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PhD, MPhil, MResHistory

Research opportunities

There are several research degree options available to you.

If you have already gained a Masters’ qualification, you can apply to study for a PhD over the course of three years, culminating in a thesis built on original research up to 100,000 words in length.  In the course of your research and writing the thesis, you will also gain a range of professional skills in research methods, communications, presentation, organisation and other academic specialisms.

We can offer PhD supervision in a variety of areas, including:

Or you can study for an MRes or an MPhil over the course of one year, at the end of which you would submit a dissertation.

The MRes & MPhil research degrees

The MRes (Master of Research) and the MPhil (Master of Philosophy) in History are possible precursors to a PhD.  Compared to the MSc taught postgraduate programmes in History, MRes and MPhil students take fewer classes and write dissertations that are considerably longer.  

MRes and MPhil students take at least one 20-credit research training class from this list:

  • Sources, Skills and Methods for Historians 1
  • Sources, Skills and Methods for Historians 2
  • Palaeography, c.1500-c.1800

MRes students can also elect to attend other classes, if their supervisors consider this would be useful.

The MRes and MPhil degrees are suitable for recent graduates and people with good writing and research skills who graduated some time ago.  They entail a substantial project undertaken over one year (or two years, part-time).  The MRes and the MPhil differ slightly in terms of their demands and the consequent student experience; it is a matter of deciding which you think you would suit you best.

In the MRes and MPhil, students work closely with two supervisors on a dissertation of 30,000 words.  Students have two years to complete this, but most students submit their dissertations by the end of the calendar year after they commence (i.e., a student beginning in September 2019 might submit the completed dissertation at Christmas 2020 and expect to graduate in July 2021). 

The University’s regulations describe the MPhil as “the results of the candidate’s work: this may be a record of original research or a critical review of existing knowledge or a combination of these two forms.”  Viva examination is not necessarily required.  In certain circumstances, the MPhil allows direct transfer to a PhD.

A distinctive feature of the MRes is that it is often interdisciplinary, drawing on two Humanities and Social Sciences subjects for supervision and subject matter, and this sometimes appeals to students with Joint Honours degrees.  For example, we have close links with colleagues in Modern Languages who could support MPhil topics in European or Latin American history.

In recent years, competitive AHRC-aligned excellence awards have provided fee-waivers for interdisciplinary MRes research projects for students likely to apply for AHRC funding for a PhD.

Download the History Genealogical studies guidance



NameAreas of Expertise
Patricia Barton
  • Indian economic links with the British empire
  • Disease in colonial South Asia
  • Social history of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals
  • Social history of health and medicine in the British empire
  • History of modern empires
Mark Ellis
  • The impact of World War I on American society
  • The American interracial cooperation movement before 1940
  • The origins of the American civil rights movement
  • Political and social movements in 20th century America
Richard Finlay
  • Scottish history since 1700
  • Scottish and British political history          
Laura Kelly
  • Social history of medicine in nineteenth and early twentieth century Ireland
  • History of reproductive and sexual health
  • History of activism
  • History of the medical profession and medical education
  • Student culture
Arthur McIvor
  • Oral history
  • Labour history
  • Work in Britain since 1945
  • Deindustrialisation
  • History of occupational health and safety
Jim Mills
  • Social history of drugs and narcotics
  • Social history of health and medicine in the British empire
  • History of modern empires
Emma Newlands
  • War and health/medicine
  • Military culture and experience
  • History of human experiments
  • History of masculinity
Jesse Olszynko-Gryn 
  • History of modern science, technology & medicine
  • Social & cultural history of twentieth-century Britain
  • Reproductive health, medicine & technologies
  • Media & communication technologies
  • Scientific & medical cinema        
Rogelia Pastor-Castro
  • International History in the twentieth century
  • Cold War Europe
  • Diplomacy and international security
  • British and French foreign policies
Matthew Smith
  • Mental health and psychiatry
  • Allergy and immunology
  • Food and nutrition
  • Childhood Health
  • Environment Factors and Health
Manuela Williams
  • Arab nationalism
  • The history of propaganda and information
  • History of Egypt and Iraq
  • Italian Fascism
  • European Integration
John Young
  • The Scottish Covenanters
  • Scotland and Ulster
  • The Scottish Parliament
  • History of Glasgow
  • The 1707 Act of Union
Matthew Eisler 
  • Energy and Environmental Studies
  • Science, Technology and Innovation Studies
  • History of Engineering
  • Social and Cultural History of the United States
David Wilson 
  • Early Modern Empires in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans
  • The History of Piracy, Privateering and Maritime Predation
  • The History of Maritime Law, Jurisdiction and Imperial Authority
  • Early Modern Trade, Commercial Networks, and Inter-Imperial Relations
  • Scotland and Empire in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries
Elsa Richardson 
  • Social and Cultural History of Nutrition, Diet and Digestion
  • History of Popular Health Movements
  • Cultural History of Psychology and Psychoanalysis
  • Science, Medicine and the Supernatural
David Murphy
  • Anti-colonialism in Africa
  • French Colonial History
  • Colonial Troops and the First World War
  • The History of Cultural Festivals (particularly in Africa)
Angela Turner 
  • History of Disability and Health
  • Oral History Theory and Practise
  • World War Two and the British Home Front
  • Social and Cultural History of Twentieth Century Britain
Karine Varley
  • France since 1789
  • France in Second World War
  • Franco-Prussian War
  • Memory and Commemoration
  • Corsica
Phil Cooke
  • Italian social, political and cultural history, 19th to 21st centuries 
  • The European Resistance Movement
  • The History of Science and Medicine in Italy, 19th to 21st centuries
  • Italian terrorism
  • Transnational history
Martin Mitchell
  • The Irish in Scotland
  • The Social History of Religion in Modern Scotland
  • Labour and Radical Movements in Scotland
  • Scottish Political and Social History since 1750
Natalia Telepneva
  • Russia in the 20th century
  • Global history of socialism and Marxism
  • Post-colonial Africa, especially issues around decolonisation, development, conflict/conflict resolution
  • Portuguese-speaking Africa
  • Cold War in the Third World
Niall Whelehan
  • Modern Ireland
  • Migration and the Global Irish diaspora
  • The history of political violence and terrorism
  • History of social movements and radicalism in Europe c. 1848-1920s

