Postgraduate research courses
Our Department is internationally recognised for the quality of our research
across a broad range of areas from 1450 to the present. More than two-thirds of
our research was rated 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent' in the
Research degree routes
If you wish to study for a PhD by research then you will initially be enrolled on a combined
MPhil/PhD pathway. In your second year of study, depending on your progress, a decision will be made as to whether you
will proceed towards an MPhil or a PhD.
An MPhil involves a minimum of two years of full-time research, the product of which is a 50,000 word thesis on a
topic which has an element of novelty.
A PhD requires a minimum of three years full-time research. The resulting thesis is 80,000 words in length and is
expected to extend the understanding of a specialist topic beyond the current state of the art.
Following your two or three years of research, you are likely to need a further period of up to one year for writing
your thesis. Reduced (completion) fees are charged during this time.
Our MPhil and PhD by research courses have no standard taught element but you will agree a programme of training with
your supervisor and this may include attendance at one or more taught modules. You are also welcome to attend taught
modules in our Department on an informal basis.
The MA by dissertation involves a minimum of one year of full-time research, during which you will produce a 30,000 word
dissertation. Students registered for this type of course usually have some prior experience in the area they wish to research,
for example from work in industry or a project carried out during a first degree.
There is no taught element, although you may attend course modules on an informal basis. You also have an option to upgrade
to an MPhil or PhD by research if you make good progress.
We welcome applications from students wishing to study part-time. You will produce a dissertation of the same length as
our full-time students. Your research period will be as follows (with write-up time in addition):
- PhD - six years
- MPhil - four years
- MA by dissertation - two years
Our postgraduate research finder lists all of the PhDs that we
offer. If you have any questions about undertaking postgraduate research in our Department, please
A variety of scholarships and funding for postgraduate study is available.
Our academic staff research interests are extensive. Postgraduates wishing to take research degrees
can be accepted to research on a wide range of topics within the general field of history from the sixteenth century to the present.
Our list of current research theses shows the broad range of postgraduate research currently being carried out in our
catalogue of completed theses is maintained by our Albert Sloman Library.
- European social, cultural and economic history from the sixteenth to the twentieth century
- Political movements and ideologies in the modern world, including communism and socialism
- History of ideas, including the history of science and medicine
- Intellectual history and history of the book
- History of information, including the history of data collection and surveillance
- History of belief and ideas about the supernatural
- History of ritual (in secular as well as sacred contexts)
- History of popular culture, including aspects of sports history
- History of consumer culture
- History of violence, protest and popular politics, tolerance and intolerance, warfare, and death
- History of poverty, slavery and labour movements
- History of race
- Comparative history
- The international politics of oil
- History of crime and policing
- Gender and women's history
- Demographic history
- History of the British and Irish Isles and Europe, especially Germany and France
- History of late-imperial Russia and the Soviet Union
- History of the USA, including African American History and American foreign policy
- History of Latin America, especially Venezuela and Brazil
- History of Africa, especially South and Southern Africa in the twentieth century
- Local history, especially the history of Essex and Suffolk
We employ many of our research students as Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA). These paid positions are valuable opportunities
for professional development and give you experience of teaching and marking essays at undergraduate level, a significant advantage
when it comes to applying for academic positions.
Our University's Proficio scheme helps to develop your skills and knowledge and increase your
employability potential for careers in academia and industry by providing funding for specialist training across a range of
areas, including researching and managing your PhD, presenting your work and getting published.
Reading texts in their original language can be a real advantage for postgraduate research.
Our Languages for All
scheme allows you to study a language alongside your course at no extra cost.
Our commitment to groundbreaking historical investigation is reflected in more than two-thirds of our research being
rated 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent' (REF 2014).
Apply for a PhD studentship for your doctoral study funded by the
Consortium for Humanities and the Arts South-East England (CHASE) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).
Proficio is our innovative doctoral training scheme. Our University gives you funding to spend on
a variety of courses, from research skills to personal development and career management.
Book a place at a postgraduate event to find out about studying at a top 20 UK research university. Staff will be
available to answer your questions and you can speak to students about life at Essex.