A row of empty old blackened pews.

Reconstructing Coventry Early Modern Grammar School

Eligibility: UK/International (including EU) graduates with the required entry requirements

Funding details: Bursary plus tuition fees (UK/International (including EU) at international rates from Sept 21)

Duration: Full-Time – Three and a half years fixed term

Application deadline: 20 October 2022

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: January 2023

To find out more about the project, please contact Dr Alice Leonard.


The Trailblazer PhD studentships have been devised and developed by leading early-career researchers at Coventry University.

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Project Introduction

Coventry University and the Herbert Art Gallery are pleased to announce a fully-funded PhD scholarship to recover the library and cultural history of Coventry’s early modern grammar school.

Founded in 1545, Coventry’s original grammar School building still stands in the heart of the city centre. The School housed a library of national significance, yet it has never been systematically studied. The successful applicant will use archival and historical methodologies to reveal the story of the School.

Project Details

Working closely with Coventry Archives and Cambridge University Library, the doctoral candidate will apply palaeographical and bibliographical skills to investigate the extensive sources from the School. These include early modern books that were held by the library and now reside in Coventry Archives, as well as a catalogue and donors’ book from the seventeenth century. The successful applicant will communicate the newly-discovered significance of the School to the public using multiple platforms, contributing to the exciting national focus on Coventry heritage as part of the City of Culture 2021. This dissemination will take the form of a digital humanities project, working with the original books from the library, the catalogues, and the school building. Experience in digital humanities is desirable but not essential.


Tuition Fees

UK/International student rates


£15,609 per year

Additional allowances

Personal training budget of up to £2850


To augment their existing skills in reading early modern handwriting, the successful candidate will complete the year-long Palaeography course at the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance, (Warwick). They will also complete a one-week intensive training course at Rare Book School (Virginia, US), in handling early modern books.

At the Centre for Arts, Memory and Communities, the doctoral researcher will become a member of the Early Career Network, embedding them with more than thirty high-quality doctoral researchers. They will have the opportunity to participate in CAMC's Coventry Premoderns research cluster, and in the Cultural Memory research strand. This collaborative and interdisciplinary research agenda will support the project, particularly its emphasis on heritage and regional partnerships.

The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills. They will join the network of researchers at the Doctoral College and receive high-quality training and career development activities from the Centre for Research Capability and Development. 

Candidate Specification

  • A bachelor’s (honours) degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum classification of 2:1 and a minimum mark of 60% in the project element (or equivalent), or an equivalent award from an overseas institution.
  • the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within 3.5 years
  • An adequate proficiency in English must be demonstrated by applicants whose first language is not English.  The general requirement is a minimum overall IELTS Academic score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each of the four sections, or the TOEFL iBT test with a minimum overall score of 95 with a minimum of 21 in each of the four sections.

Additional Requirements

Ideally, applicants will hold a 1st class or high 2:1 degree and an MA with merit or distinction (or international equivalent) in English Literature or a related field.

How to Apply

We particularly welcome applications from women candidates, and candidates from minority ethnic backgrounds. It may be possible to take up the scholarship on a part-time basis. To find out more about the project or have an informal discussion about making an application, please contact Dr Alice Leonard at alice.leonard@coventry.ac.uk.

All applications require full supporting documentation, a CV, and a supporting statement demonstrating how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.

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