Fees & funding


All fees quoted are per academic year unless otherwise stated.

2019/20 entrants may be subject to a small fee during the writing up period.

Scotland/ EU

  • £4,327

Rest of UK

  • £4,327
International students
  • £13,550


Have a look at our scholarship search for any funding opportunities.

The Dean’s Global Research Scholarship (up to 10 Awards) will help to cover the difference between the tuition fee for a UK/EU postgraduate student and that chargeable to an overseas postgraduate research student. The award will apply for each year of study up to 3 years.

Our students have been funded in a variety of ways such as Research Council studentships, the Wellcome Trust, the Carnegie Trust and by the University itself.

Postgraduate research opportunities

Search for all funded and non-funded postgraduate research opportunities.

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year.

How can I apply?

You can apply for a postgraduate research degree at any point in the year.

All you have to do is complete an online application.

Entry requirements

We look for students with a first or a 2:1 UK Honours degree, or overseas equivalent, in history or a related subject. For PhD applications, we also normally require a Master’s degree, or overseas equivalent, in history or a related subject.

The application

During the application you'll be asked for the following:

  • your full contact details
  • transcripts & certificates of all degrees
  • proof of English language proficiency if English isn't your first language
  • two references, one of which must be academic
  • funding or scholarship information
  • research proposal of 1500-2000 words in length, detailing the subject area & topic to be investigated

By filling these details out as fully as possible, you'll avoid any delay to your application being processed by the University.


You'll need to identify your research supervisor before you finalise your application, preferably as soon as possible.

When you've identified a potential supervisor, based upon how well your research interests match theirs, drop them an email to introduce yourself.

In the email, make sure you attach a draft of your research proposal along with a copy of your CV.

Don't worry about how rough your research proposal may be at this stage - you'll have help from staff in the Department of History to refine it.

If your chosen supervisor if available to work with you, they'll confirm this and nominate a potential second supervisor.

As soon as a second supervisor is confirmed, an offer of study will be sent to you through Pegasus, our online application system.

If you accept our offer, you'll then be sent a full offer in writing via the email address you provide.

Accepting an offer

Once you've accepted our offer, we'll need you to fulfil any academic, administrative or financial conditions that we ask.

UK or EU students

If you're applying as a UK or EU student, you'll then be issued with your registration documentation.

You can apply for a postgraduate research degree at any point in the year.

All you have to do is complete an online application.

Support & development

The Graduate School

The Graduate School is a friendly and supportive study environment for all our research students studying subjects within Humanities & Social Sciences.

Our staff will support you through your studies and you'll become part of a community of students who get involved with out workshops, seminars and competitions.

Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development (PgCert RPD)

As part of your PhD degree, you'll be enrolled on the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development (PG Cert RPD). 

This certificate is designed to support you with your research and rewards you for things you'll do as a research student here.

It'll help you improve skills which are important to professional development and employability:

  • the knowledge & intellectual abilities to conduct your research
  • the personal qualities to succeed in your research & chosen career
  • the standards, requirements & conduct of a professional researcher in your discipline
  • working with others & communicating the impact of your research to a wide range of audiences

All you have to do is plan these activities alongside your doctorate, documenting and reflecting your journey to success along the way.

Find out more about the PG Cert RPD programme.


We have a great careers service here at Strathclyde that can help you with everything from writing your CV to interview preparation.

Student support

From financial advice to our IT facilities, we have loads of different support for all students here at our University.

Discover more about history