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PhD History

Study for a PhD in History

Study for a PhD in History at Lancaster and join a department ranked 10th in the UK and 3rd for graduate prospects by the Complete University Guide 2021.

Our research expertise ranges from the ancient to the modern across Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Read more about our expertise, doctoral training programme, and funding opportunities below. Applicants should identify and contact a potential supervisor in the first instance.

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Our Doctoral Research Community

Historic Lancaster

The city of Lancaster and its surrounds are steeped in history. Explore the top historic sites to visit as recommended by members of the History Department, from Bronze Age stone circles to gothic churches, from Norman castles to Civil War fortresses, and from the mills of the Industrial Revolution to marvels of Art Deco architecture

Find out more

Funding Opportunities

There are a variety of sources of funding, ranging from studentships funded by the AHRC and ESRC, as well as University, Faculty and Department bursaries.

Faculty funding for the next academic year will be publicised in due course.


  • AHRC and ESRC funding competitions

    Lancaster University’s History Department is active in two large funding consortia:

    The North West Consortia for Doctoral Training Partnership, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

    The North West Consortia for Doctoral Training Partnership provides PhD studentships for History, Classics and Heritage Studies.

    The North West Social, Science Doctoral Training Partnership provides MA+PhD and PhD studentships in Economic and Social History.

    Open Competitions

    The deadline for the ESRC-funded North West Social Science Doctoral Training is 1 February 2021. In order to apply for this competition through the Economic and Social History pathway, applicants must have applied for a place on the PhD programme.

    The deadline for the AHRC Studentships is TBC. In order to apply for the AHRC’s NWCDTP Studentship Competitions in History, Heritage Studies, Classics and Ancient History, you must have applied for and been accepted onto a PhD programme.

    Students will normally have been offered a place at one of the four NWSSDTP institutions prior to their studentship application, on one of the programmes eligible for NWSSDTP funding. Studentship funding will not be awarded unless a conditional/unconditional offer has been made.

    Please explore our research pages or contact the Director of Postgraduate Studies for more information about the awards and the supervision the department can offer.

  • FASS and departmental bursaries 2020-21

    Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Scholarships 2021

    Level of Study: PhD degree

    Eligibility: UK students and international students (including EU and EEA)

    Applicants must already hold an offer of a place to study a postgraduate doctoral programme in any department in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences before applying for a scholarship, and be due to commence their studies during the 2021-22 academic year.

    Two of the scholarships are reserved for UK applicants from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups.

    Details of Award: Cost of tuition fee plus a maintenance award of £15,000

    Deadline for Scholarship applications: Monday 22nd March 2021, 17:00 GMT

    IMPORTANT: Please read the Faculty Doctoral Scholarships 2021 before applying.

    Download the Faculty Doctoral Scholarships 2021.

    The shortlisting of awards is administered by individual departments. Please get in touch with the relevant departmental contact if you would like details of the shortlisting process:

    History: Dr Mark Hurst - mark.hurst@lancaster.ac.uk

    Iredell Studentship

    The Department of History will offer up to two MA Studentships for 2021/22. The award consists ofan annual stipend of up to £5,000. Applications for the Iredell Studentship should consist of an 800-1000 word research proposal, a short (two-page) CV and two academic references.

    The proposal, CV and academic references must be submitted to Rebecca Sheppard by 21 May 2021. Candidates must ensure that the references arrive on time: incomplete applications will not be considered.

    Candidates must have been admitted on the MA programme before the application deadline. You can be applying for any of the following: the MA in History; the MA in International and Military History, or the MA in Digital Humanities. Applications are welcome from full or part time students.

    Regional Heritage Bursaries

    Additional bursaries are available through our MA placements module, HIST491

    Outreach, heritage and public history placement

    This module offers you the chance to benefit from the Department’s established and expanding network of heritage partners by completing a professional placement. Our previous placement partners have included a number of notable organisations, such as the Duchy of Lancaster, Hoghton Tower, the Museum of Lancashire, the National Trust, the North Craven Trust, and the Senhouse Museum Trust. The placement is centred on a specific project, which is agreed between the Department and the partner organisation, and completed under the supervision of that organisation. The work undertaken as part of the placement project can take a variety of different forms, ranging from cataloguing objects to assisting in arrangement for exhibitions to undertaking research work on a corpus of visual, audio or textual sources.

