Skip to content Accessibility statement
Home>Department of History>Study>Postgraduate research>PhD in History

PhD in History

Combine creative ideas and innovation with academic study to develop key skills for your career in the field, academia or research.

  Length Start dates (semester dates)

3-4 years full-time
6 years part-time

Distance learning available

Apply for PhD


If your passion lies in research, our doctoral degrees give you the independence to focus on a specialism of your choice. Study with us and receive expert research guidance from our supportive staff.

Your research

The focus of your work will be an independent research project. We provide training which will equip you with skills in a wide range of research methods to support your growing expertise. The PhD requires a dissertation of up to 90,000 words.

Postgraduate research provides opportunities to develop your academic, creative and practical skills. You'll work independently in an academic environment where scholarship and creativity go hand-in-hand.

Join one of our leading research groups, which bring together historical expertise in various fields. Find out more about our research groups.

We also offer an MPhil in History, working towards shorter dissertation of up to 60,000 words over two years (four years part-time).

Apply for the MPhil in History


Explore funding for postgraduate researchers in the Department of History.


We'll help match your research interests to our supervisory expertise. Explore the expertise of our staff.

Training and support

Your progress throughout your degree will be continually guided by your supervisor, who will help you to hone your focus and deliver specialised research.

Alongside regular meetings with your supervisor, you'll attend a Thesis Advisory Panel (TAP), consisting of at least one member of staff in addition to your supervisor. You'll meet twice a year (once a year for part-time students) to discuss your research project, including more general professional development and career training.

Course location

This course is run by the Department of History.

You'll be based on Campus West. Most of your training and supervision meetings will take place here, though your research may take you further afield. Distance learning options are available.

There are opportunities for you to study abroad. We have an annual desk exchange scheme with Lund, Sweden, which all our PhD students are invited to apply for.

Entry requirements

You should have, or be about to complete, an MA in History or an equivalent subject with a distinction or very high merit.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must provide evidence of your ability.

Check your English language requirements


Apply for this course

Take a look at the supporting documents you may need for your application.

Find out more about how to apply.

Identify a supervisor

As part of any application for a research degree you will need to name one or more academic staff who could supervise your research. You should approach them informally to discuss your proposed project before you apply.

Find a supervisor


As part of your application, you'll be interviewed by one or two academic staff members, including your prospective supervisor. The interview will last around 30 minutes to an hour, with plenty of time for you to ask questions and find out what York can offer you.

As part of the interview, you could have the chance to tour our facilities, including the Humanities Research Centre, the Borthwick Institute for Archives and the University Library, and attend a research seminar.


Careers and skills

Your PhD will help to extend your qualifications, giving you the ability to use research and historical thinking to shed light on historical problems and communicate this knowledge with others. You will become equipped with transferable skills in communication, data analysis, archival research and collaboration, opening the door to a wide range of career opportunities.

Our dedicated careers team offer specific support including a programme of professional researcher development and careers workshops and 1:1 career support sessions. They will help you to build up your employability portfolio and to engage in activities that will build up your skills and experience within and outside of your research work.

Career opportunities

  • archives practitioner
  • historian
  • heritage manager
  • academic researcher
  • museum professional
  • historic buildings conservation officer
  • lecturer or teacher

Discover York


We offer a range of campus accommodation to suit you and your budget, from economy to deluxe.

Why York

Discover more about our researchers, facilities and why York is the perfect choice for your research degree.

Graduate Research School

Connect with researchers across all disciplines to get the most out of your research project.

Next steps