Find a programme
Run by Faculty of Arts
Awards available PhD, MPhil
Programme length MPhil: one year full-time;
two years part-time
PhD: four years full-time (minimum period of study three years);
eight years part-time
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available Yes
Start date January 2022 September 2022 January 2023 The MPhil and PhD can be studied via distance learning.

Programme overview

MPhil: a standalone, one-year (full-time) research degree. Students will undertake their own research project, concluding in the submission of a 25,000 word dissertation. Students may have the option to audit units from our taught master's courses if they are relevant to their research.

PhD: a research project undertaken across four years (full-time, minimum period of study three years), culminating in an 80,000 word thesis. As well as having the option to audit taught units, there may be the potential for PhD students to teach units themselves from their second year of study onwards.

The Department of History delivers expert postgraduate supervision, delivered by internationally recognised scholars in a wide range of subject areas. The department offers a lively research community in the setting of an exciting city and region with a rich heritage. Excellent research resources are available for postgraduate study locally (for example in the library’s Special Collections department and its print holdings), online through the library’s database subscriptions, and in easy striking distance of the city.

Members of the department publish and supervise research in a range of areas within the broad fields of cultural, social, economic and political history. We cover the medieval, early modern and modern periods, and offer expertise on specialist topics such as public history, global and transnational history, digital humanities, environmental history, imperial and colonial history, contemporary history and the history of medicine.

Prospective applicants should make contact with a potential supervisor (please see the staff profiles below) before submitting an application to discuss their proposed research questions, the state of the proposed field of study and appropriate primary source material.

Fees for 2022/23

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2022/23 are as follows:

UK: full-time
UK: part-time
Overseas: full-time

Following the recent changes to fee assessment regulation, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students will no longer be charged a separate tuition fee. From the 2021/22 academic year they will be charged the same fees as Home students.

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.

Alumni discount

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a 25% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni discount.

Funding for 2022/23

The University of Bristol is part of the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWW DTP), which will be offering studentships for September 2022. For information on other funding opportunities, please see the Faculty of Arts funding pages.

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Entry requirements

MPhil: An upper second-class degree or international equivalent. Please note, acceptance will also depend on evidence of your readiness to pursue a research degree.

PhD: A master's qualification, or be working towards a master's qualification, or international equivalent. Applicants without a master's qualification may be considered on an exceptional basis, provided they hold a first-class undergraduate degree (or international equivalent). Applicants with a non-traditional background may be considered provided they can demonstrate substantial equivalent and relevant experience that has prepared them to undertake their proposed course of study.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level:
Profile C
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Admissions statement

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Admissions statement

Research groups

The best guide to the strengths of the department is the list of staff profiles below – browse these to see who we are and what we do. All staff will welcome contact from prospective postgraduate researchers.

As a department, we seek to foster a welcoming and inclusive environment in which collaboration and discussion among those working on many different places and time periods comes naturally. As part of a wider programme of organised events for postgraduates within the department, regular research seminars bring together staff and postgraduate students and researchers, with speakers from Bristol and a number of visiting experts. The department also provides opportunities to workshop postgraduate research and to discuss research with others across the University and beyond. Specialist workshops on key fields of shared interest provide a focus for research groups.

Postgraduate students have opportunities to organise and participate in a range of other events at the departmental level, and to collaborate with colleagues across the School of Humanities and the Faculty of Arts. The department is actively engaged with the GW4 group of universities; the South West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWW DTP); and with other universities and consortia across the country and around the world (such as the Worldwide Universities Network).

The department is committed to public engagement and public history, and to working with libraries, archives, galleries and other institutions in Bristol, the South West and further afield.


Some graduates of this programme go into academic posts or post-doctoral positions. Others take their skills in research and written/oral communication into a host of other professions.

Staff profiles

Dr Kenneth Austin, (Associate Professor), toleration and persecution; history of friendship; Judaeo-Christian relations; Late medieval and early modern intellectual, cultural and religious history, especially the Renaissance and Reformation; letter-writing and correspondence networks

Dr Victoria Bates, (Associate Professor), arts and health; crime and forensics; hospital design; illness, senses and emotions; Modern history of medicine and the medical humanities; sexuality

Professor Robert Bickers, (Professor), history of photography; Modern China; Shanghai, Hong Kong; Sino-British relations; social, cultural and political history of colonialism and imperialism.

