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Entry requirements

Confirmed (or predicted) Merit or above at MA level, with a distinction in the dissertation.

Months of entry

January, April, October

Course content

A research degree offers you the opportunity to acquire a highly advanced set of conceptual skills developed in the pursuit of new knowledge, which can be applied within or beyond an academic or scholarly context. Research training in any academic discipline helps to channel creativity into critical innovatory reasoning. The legitimate authority of original, independent research depends upon persuasive analytical arguments supported by critically evaluated evidence.

An MPhil/PhD is an advanced postgraduate research degree that requires the submission of a substantial dissertation of 60,000 to 100,000 words. At Birkbeck, you are initially registered on an MPhil and you upgrade to a PhD after satisfactory progress in the first year or two. You need to find a suitable academic supervisor at Birkbeck, who can offer the requisite expertise to guide and support you through your research. Find out more about undertaking a research degree at Birkbeck.

In the most recent Research Excellence Framework, History at Birkbeck was ranked sixth in the UK for the percentage of our research deemed world-leading or internationally excellent.

We provide a supportive context for research in the following areas: ancient Greece and Roman social and cultural history; late antiquity; history of medieval societies and cultures; British social, cultural and political history since 1400; French history since 1400; Italian history since 1500; the cultural history of early modern cities, especially London and Venice; the history of ideas from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries; Russian history since 1800; nineteenth- and twentieth-century American social and cultural history; Balkan history and the history of the Ottoman Empire and its successor states; West and Southern Africa in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; the history of Japan and East Asia; the history of modern Germany, France and Italy; the history of science, medicine and psychoanalysis in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; and the cultural history of death, warfare, race, gender and sexuality.

Highlights
  • The Department of History, Classics and Archaeology is an international centre of excellence. Since 2001 we have consistently been in the top ten departments evaluated by the Research Excellence Framework (REF).
  • Our research is unique in its range across geographical and chronological boundaries. We are the only university department in London to include historians, classicists and archaeologists investigating every period from prehistory to the early twenty-first century. We see the study of the past as crucial for our understanding of present-day society, culture and politics.
  • You will gain from working with internationally renowned specialist supervisors in your chosen field of research. You will broaden your range of academic and intellectual contacts and significantly widen your general experience of academic life and institutions.
  • There are funding opportunities available for MPhil/PhD students in the School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy. In recent years, a number of students have successfully applied for funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Economic and Social Research Council ESRC), Wellcome Trust and other sources.
  • We are at the heart of academic London with access to unparalleled research resources. Situated very close by are: the Institute of Classical Studies, with its library, training facilities and seminars; the British Museum, with its extensive collection of classical antiquities; and the British Library, the largest national library in the world.
  • The Department is home to a number of affiliated research centres that actively run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research.

Information for international students

If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.5 in each of the sub-tests and at least 7.0 in writing.

If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

Fees and funding

PhD students resident in England can apply for government loans of over £26,000 to cover the cost of tuition fees, maintenance and other study-related costs.

Flexible finance: pay your fees in monthly instalments at no extra cost. Enrol early to spread your costs and reduce your monthly payments.

Fees discounts: If you are a member of a union that is recognised by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), you may apply for a 10% discount off your tuition fees.

Named in memory of Birkbeck’s former President, and one of the greatest historians of the twentieth century, the Eric Hobsbawm Postgraduate Scholarship fund offers financial assistance for research expenses (including travel, accommodation, conference fees and particular training needs) to doctoral students in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology.

The School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy attracts funding for studentships that ensure researchers of the highest standard can pursue their research with us. Find out more about research funding opportunities at Birkbeck.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MPhil/PhD
    full time
    12-48 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    84 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Name
Student Advice Service
Email
studentadvice@bbk.ac.uk
Phone
+44 (0)20 3907 0700