History MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

The UCL History MPhil/PhD programme offers students the possibility to study in the heart of London in a vibrant and diverse research community. Students will work with world-leading academics, gaining the skills to move into careers both within and outside academia.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
3 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
Students applying for UCL and LAHP funding: 16 Oct 2023 – 03 Jan 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

All other applicants: 16 Oct 2023 – 31 May 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Entry requirements

A minimum of a Master’s degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 4

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

You will have access to our vast academic expertise and a plethora of networking opportunities; you will also be able to help organise events. We offer individual research supervision from world-leading historians and are committed to providing a PhD programme that reflects our students' diverse needs.

Who this course is for

Studying for a PhD requires individuals to be self-motivated, independent and committed to their research topic.

What this course will give you

With its wide-ranging expertise, covering almost all areas of historical scholarship, and its proximity to institutions such as the British Library, the Institute of Historical Research and the Warburg Institute, UCL offers unique conditions for doctoral research in history. Our staff, as well as our student body, are from all over the world, creating a diverse research environment.

In addition to the department's regular training sessions, most doctoral students participate in the Institute of Historical Research seminars and take modules at the UCL Doctoral School. Our research students regularly organise their own workshops, conferences and seminars, including an annual postgraduate research conference hosted at UCL.

The foundation of your career

Recent graduates have taken up academic posts at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Kent and St Andrews, whilst others have entered careers in the civil service and the cultural sector, working as archivists and curators in institutions such as the Tower of London.


As part of the degree, students get training designed to help enhance their employability. The department runs a bi-weekly Research Training Seminar, which includes sessions that focus specifically on skills needed for academics and guidance on careers outside of academia. There is also a wide variety of courses available to students via the Skills Development programme, including languages, academic writing for non-native English speakers, and professional and career development sessions on getting published and research and analysis methods. The department is strongly connected with UCL's Careers Service and delivers specialist sessions for research students.


Students have excellent opportunities to connect with other scholars and relevant professionals. The department supports those organising and attending conferences, including the annual event that postgraduates run within the department. Students are strongly encouraged to attend and give conference papers, establishing contacts with academics and peers in their field. Speakers at the Research Training Seminar include colleagues from History, other UCL departments and from other universities, libraries, archives, and heritage organisations across the UK. Networking is also facilitated by events organised nearby at the Institute of Historical Research, the Royal Historical Society, and the AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership consortium, which includes KCL and the School of Advanced Study.

Teaching and learning

Most of the three or four years during which you are studying for your PhD will be spent engaging in independent research in consultation with your supervisor. Regular meetings with this supervisor will inform the structure and timescale of your research. Your work and these meetings will be recorded in a compulsory research log, which allows you and the department to be sure that you are making appropriate progress.

As a History PhD student, you are invited to attend Research Training Seminars, which run roughly fortnightly during the first two terms of each academic year. These seminars offer skills training and host research presentations from students in the later years of the programme; they are compulsory for you to attend until your upgrade. Many students later in the PhD process will continue to attend relevant sessions.

PhD students will produce a thesis of no more than 100,000 words. 

Attendance at the weekly (two-hour) Research Training Seminar is compulsory for PhD students in their first year. Meetings with supervisors will be regular but arranged on an individual basis. Predominantly, students will be engaged in self-directed study.

Research areas and structure

  • American and Latin American history
  • Ancient history (in particular, Greek, Roman and the ancient Near East)
  • Medieval history
  • Early modern and modern history of Britain and Europe
  • Intellectual history
  • Transnational history
  • Medieval history
  • Transnational history
  • History of medicine

The department currently hosts a number of UK Research Council-funded projects including 'Women in the Miners' Strike', 'The Nahrein Network: New Ancient History Research for Education in Iraq and its Neighbours', and 'Democracy, Autocracy, and Sovereign Debt'.

Research environment

At any one time, the Department of History contains between 70 and 90 postgraduate research students working on topics that range chronologically from the ancient Near East to twentieth-century Europe and the Americas. The department hosts several projects funded by UK and European research councils.

As a student on a research degree, you will usually be registered for three years (full-time) or five years (part-time), with the option of a further year as a completing research student (CRS) in which to finish writing up your research.

You are expected to upgrade from MPhil to PhD status after around 12 months; this usually occurs in the third term of your first year of (full-time) study. You will be required to submit an upgrade packet, which includes a case study based on your research and a plan for the rest of your thesis. You will make an oral presentation before supervisors and other students, and you will be interviewed by a panel including your secondary supervisor, the graduate tutor, and an external examiner not involved in your supervision. Successful completion of the upgrade allows you to transfer to full PhD status.

As a student on a part-time research degree, you will usually be registered for five years, with the option of a further year as a completing research student (CRS) in which to finish writing up your research.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £6,035 £3,015
Tuition fees (2024/25) £28,100 £14,050

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

Additional research costs associated with PhD research vary depending on the project. Some students may need to complete research trips, both in the UK and overseas, depending on the scope of their research.

Students whose PhD is being funded by an external body will likely receive a research allowance as part of their award. The department also allows all PhD students to apply for funding to support their research at two points in the academic year (although this is not guaranteed). Funding is allocated on a case-by-case basis, and non-funded students without other research funds are prioritised when allocations are made.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

Students who wish to be considered for most of the major funding schemes must submit their application to UCL before our departmental deadline. All applications received by this date will be considered for any UCL funding scheme for which they are eligible. External funding organisations may require you to complete additional, separate application forms. For more information on this please see our Funding page.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

UCL Research Opportunity Scholarship (ROS)

Deadline: 12 January 2024
Value: UK rate fees, a maintenance stipend, conference costs and professional development package (3 years)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: UK

Next steps

We recommend that students identify and contact their potential supervisor before they submit their application to us. More guidance is available on our Prospective Students page

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

Got questions? Get in touch

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