PhD studentships

Learn about available PhD studentships and how to apply.

On this page, we'll advertise any open opportunities for PhD studentships that might be useful to those hoping to come and study at UCL History.

UCL & The British Museum AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership - Funded Studentship Available: ‘Reframing Oceania: towards new narratives of the colonial Pacific in the British Museum’

The History Department of University College London and The British Museum are pleased to announce a funded doctoral studentship under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Scheme. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with academics from University College London’s Department of History and partners in The British Museum, benefitting from a lively research culture at UCL and the cultural riches and expertise of The British Museum.

The Research Project

This PhD project will interrogate archives, objects and images in the British Museum pertaining to Oceania to identify what new stories emerge and consider how these histories of the colonial Pacific could be constructed and publicly presented. Attentive to individual histories and Indigenous agency, the project will promote new perspectives on the distinctive histories of Pacific Islanders and their relationship with other parts of the world, particularly Britain. The emphasis will be on the period c.1820-1920.

This project aims to go beyond research focused only on specific places, object types, or specific collectors to consider how the ensemble of resources about these collections can be interrogated to generate new narratives. It will address inter-relationships and broad themes relevant across the Pacific, and can draw on examples from any place, group of people, or object. There will be room for the student to shape the research within this broad context.

By researching and documenting as far as possible the lives of individual Pacific Islanders whose images or associated objects are represented in the collection, the project seeks to uncover histories reflecting Indigenous agency. As well as opportunities for working with the collections in London, there will be networking opportunities to work with colleagues and communities in Oceania as well as at the British Museum.

The project will be co-supervised by Professor Margot Finn, Professor of History at University College, London and Dr Gaye Sculthorpe, Curator, and Section Head, Oceania, The British Museum.

The Studentship

The project will fund a full-time PhD studentship for up to three and a half years. Throughout the research process, the student will divide his or her time between the British Museum and University College London, where a full academic training programme is provided. Visits to other institutions may be required based on the focus of the research and in response to the project’s over-arching research questions. The studentship can be either full-time or part-time.

As well as undertaking research training at UCL, the successful student will also be inducted and trained at the British Museum where he or she will learn about this unique institution and its collections.The student will also be expected to participate in a common joint specially designed research training programme run especially for all CDP students supported by the National Museums, the British Library, National Archives, English Heritage and other holders of AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships.

The focus for the three and a half years of study will be on the successful development and completion of the thesis, and within this timescale the student will also be expected to share research outcomes at the Museum and attend relevant conferences. The studentship offers a unique opportunity to engage with a number of national institutions and possibly also Oceanic communities relevant to the research.

Subject to AHRC eligibility criteria, the scholarships cover tuition fees and an annual grant (stipend) towards living expenses. The 2019/20 value of the stipend is likely to be £17,009 per annum (including London weighting) and the awarded candidate can also apply to a £550 per annum stipend top-up. In addition, the British Museum will provide up to £1000 per year to support the student’s research costs at and for the Museum. Students are also able to apply for up to £700 from the AHRC’s Research Training Support Grant. (All figures pro-rata for part-time study.)

Qualifications and Eligibility

Candidates with backgrounds in history, anthropology, human geography and museum studies are particularly encouraged to apply for this studentship. Applicants with relevant work experience who are considering doing a PhD are also encouraged to apply.

Candidates must:
- Have a first or upper-second class honours degree or equivalent;
- Have completed a master’s level qualification by the time they begin PhDstudy, preferably with an upper merit or distinction; or have equivalent work experience;
- Be a resident of the UK or European Economic Area (EEA).

Students are eligible for a full award of fees and living allowances if they have i) ‘settled status’ in the UK (meaning there are no restrictions on how long they can stay); and ii)
been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for three years prior to the start of the studentship and iii) not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education, unless they are UK or EU nationals. Students from EU countries other than the UK are generally eligible for a fees-only award. To be eligible for a fees-only award a student must be ordinarily resident in a member state of the EU, in the same way as UK students must be ordinarily resident in the UK.

Start Date: the preferred start date is 01 October, 2019.

Application Procedure

Applications for the position should be made online here.

Applications should include, in addition to the standard application form the following two file attachments:
1. a curriculum vitae (maximum length 5 pages)
2. a) a 1-2 page statement outlining your interest in the research project; b) Transcripts of study from your first degree and postgraduate qualifications;

Please note that the online system will accept up to two attachments, so you should be prepared to merge your documents if necessary.

For enquiries relating to the on-line applicationprocess and requirements please contact the Department Manager by email (claire.morley@ucl.ac.uk).

Informal inquiries can be made, or further details about the research project’s scope discussed, by contacting Professor Margot Finn (M.Finn@ucl.ac.uk) or Dr Gaye Sculthorpe (gsculthorpe@britishmuseum.org).

Closing Date for applications: 12:00 midnight Friday 12 April 2019.

Interviews will be held on Wednesday 24 April at The British Museum. Short-listed candidates will be asked to make a 10-minute presentation at their interview on a topic to be advised.