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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.

Find a Supervisor

Our Doctoral Research Community

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 Postgraduate Studentships

    The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is pleased to offer a number of Faculty Scholarships to outstanding UK, EU and Overseas applicants wishing to study for a Masters degree, a Masters Degree followed by a PhD (1+3), or for a PhD degree within the Faculty.

    Applicants wishing to be considered for these awards should complete the Faculty Scholarship application form and send it to Becky Sheppard.  All applicants must already hold an offer of a place to study in History before applying for a scholarship, and be due to commence their studies during the 2021-22 academic year.

    A variety of scholarships will be awarded ranging from fee bursaries to fee bursaries plus maintenance grants up to the value of £15,000.

    Eligibility: All full-time and part-time students with an offer of a place of study

    Applications for Postgraduate Scholarships can be made in all departments and their disciplines. To apply, please fill in the relevant application form. Please ask for two letters of recommendation to be sent to the PG Co-ordinator, Becky Sheppard.

    For terms and conditions and the current application form please follow this link. NB: The Department of History requires a research statement from all applicants. Students seeking MA funding should use the box designated for PhD and 1 plus 3 research proposals. 


    As you must already hold a place at the University to be eligible to be considered for funding, please ensure you have applied for your place already: we recommend you have submitted your place application by mid-January to be certain it can be approved in time.  To expedite the process, please state clearly in your application which  potential supervisor/s you have approached. 

    If you have any questions regarding this funding please contact Dr Mark Hurst


    Iredell Studentship

    The Department of History will offer up to two MA Studentships for 2021/22. The award consists of an 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

    Details of studentships available through the Department of History, and details of how to apply, will be advertised here in due course. 


  • 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 scheme


    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.