School of Humanities and Performing Arts

MPhil/PhD History

Take the opportunity to pursue an individual research project of your choosing full-time or part-time, with expert guidance and personal supervision from a member of our history team.

Our academics have an established tradition of internationally recognised research excellence in the fields of social and cultural history, political and diplomatic history, and military, maritime and naval history. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, 97.6% of the History team’s research outputs (primarily books and journal articles) were considered to be internationally recognised in terms of significance, originality and rigour.

Course details

  • Overview
  • This full time or part time doctoral programme is suitable for people who have a particular research question or topic in mind, and wish to explore this through independent study in order to produce an original contribution to the subject. If you aspire to a research career this is the most appropriate research degree to undertake.

    You will be guided by a small supervisory team of academic experts under the direction of a Director of Studies. Even if you already have a masters degree, you will normally be registered as a ‘MPhil/PhD’ candidate and may apply to transfer to ‘PhD’ status around 10–22 months after registration, based on your progress to date.

    You will be expected to fully engage with skills development and training and to present your research in a range of scholarly contexts.

    Your PhD will be assessed via submission of either a written thesis (approximately 80,000 words), or one that combines critical writing with artistic, creative and/or professional practice, and a viva voce (an oral examination).

    For full details of what doing a PhD entails at the University of Plymouth, please visit our Postgraduate Research Degrees pages.

    Core modules
    • GSRHIST4 Research History

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

Masters degree or equivalent from a UK higher education institution in a relevant subject.  

 If you do not have a masters level qualification, we recommend you consider applying for our ResM History. Students who are making exceptional progress in a ResM programme, may progress directly into our PhD programme without having to complete the masters.

Applicants normally have to supply a research proposal, personal statement, and occasionally evidence that they are prepared to undertake the proposed project. This may include a portfolio, or a sample of critical writing, depending on their area of study.

Other UK or overseas qualifications may also be accepted – with academic reference

For more general guidelines and application requirements, please visit the research degrees applicants page.

Fees, costs and funding

Please visit tuition fees for postgraduate research for information about fees. This course is in Band 1 for fees purposes.

If you are a full time student, you will pay full time fees for three years. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional one year writing up period.

If you are a part time student, you will pay part time fees for four years. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional 'writing up' period of up to two years.

You are responsible for meeting all of the costs related to your own research project, beyond the resources available in the department.

Please visit our postgraduate research money matters page to find out more about issues related to fees, funding, loans and paying for your programme of study.

How to apply

In addition to completing the online application form (which includes space for a personal statement), you must also upload a research project proposal of no more than 1000 words in total. Your research proposal should outline your general topic, your key aims and the research question/problem you are addressing, your proposed methodology, key definitions/thinkers/discourses/practitioners you are drawing upon and an explanation of why this topic is significant or important.

Your personal statement should briefly explain why you have chosen to apply to our programme and what you feel you can offer our research community.

You will also need to submit a sample of your critical writing (3000 words maximum) and, if relevant, evidence of your ability to undertake the practice-led research you are proposing (e.g. a DVD, portfolio, links to website, reviews, catalogue, etc.). It should take no longer than 30 minutes to view all the visual material that you provide.

For more general guidelines and application requirements, please visit the research degrees applicants page.

History: research specialisms

The History research group at Plymouth has an established tradition of internationally recognised research excellence in the fields of social and cultural history, political and diplomatic history, and military, maritime and naval history.

Explore our research specialisms and select one that ignites your interest and discover more about the history team members that supervise research in this area. 

Learn more about our staff their research and professional interests. 

We particularly welcome doctoral research in the following areas:

  • Early modern British and French history
  • British maritime, naval and military history
  • British and Irish social, cultural and political history
  • Twentieth-century political history of the USA
  • Modern world history especially Japanese history
  • Gender history
  • Material history
  • Heritage and history

We also welcome interdisciplinary doctoral research with colleagues in Art History, and English in the School of Humanities and Performing Arts; and with colleagues in the School of Law, Criminology and Government.

Take a look at our completed and current PhDs.

History and interdisciplinary research

Working with colleagues across the university

People