  • Studentships now available

    ESRC CASE combined MA/Doctoral Award at the University of Liverpool: ‘Museums, Big Data and the Violence of Empire’

    University of Liverpool Department of History, Dr Deana Heath , Dr Patricia Murrieta-Flores , Dr Emma Martin , Dr Javier Pereda-Campillo Friday, February 19, 2021 Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

    About the Project

    Applications are invited for a four-year, fully-funded ESRC CASE joint (1+3) MA and Doctoral Award to be held at Lancaster University (for the MA) and the University of Liverpool (for the PhD), in conjunction with National Museums Liverpool, beginning in October 2021.

    This project is a collaboration between the University of Liverpool, Lancaster University, Liverpool John Moores University, and National Museums Liverpool (NML). It aims to generate new understandings of the nature and legacies of imperial and colonial violence through a deep interdisciplinary approach that embraces the use of digital humanities technologies in the curation of collections to help understand how imperial and colonial violence has been conceptualised and perpetuated through imperial and colonial collecting, curatorial decision-making, and museum display practices.

    It will address the following research questions:

    • What terminology can be used to identify acts or processes relating to imperial and colonial violence in museum databases, and what do these reveal about the ways in which the violence of empire was understood?
    • What can the classification and representation of objects in museums reveal about the nature of imperial and colonial violence and the role of museums in propagating such violence?
    • What light can digital humanities approaches to historical documents and museum information shed onto official narratives of colonial violence?
    • How can museums take an active role in the decolonisation of technology?
    • In what ways can digital platforms be used to create initiatives to generate counter-narratives of museum objects that enable them to be understood in new ways and promote diversity and inclusivity?

    This project has significance for developing new insights, research methods, standards, and protocols through which to explore the potential of digital humanities approaches to transform understandings of, and the interrelationships between, empire, violence, and the cultural heritage sector. Building on insights into the imperial and colonial archive, and museums, indigenous digitisation and a wide range of datasets, this project will also explore the potential of digital platforms to create spaces in which marginalised voices, including the origin communities of objects in cultural heritage collections, can challenge the Eurocentric frameworks through which such objects have been collected, curated and displayed, in addition to rethinking digital methodologies in the creation of data sets. It will thus give the successful applicant the ability to pursue a career in both academia (infields including History, Digital Humanities, and Museum Studies) and in diverse areas of the cultural heritage sector.

    The project will be supervised by Dr Deana Heath (History, University of Liverpool), Dr Patricia Murrieta-Flores (History, Lancaster University), Dr Emma Martin (National Museums Liverpool) and Dr Javier Pereda-Campillo (Liverpool School of Art and Design, Liverpool John Moores University).

    It is not vital that applicants have a knowledge of digital humanities, since the successful applicant will gain the necessary digital skills for the project through undertaking an MA in this field, but applicants should have a solid grounding in the history of colonialism. Applicants must, in addition, have achieved or be on track to achieve a first class or high 2:1 undergraduate degree to apply. Applicants who already have an MA are also welcome to apply, although you will still need to undertake an MA in Digital Humanities since that is vital for the success of this project. Applicants should also check the ESRC guidance on eligibility for Studentship Awards, which can be found on the ESRC website.

    The deadline for applications is 5.00 pm on Monday 19 February 2021.

    How to Apply

    Please send the following to Chris Pearce, Postgraduate Administrator, School of Histories Languages and Cultures, University of Liverpool, 11 Abercromby Square, Liverpool L69 7WZ, or hlc-pgr@liverpool.ac.uk

    • a CV (including educational qualifications and contact information for two referees, one of whom should be a recent academic tutor/supervisor);
    • your undergraduate and, if relevant, MA transcripts (for applicants who have yet to complete their undergraduate degree an informal transcript showing marks received to date is fine);
    • and a statement outlining your suitability for this research project (maximum 500 words).

    For any specific enquiries about this project, contact Dr Deana Heath at heathd@liverpool.ac.uk.

