History (MPhil / PhD)

Year of entry


Start date

October 2017, January 2018 or April 2018


Fully Approved


Up to four years full-time or seven years part-time


Regular meetings with your supervisor(s)

Other entry years for this course


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 2014 Research Excellence Framework, History at Birkbeck was ranked 6th 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 16th to the 18th centuries; Russian history since 1800; 19th- and 20th-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 19th and 20th 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 19th and 20th centuries; and the cultural history of death, warfare, race, gender and sexuality.

Find out more about our current MPhil/PhD students and their areas of research.

Read more


  • Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 13th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2016-17 World University Subject Rankings.
  • Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • The Department of History, Classics and Archaeology is internationally recognised for innovative research, focusing on the interaction between cultural, social and political history, ranging from antiquity to the 21st century, and covering Britain, Europe, Africa, Asia and North America.
  • The School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy welcomes all students interested in beginning a research degree. We combine a unique expertise in catering for part-time students with considerable success in attracting full-time students from the UK and overseas.
  • 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. View the department's full-time academic staff.
  • In recent years, a number of students have successfully applied for funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as well as other sources. Many of our students come from outside the UK. Some are studying for a research degree out of personal interest, while others are undertaking research with the aim of pursuing an academic career in due course.
Book an open evening Order a prospectus Contact us
Visit the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology