The Department of History delivers expert postgraduate supervision 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 close proximity to the city.

Members of the History 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. Our research culture is diverse and dynamic, and our collective work includes interests in political culture, studies of people and ideas on the move, environmental history, public and creative histories, and work on visual and material culture alongside colleagues in the Department of the History of Art.

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

In addition to topics focusing on single research areas, we actively encourage interdisciplinary research that cuts across the spectrum of historical studies, or other intellectual disciplines in the Faculty of Arts and beyond.

Programme structure

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 MPhil and PhD can be studied via distance learning.

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.

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

Go to admissions statement

If English is not your first language, you will need to reach the requirements outlined in our profile level C.

Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Fees and funding

UK: full-time
£4,758 per year
UK: part-time
£2,379 per year
Overseas: full-time
£20,700 per year

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to an 8% increase in fees each year.

More about tuition fees, living costs and financial support.

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 2024/25

The University of Bristol is part of the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWW DTP), which will be offering studentships for September 2024. For information on other funding opportunities, including University-funded studentships, please see the Faculty of Arts funding pages.

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

Career prospects

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.

Meet our supervisors

The following list shows potential supervisors for this programme. Visit their profiles for details of their research and expertise.


Research groups

The best guide to the strengths of the department is the list of staff profiles - browse these to discover who we are and what we do. All staff will welcome contact from prospective postgraduate researchers and we recommend that you get in touch with potential supervisors in the early stages of your application.

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 has links with a variety of research centres and groups both within and outside the University. These include the major University Research Institutes such as the Brigstow Institute as well as inter-disciplinary centres based in the Faculty of Arts such as the Centre for Black Humanities, the Centre for Medieval Studies, and the Centre for Environmental Humanities. Research students in the Department also participate in the vibrant networks of historical research connected with groups including the Hong Kong History Centre and the Bristol-Exeter Modern British History group.

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, including the Bristol Museums and Archives and the SS Great Britain.

Through these links and networks, our postgraduate research students have opportunities to organise and participate in a range of events and collaborate with colleagues, across the School of Humanities, the Faculty of Arts, the wider University, and beyond.

The department is also 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).

Contact us


Faculty of Arts Postgraduate Research Admissions

+44 (0) 117 428 2296