Find a programme
Run by Faculty of Arts
Awards available PhD, MPhil
Programme length MPhil: one year full-time;
two years part-time
PhD: three years full-time;
six years part-time
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available Yes
Start date January 2021
September 2021
January 2022

The PhD can be studied via distance learning. The MPhil will be offered via distance learning from September 2021.

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 three years (full-time, plus a writing up period), 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 2021/22

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2021/22 are as follows:

UK: full-time
UK: part-time
Overseas (including EU): full-time
Channel Islands/Isle of Man: full-time

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 scholarship

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a ten per cent reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni scholarship.

Funding for 2021/22

The University of Bristol is part of the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWW DTP), which will be offering studentships for September 2020. 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, (Senior Lecturer), Correspondence and friendship networks; intellectual, cultural and religious history; Judaeo-Christian relations ; late medieval and early modern Europe; Renaissance and Reformation.

Dr Victoria Bates, (Senior Lecturer), childhood and adolescence; crime and forensics; Modern history of medicine and the medical humanities, including histories of the arts and health; Sexuality

Professor Robert Bickers, (Professor), Modern China; Shanghai, Chinese Maritime Customs Service; 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), Histories of gender and sexuality; Histories of popular culture; Histories of youth

Professor Peter Coates, (Professor), animal history; Environmental history (including UK); environmental humanities; history of the American West; public history; US history

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

Dr Julio Decker, (Lecturer), American history since 1865; German imperial history; global history; history of capitalism; history of technology; migration ; race and racism

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

Dr Marianna Dudley, (Lecturer), Environmental history and the environmental humanities ; history of recreation; military; modern British landscapes ; waves and water

Dr Amy Edwards, (Lecturer), consumerism; Contemporary British social and political history; links between thatcherism and neoliberalism; mass culture and mass politics

Dr Andrew Flack, (Lecturer), Animal History; Environmental History; Histories of Darkness

Dr James Freeman, (Lecturer), Contemporary British political and economic history; digital humanities ; political rhetoric

Dr Mark Hailwood, (Lecturer in History 1400-1700), Drinking and drinking houses; History from Below; Popular Culture; Working life and identity

Dr Daniel Haines, (Senior Lecturer), colonial and post-colonial history, especially of South Asia; decolonization ; Environmental history; natural disasters

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

Dr Sam Hitchmough, (Senior Teaching Fellow & Director of Teaching)

Dr Anke Holdenried, (Senior Lecturer), Intellectual and cultural history, in particular medieval apocalyptic beliefs, their impact on political ideology, devotional context, and artistic representation; the role of prophecy in medieval culture and society manuscript studies.

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, (Senior Lecturer), 15th- to 17th-century British economic and social history; late medieval/early modern maritime history, particularly in relation to Bristol; smuggling, shipping and discovery

Dr Simeon Koole, (Lecturer in Liberal Arts and History), Cultural history of modern Britain; Global histories of exchange; History of perception; Territorialization

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), 20th-century European social and cultural history, especially Germany; history of gender, family and sexuality; participatory research and co-production of historical research

Dr Jessica Moody, (Lecturer in Public History)

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

Dr Saima Nasar, (Lecturer in the History of Africa and its Diasporas)

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

Ms Tricha Passes, (Teaching Fellow), art and environmental awareness; Avant-garde modernism; class, race and gender in visual culture; transition from late modernism to postmodernism; visual culture of nineteenth century U.S.A

Dr Benjamin Pohl, (Senior Lecturer), Anglo-Norman England; Cultural Memory Studies ; Europe and the British Isles; Historical Writing; Manuscript Studies ; Medieval History; Monasticism; Normandy; Palaeography and Codicology

Dr William Pooley, (Lecturer), Creative History Writing ; Folklore; Gender History; Historical Anthropology; History from Below; Medical History; Modern French History (since 1789); the Occult; Witchcraft

Dr Simon Potter, (Professor), 19th- and 20th-century history of the ' British world' ; history of the press and broadcasting; the impact of empire on Britain.

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), Anti-apartheid; anti-colonialism and transnational political cultures; Modern African political and social history, with a particular focus on South Africa.

Professor Brendan Smith, (Professor), Medieval Britain and Ireland; medieval colonialism; medieval frontier societies.

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), Modern Britain; political, intellectual and cultural 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

How to apply
Application deadline:

January 2021 start: 2 December 2020
September 2021 start: 2 August 2021
January 2022 start: 1 December 2021

Open days and visits

Watch on-demand recordings from November's virtual open week.

Get in touch

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

Faculty of Arts
University of Bristol
7 Woodland Road
School website: School of Humanities
Department website: Department of History

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, applying for a visa and the support we offer to international students.

Bristol Doctoral College

The Bristol Doctoral College facilitates and supports doctoral training and researcher development across the University.

REF 2014 results

  • History:
  • 25% of research is world-leading (4*)
  • 48% of research is internationally excellent (3*)
  • 24% of research is recognised internationally (2*)
  • 3% of research is recognised nationally (1*)

Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.


Important disclaimer information about our programmes.

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