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School of History


The School of History has a thriving postgraduate research community made up of over 60 doctoral researchers. We welcome enquiries and applications from potential doctoral students.

Admissions Requirements

Our usual requirement for entry onto the PhD programme is a strong first degree (B.A. Hons 2.1 or above) with a Merit or Distinction at Masters level (M.A. grade can be predicted at time of application but must be confirmed before enrolment).

We accept equivalent international qualifications.

We also welcome applications from students with unconventional educational backgrounds.

Admissions Process

1). Finding your supervisor

The first step, if you would like to complete your doctoral studies at QMUL, is to identify an academic supervisor whose research interests align with yours. The research of our academic staff is organised into three broad clusters, and you can read more about their individual work on their staff pages:

  • History of Thought, Emotion and Knowledge
  • National and International Society and Governance
  • Society, Culture and Belief

Once you have identified a potential supervisor, you should get in touch with them using their QMUL email address. You should briefly outline your research proposal and why you are approaching them as a prospective supervisor. Your email should be tailored to an individual academic, and you should not send general emails to multiple academics at once.

2). Writing your research proposal

Your research proposal forms a vital part of your application. Its quality, originality and feasibility will all be judged in the entry process and if you are applying for funding. 

The best proposals are developed in close consultation with prospective supervisors and prepared several months before any funding competition deadlines. 

Research proposals should be no longer than 1500 words.

Good proposals open up new research questions and have a clear set of theoretical objectives. Your proposal should demonstrate a good awareness of the existing historiography around your chosen subject, and you should show an understanding of how your own research will contribute to, as well as further, the scholarly debate. You also need to demonstrate a practical sense of the project’s feasibility. Your proposed programme of work should be achievable within the space of 36 months of full-time study. You should be able to complete your project within the necessary financial constraints of a studentship award or self-funding.

Every year, the admissions committee reviews a large number of applications, so it is important that your proposal is well written and clearly presented. Try to use short sentences, paragraphs and subheadings to provide clear structure. 

Your research proposal should contain the following:

  • your name
  • the proposed title of your thesis
  • the name of your proposed supervisor
  • a detailed summary of your aims and objectives: outline the central research questions you intend to pursue, and demonstrate the originality and significance of your approach (in and beyond academia)
  • a clear rationale: show how your work builds upon the current historiography (refer directly to wider scholarship), and establish the distinctiveness of your own theoretical position
  • a working methodology: show how you intend to pursue your research, and outline proposed sources of information (physical or digital archives) and the methods and perspectives you will use in analysing them
  • a timeline: include your proposed programme of research, writing and dissemination to demonstrate that the project can be completed in 36 months of full-time research or 72 months part time
  • a bibliography: provide a short outline list of the relevant literature in your research area

3). Applying online for admission

All PhD applications can be made online here. There are no deadlines, unless you are applying for funding, but we advise that applicants complete their online applications at least 6 weeks before their proposed start date. As part of the online application form, you will be asked to provide:

  • a one-page academic CV
  • a 1500-word research proposal (see above)
  • a one-page personal statement explaining why you would like to pursue a research degree, discussing personal trajectory, and demonstrating your fit with the School of History at Queen Mary University of London
  • two referees
  • proof of language proficiency (for international applicants)

4). Applying for funding

There are various funding schemes available both to UK and international students. Details of the main sources of funding are available on our postgraduate research funding page. For most scholarships, you need to apply separately to the funder. Most funders will expect you have secured an offer of admission from QMUL before you apply for funding.

Associate applications

The School of History welcomes applications from associate students who want to spend up to 12 months studying here. Applicants must be enrolled on a postgraduate degree programme at another university and must have identified a supervisor from among our academic staff. More information on the application process is available on our central associate admissions pages.

Contact for more information

Professor Kim Wagner, Director of Graduate Studies

Dr Claire Trenery, Research Manager

QMUL's research admissions team