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Guidance for prospective MPhil/PhD students

Birkbeck's Department of History, Classics and Archaeology is a world-renowned centre of original, influential research (the 2021 Research Excellence Framework ranked us third for world-leading outputs with 63% in the 4* category). We offer specialised research supervision from world experts over a huge range of areas from pre-history to the present. Particular strengths include transnational history, history of medicine, cultural history, the materiality of the archive, the history of consumption.

Our unique location in Bloomsbury gives you unrivalled access to world-class museums, libraries and specialist institutes, while our membership of the AHRC-funded consortium CHASE and the ESRC-funded consortium UBEL offers our students access to a range of research networks and training opportunities, as well as studentship funding.


Each postgraduate research student works closely with a specialist supervisor (or supervisors), who oversees their work even before a formal application is made and guides them through critical stages such as the upgrade from MPhil to PhD and preparing for submission.

At Birkbeck, most students have a main supervisor and a second supervisor so as to maximise the range of expertise you can draw on; interdisciplinary projects are very welcome and we also co-supervise with colleagues in Arts and Humanities and other departments; you will also have a tutor to help you through your years of research.

Regular lunch-time seminars and study days offer opportunities to expand academic horizons (and socialise with others). Birkbeck researchers are closely involved in seminar series in the Institute of Historical Research and the Institute of Classical Studies.

Training offered at departmental level for our MPhil/PhD students includes:

  • Graduate Research Symposium: student-led events where you can present your work in a relaxed, supportive environment.
  • Thesis-Writing Workshops: you can submit 2500 words of writing for the group to workshop ( for more information).
  • Methodological Masterclasses: hear professional historians discuss different methodological approaches.

Start your research journey

Thinking of doing an MPhil/PhD? Check the following to find out more about studying in our department. It is essential that you contact a potential supervisor before making an application.