Professor Hilary Carey, (Professor), British imperial and colonial history, religious history; history of astrology; HMC; settler colonialism

Dr Fernando Cervantes, (Reader), Early modern Europe, especially Spain and Spanish America; intellectual and religious history ; late medieval.

Dr Hannah Charnock, (Lecturer in British History), feminist activism and social politics; modern histories of gender and sexuality; oral history; popular culture; twentieth-century British social and cultural history; youth and childhood

Professor Peter Coates, (Professor), environmental history of the US, UK and elsewhere (since 1800 but earlier centuries too); environmental humanities approaches; environmental perspectives on public history; histories of environmentalisms; histories of nonhuman animals, great and small, terrestrial and aquatic; history of the American West

Professor Tim Cole, (Professor), Digital humanities; historic landscapes; Holocaust history (especially in Hungary) ; Holocaust memory and representation ; public history.

Dr Lucy Donkin, (Lecturer), environmental humanities ; Medieval cultural history; medieval Italy; place, space and maps; religious history; visual culture

Dr Marianna Dudley, (Lecturer), histories of environment and society in modern Britain; histories of renewable energy; military environmentalism; modern environmental history and the environmental humanities; tides, winds and waves

Dr Amy Edwards, (Lecturer), ‘everyday’ politics and social activism; consumer society; contemporary British history, especially histories that explore the interactions between economic, social, cultural and political life; cultures of capitalism, finance and enterprise; financialization; neoliberalism; popular culture; Thatcherism

Dr Andrew Flack, (Lecturer), disability histories; environmental histories of tourism; environmental history and education (secondary and tertiary); histories of Bristol and the South West; histories of environment and society across the UK and North America, especially histories of nonhuman animals and histories of extreme environments; histories of science, technology, and exploration; sensory and emotions histories

Dr James Freeman, (Lecturer), Conservative, Liberal and Labour party histories; contemporary British political and economic history; digital humanities and data science; history of ideas and political thought; neoliberalism; political rhetoric

Dr Mark Hailwood, (Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History), history from below/everyday life in England c.1550-1750, especially work, drink, and literacies

Dr Daniel Haines, (Senior Lecturer), colonial and post-colonial history, especially of South Asia; decolonization and international history; development history; environmental history; historical hydropolitics; history of emotions and subjectivity; natural disasters

Dr Erika Hanna, (Senior Lecturer), history of cycling ; Irish history; urban history; visual culture, history of photography

Dr Sam Hitchmough, (Senior Lecturer & Director of Teaching), African American history late C19th to present; American Indian history C19th to present, particularly Red Power and protest history; Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show ; C20th American history; notions of American identity and authenticity

Dr Anke Holdenried, (Senior Lecturer), cultural history, especially approaches to the future and medieval ideas about time, apocalypticism, and prophecy & prognostication; history of scholarship; interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary dialogue; manuscript studies; migration and transmission of ideas in the medieval world

Dr Adrian Howkins, (Reader in Environmental History), British Imperialism and Decolonisation; Environmental History; History of Antarctica; History of the Arctic; Latin America; National Parks

Professor Ronald Hutton, (Professor), Early modern British political, military, religious and social history; the history of the ritual year in Britain and of pagan religions; witchcraft and magic in Europe.

