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PhD History with Genealogical Studies

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Research opportunities

The History section of the Department of Humanities will consider PhD candidates who have a research topic with a focus on family history.
Students enrolled in the PhD History with Genealogical Studies are supervised by academic staff in History with co-supervision by staff in the Strathclyde Institute of Genealogical Studies, giving the opportunity to undertake a doctorate in History with a distinctive genealogical dimension. (There is scope to undertake a joint PhD with other departments and the Strathclyde Institute of Genealogical Studies. Contact for details.)
The Strathclyde PhD can be completed full-time over 36 months or part-time over 60 months, culminating in a thesis built on original research of 80-100,000 words.
A PhD thesis makes an original contribution to knowledge and the wider literature in the field. Through your specialised research and the writing of your thesis, you will gain a range of academic skills such as advanced research methods and analysis, and professional skills in communication, presentation and organisation.
All Postgraduate Research Students within the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences are members of the Graduate School and have access to dedicated study facilities, social events and training, development and funding opportunities.

Hands holding old photographs.

What you'll study

A PhD in history with a genealogical dimension may incorporate one or more of the following areas:

  • using genealogical techniques and/or sources to advance knowledge in associated areas. This includes historical demography, local history, sociology etc. This research may focus on a particular event, area or question in history viewed through the ‘lens’ of its effect on a group, set of families or individuals
  • reappraising previous research findings using genealogical research techniques and/or records and tools such as genetic genealogy. These can be historical, genealogical, demographic, etc.
  • assessing and evaluating newly available or not-often-used resources. These can include archival collections, ways of using software, etc. This research might examine and evaluate primary sources and/or research methods for the enhancement of genealogical practice
  • assessing and evaluating development in genealogical practice or supporting areas such as archives. This research can include questioning what, why and how genealogists do things, with the aim of delivering a better and more effective service

This is not an exhaustive list. You may wish to select a different focus altogether.

Postgraduate research at the Strathclyde Doctoral School

The Strathclyde Doctoral School provides a vibrant and comprehensive student-centred research and training environment in order to grow and support current and future research talent.

The School encompasses our four faculties and is committed to enriching the student experience, intensifying research outputs and opportunities, and ensuring training is at the highest level. As a postgraduate researcher, you'll automatically become a member of the Strathclyde Doctoral School.

Find out more about the Doctoral School

Shannon Combs-Bennett
This is the only program like it in the world and this was the biggest draw... The freedom to set my schedule for workshops, lectures, and learning opportunities makes it very easy to fit my education in around my work and family schedules.
Shannon Combs-Bennett
PhD History with Genealogical Studies
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Fees & funding

Fees may be subject to updates to maintain accuracy. Tuition fees will be notified in your offer letter.

All fees are in £ sterling, unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to revision.

Annual revision of fees

Students on programmes of study of more than one year (or studying standalone modules) should be aware that tuition fees are revised annually and may increase in subsequent years of study. Annual increases will generally reflect UK inflation rates and increases to programme delivery costs.

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  • 2024/25: £4,786
  • 2023/24: £4,712
England, Wales & Northern Ireland
  • 2024/25: £4,786
  • 2023/24: £4,712
  • 2024/25: £18,050

Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences Scholarships

View all our scholarships

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 140 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

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Prior to submitting your application, you will need to identify one member of staff from History and one from Genealogy who could share the supervision of your thesis. You should nominate the History staff member as your first supervisor, and the Genealogy staff member as your second supervisor.

Use these staff lists to identify a potential first and second supervisor based on how well their research interests fit with yours. Then send them an email to introduce yourself, with a copy of your CV. If you have already written a draft research proposal, attach it to your email.

If your chosen supervisors are available to work with you, they will confirm this, and your application can progress. If you are not sure who to contact, ask:

Genealogy supervisors

  • Alasdair Macdonald (Genetic genealogy, surname studies, Scottish genealogy, medieval and modern genealogy)
  • Tahitia McCabe (American and British genealogy, nineteenth century, migration studies)
  • Calista Williams (British and Irish genealogy, Welsh history, nineteenth century, history of reading)