    Funding Notes

    This Studentship provides coverage of UK academic fees and an annual maintenance allowance (which is currently £15,285 per year) for four years, in addition to funding for research training. It is being offered on a 1+3 basis and is open to applicants from a range of disciplinary backgrounds


    CASE 1 +3 studentships involve the undertaking of both an MA and a PhD in collaboration with a partner from outside of the Higher Education sector. It thus provides the opportunity to pursue MA and PhD research in both an academic and a professional context, and to produce a PhD thesis that will resonate both inside and outside academia. For this project, the successful applicant will undertake an MA in Digital Humanities at Lancaster University and a PhD in History at the University of Liverpool. During the PhD, the successful applicant will also undertake research and training at World Museum Liverpool and research visits at Liverpool John Moores University.

  • University funding for postgraduate students

    Alumni Loyalty Scholarship

    Lancaster University will offer a reduction in tuition fees to all taught Master’s programmes for eligible alumni applicants, determined by the level of undergraduate award achieved. The value of the scholarship is as follows:

    • 20% fee reduction for 1st Class Hons degree holders
    • 10% fee reduction for 2:1 Hons degree holders

    Find out more about the Loyalty Scholarship.

    Peel Trust Studentship

    Funds of up to £2,500 per annum are available to postgraduate students, both MA and PhD. For details of how to apply, please see Student Funding Service webpage.

    Research Support and Training Costs

    All registered PhD students are eligible to apply to the Department for research support and research training costs. This may cover, for example, travel and other expenses for research trips to libraries, archives, museums, etc.; expenses related to attending academic conferences where you are giving a paper; or the costs of training in a skill necessary for your research, such as enrolling in a language or other skills course for which no provision exists in the university. For more information, please contact our Postgraduate Coordinator.

  • Other funding

    Postgraduate Loan Scheme

    A postgraduate loan scheme has been introduced for students commencing master's courses.

    Non-means-tested loans of up to a maximum of £10,000 a year will be available for taught and research Master's students. For further information please see the Postgraduate Loan Scheme page.

    Other sources of funding, both internal and external, are available and can be accessed via the University Postgraduate Funding pages. In addition, the university has a range of partial awards to support students financially. Visit the Student Based Services web pages to find out more.

    The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding Online is a database of small funding bodies and charities.

  • Funding enquiries

    For further information about funding and finances, please contact:

    Postgraduate Admissions
    Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
    Department of History
    Lancaster University
    Lancaster, LA1 4YL

    Tel: 01524 510880
    Email: fass-pg-admissions@lancaster.ac.uk

    If you have a specific enquiry, please contact:

    Becky Sheppard, Postgraduate Coordinator
    Department of History
    Bowland College
    Lancaster University
    Lancaster, LA1 4YT

    Tel: +44 (0)1524 (5)92549

How to apply

To submit an application, simply create an account on the My Applications website and then select ‘Create a new application’ from your homepage once you are logged-in.

Using your account on the My Applications website, you are able to submit applications for the programme(s) which you wish to study, upload supporting documentation and provide us with information about referees.

Current Lancaster Students

If you are a current Lancaster student, or you have recently graduated from Lancaster, we can reduce the amount of information that you will need to provide as part of your application. You will need to provide only one reference and will not need to supply your Lancaster degree transcript. We will also pre-fill your personal details, ready for you to check.

If you use the My Applications website then you will be advised which documentation you need to upload or send to us. We can automatically contact your referees once you have submitted your application if you ask us to.

The supporting documentation screen will provide you with a list of required documents. These will usually include:

  • Degree certificates and transcripts of previous higher education (college/university) degrees or other courses that you have completed/for which you are currently studying. For transcripts in languages other than English, a certified English translation will be required.
  • A personal statement to help us understand why you wish to study your chosen degree.
  • You also need to complete a research proposal which should include the following:
    • the research area you are interested in
    • the research question(s) you are specifically interested in
    • who within History appears best qualified to supervise you
    • the methods you envisage using in your studies
    • plus any other information which may be relevant
  • Two references
  • If English is not your first language, we require copies of English language test results.

You can apply at any time of the year for PhD study, but we encourage you to start at one of the predefined start dates of October, January or April. In some circumstances, July start date will be considered. 

If you wish to be considered for funding, are applying from overseas or require on-campus accommodation, we recommend you apply as early as possible.

If you would like more information before applying, please contact us. If you have any queries during the application process, please contact our Postgraduate Admissions Team.