Dr Grace Huxford, (Senior Lecturer), Cold War; oral history; prisoners of war; social history of warfare; Twentieth-century British social and cultural history

Dr Evan Jones, (Associate Professor in Economic History), 15th- to 17th-century British economic and social history; late medieval/early modern maritime history, particularly in relation to Bristol; smuggling, shipping and exploration

Dr Sarah Jones, (Lecturer in the History of Sexuality and Gender), gender history; histories of sexuality; history of games and play; LGBTQ+ history; sexual science; sexuality, gender and print culture

Dr Simeon Koole, (Lecturer in Liberal Arts and History), history and philosophy of science; history of emotions; history of photography; history of sexuality; modern British cultural history; port cities; sensory history; urban history

Dr Su Lin Lewis, (Senior Lecturer), 20th Century Asian social and cultural history, especially Southeast Asia; Afro-Asia; civil society; colonial modernity; decolonisation ; gender and feminism ; global history; migration ; Port-cities; urban heritage in Asia

Dr John Lyons, (Reader in Religion and History), reception history of the Bible and other sacred texts across a wide range of geographical settings and time periods; Religion and culture; the Deaf Church

Dr Stephen Mawdsley, (Lecturer), history of medicine and health, especially race relations, disability, disease, and immunisation; 20th century United States

Dr Josie McLellan, (Professor), history of gender, family and sexuality; participatory research and co-production of historical research; social and cultural history, especially Germany and the UK

Dr Keith McLoughlin, (Lecturer in History), defence and the military; foreign policy and international relations; four nations history; history of contemporary British politics and society; industry and trade unions; modern Ireland; technology and science

Dr Jessica Moody, (Lecturer in Public History)

Dr Sumita Mukherjee, (Associate Professor), 19th and 20th-century imperial history, especially of Britain and South Asia; Black and Asian histories of Britain; gender; race and ethnicity; South Asian migration; travel-writing

Dr Saima Nasar, (Lecturer in the History of Africa and its Diasporas), histories of race, empire and immigration

Professor Olivette Otele, (Professor in History of Slavery), British and French colonial history; link between history, collective memory and geopolitics; Transnational history

Dr Benjamin Pohl, (Senior Lecturer), Anglo-Norman England and Normandy; cultural memory studies ; historical writing; history of the Book; manuscript studies ; medieval Europe and the British Isles; medieval history; Monasticism; palaeography and codicology

Dr William Pooley, (Senior Lecturer), creative historical writing ; folklore; gender history; historical anthropology; history from Below; medical history; modern French history (since 1789); modern witchcraft; the Occult

Dr Simon Potter, (Professor), global history and the history of internationalism; history of the British empire (C19th and C20th); history of the mass media (press, radio, television)

Professor Martyn Powell, (Professor, Head of School), American History; British History; Irish History; Political History; Public Sphere and Civil Society; Social History

Dr John Reeks, (Lecturer), Early modern political and religious history, particularly in relation to the history of the English parish church; English Civil War; History of the University of Bristol

Dr Richard Sheldon, (Senior Lecturer), 18th- and 19th-century British social and economic, especially the history of radicalism and protest movements; economic thought; history of famines and famine relief.

Dr Rob Skinner, (Lecturer in Modern History), anti-apartheid; anti-colonialism and transnational political cultures; food, ethics and political activism; modern South African social and political history; social protest and social movements

Professor Brendan Smith, (Professor), digital humanities and medieval history; medieval Britain and Ireland; medieval colonialism; medieval frontier societies; post-medieval reception of the Middle Ages

Dr Richard Stone, (Teaching Fellow in Early Modern History), Early Modern social, economic, and maritime history of Britain and the Atlantic World (16th - 18th Century), in particular: trade, local history (Bristol) early America, piracy, and drinking studies (cider)

Dr James Thompson, (Reader), history of numeracy; ' big data' ; comparative history; modern Britain; political, intellectual and cultural history; visual and political culture

Dr Shaun Wallace, (Lecturer in United States History), histories of slavery, race, and print culture in the United States (17th - 19th century); modern United States social history

Dr Ian Wei, (Senior Lecturer), contemporary higher education policy; Intellectual culture in medieval Europe; modern and contemporary history of universities ; the medieval university of Paris; the social and political views of medieval European intellectuals

Apply now

Find out how to apply

Application deadline

January 2022 start: 1 December 2021
September 2022 start: 1 August 2022
January 2023 start: 1 December 2022

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Get in touch

Faculty of Arts Postgraduate Research Admissions Phone: +44 (0) 117 428 2296 Email: artf-pgadmissions@bristol.ac.uk

Faculty of Arts
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School website: School of Humanities
Department website: Department of History

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