History supervisors

Name Areas of expertise 
Patricia Barton
  • The British empire
  • 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
Tanja Bueltmann
  • diaspora history, especially Scottish diaspora history
  • history of migration to Scotland
  • history of associational culture
  • history of immigrant community life/identity
  • history of immigrant activism
Richard Finlay 
  • Scottish history since 1700
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
Arthur McIvor 
  • Oral history
  • Labour history
  • Work in Britain since 1945
  • History of occupational health and safety
Jim Mills
  • Social history of drugs and narcotics
  • Social history of health and medicine in the British empire
Emma Newlands 
  • War and health/medicine
  • Military culture and experience
  • History of human experiments
  • History of masculinity
Rogelia Pastor-Castro 
  • 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
  • History of Egypt and Iraq
  • Italian Fascism
John Young
  • The Scottish Covenanters
  • Scotland and Ulster
  • The Scottish Parliament
  • History of Glasgow
  • The 1707 Act of Union
Matthew Eisler 
  • Science, Technology and Innovation Studies
  • History of Engineering
  • Social and Cultural History of the United States
David Wilson
  • Piracy, privateering, and maritime predation
  • Atlantic and early modern imperial history
  • Maritime histories of Africa (particularly Ghana)
Elsa Richardson 
  • History of Popular Health Movements
  • Cultural History of Psychology and Psychoanalysis
  • Science, Medicine and the Supernatural
David Murphy 
  • 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
  • World War Two and the British Home Front
  • Social and Cultural History of Twentieth Century Britain
Karine Varley
  • France since 1789
  • France in the Second World War
  • Franco-Prussian War
  • Memory and Commemoration
  • Corsica
Ksenia Wesolowska
  • Arab-Israeli dispute
  • US foreign policy
  • East European secret intelligence
  • Eastern Europe
Phil Cooke
  • Italian social, political and cultural history, 19th to 21st centuries
  • The European Resistance Movement
  • 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
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
Natalia Telepneva
  • Russia in the 20th century
  • Post-colonial Africa, especially issues around decolonisation, development, conflict/ conflict resolution
  • Portuguese-speaking Africa
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Support & development

The Graduate School

The Graduate School is a friendly and supportive study environment for 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 our workshops, seminars and competitions.

Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development (PgCert RPD)

Our PgCert RPD programme aims to ensure you get the most out of your current research activities at Strathclyde and helps you prepare for your future career as a researcher.

We'll help you recognise and develop your transferrable skills that'll have a positive impact on your research, now and in the future.


The University Careers Service can help you with everything from writing your CV to interview preparation. Take a look at our careers service pages to get more information.

Student support

From financial advice to our IT facilities, we have a wide range of support for all students here at Strathclyde. Get all the information you need at Strathlife.

Our research

The Genealogical Studies department are involved in a range of research activities focusing on documentary and genetic evidence. Find out more about our research.

Our research

DNA strand consisting of a group of people, overlaid on top old photographs.

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Entry requirements

Normally, a first-class or upper second-class UK Honours degree, or overseas equivalent, in history or a related subject. For PhD applications, we also normally require a Masters degree, or overseas equivalent, in history, genealogy/family history or a related subject. For those without a Masters degree or overseas equivalent, in genealogy/family history, we require evidence of extensive experience in genealogical research.

The application

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

  • your full contact details
  • transcripts and certificates of all degrees
  • proof of English language proficiency if English isn’t your first language. For postgraduate studies, we require a minimum overall IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent (no individual test score below 5.5, the test must be taken within two years of the programme start date)
  • two references, one of which must be academic
  • funding or scholarship information
  • research proposal of 1,500-2,000 words in length, detailing the subject area and topic to be investigated. Also indicate your chosen supervisors in the research proposal. Follow this link for helpful advice on writing PhD Proposals 
  • by filling these details out as fully as possible, you'll avoid any delay to your application being processed by the University
  • if your chosen supervisors are available to work with you and you meet the criteria listed above, an offer to study will be sent to you through Pegasus, our online application system

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.

Start date: Oct 2023 - Sep 2024

History with Genealogical Studies

Start date: Oct 2023 - Sep 2024

Start date: Oct 2023 - Sep 2024

History with Genealogical Studies

Start date: Oct 2023 - Sep 2024

Start date: Oct 2024 - Sep 2025

History with Genealogical Studies

Start date: Oct 2024 - Sep 2025

Start date: Oct 2024 - Sep 2025

History with Genealogical Studies

Start date: Oct 2024 - Sep 2025

Start date: Oct 2025 - Sep 2026

History with Genealogical Studies

Start date: Oct 2025 - Sep 2026

Start date: Oct 2025 - Sep 2026

History with Genealogical Studies

Start date: Oct 2025 - Sep 2026

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Contact us

Kate Mitchell

Telephone: +44 (0)141 444 8202


Graduate school

Telephone: +44 (0)141 444 8400