiences and stars in the 1940s and 1950s, and a Wellcome Trust project on radical psychiatry in Italy in the 1960s and 1970s. Colleagues are also deeply involved in the promotion of scholarship in Italian studies, institutionally, nationally and internationally.

Postgraduate students are fully integrated into the research culture of the department and participate in our programme of colloquia, workshops and lectures. You may also benefit from the department's strong research links with universities in Italy, especially Naples and Bologna.

Contact us


Faculty of Arts Postgraduate Research Admissions

+44 (0) 117 428 2296
Rhiannon Daniels, Head of Subject, Italian
+44 (0) 117 455 4632