School of History

Research degrees

Queen Mary University of London has a dynamic and ambitious research culture, and our PhD researchers make a huge contribution to the School of History’s considerable achievements.

In the last Research Excellent Framework (2014), the School of History's research environment was judged fourth best in the UK. The experience and opportunities that we offer our PhD researchers will help you achieve your goals, develop your expertise and learn new skills.

Collegiality and collaboration

The School of History prides itself on providing a collegial and congenial environment for postgraduate research. Our History Research Forum (HRF) meets fortnightly and is an opportunity for PhD researchers and academic staff to get together in an informal setting. The HRF is organised and convened by PhD researchers and is a place to share your experiences (postivie and negative!) of academic life with people who have been there too!

Throughout your programme, all PhD researchers are supported by a supervisory team of at least two academic members of staff, as well as by the Director of Graduate Studies and the Research Manager. The PGR [Postgraduate Researcher] Student-Staff Liaison Committee is convened by the Director of Graduate Studies and meets once a semester. All PhD researchers are welcome to attend, and each year cohort has a nominated representative. A PGR representative also sits on the School's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

The School of History has a dedicated PhD research room (with computers), which is located in the Arts 2 Building alongside academic staff offices. Work space is also provided in QMUL's purpose-built Graduate Centre, which opened in 2017 and provides a focal-point for graduate study across QMUL.

Training tailored for historians

All first-year PhD researchers are expected to take part in the School's PGR Training Forum, which meets once a fortnight and is convened by the Director of Graduate Studies. The Training Forum is specifically tailored for historians and covers research skills, working methods and academic development. The School will also fund expert training externally when it is not provided by the university (e.g. in palaeography or digital humanities). 

The Language Centre provides weekly classes in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin and Arabic, and offers support for those for whom English is not their first language.

The Doctoral College offers interdisciplinary training and fosters collaborations between PhD researchers across QMUL.

All QMUL students and staff have free access to the research libraries at Senate House and the Institute of Historical Research (IHR). Many of our academic staff and PhD researchers are also involved in convening IHR seminarswhich draw national and international speakers and audiences at all levels of academic life. An IHR seminar can make for the perfect external forum in which to expose your research to an expert audience. 

Scholarships and financial support

QMUL invests around £12 million every year in it Principal's Studentship scheme, which funds PhD researchers (tuition fees and maintenance) for up to 3 years of study. The School of History is also supported through funding collaborations with various organisations from which QMUL PhD candidates can apply for scholarships (more information here).

In addition to its studentships schemes, all PhD researchers (whether or not their studies are funded) are eligible to apply for financial support during their programme:

  • The School of History PGR fund offers financial support for PhD researchers to attend conferences or carry out research trips.
  • The School of History will provide financial support for necessary external training programmes if not offered internally.
  • The QMUL Postgraduate Research Fund is open to applications from postgraduate researchers across QMUL. The fund supports travel and other expenses related to doctoral study.
  • The Doctoral College Initiative Fund supports and promotes creative and imaginative activities (e.g. public engagement events or conferences) organised by postgraduate researchers, which will enhance their research experience and their intellectual and/or professional development. 
  • QMUL subscribes to the Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding so postgraduate researchers can access free resources and guidance on finding and applying for funding.

International exchanges

Innovative research involves travel to archives in the UK and abroad, and is always helped by meeting experts in the field of research. The School of History runs several academic exchanges with international partners, which are excellent opportunities for our PhD researchers to present their research in global forums and to network with international scholars. All exchanges are funded by QMUL and its partner institutions, which include the Basel Graduate School of History, the University of Freiburg, the University of Delaware and Northwestern University, Chicago.

The exchanges provided me with a unique opportunity to liaise with like-minded scholars in Germany and to build cross-cultural connections.
— Katherine Rossy, who took part in our exchange with the University of Freiburg
I gained a better understanding of the broader academic culture in other national contexts, which is very useful when applying for postdoctoral funding in those countries.
— Joe Cronin, who took part in our exchange with the Basel Graduate School of History