Skip to main content

History Research MPhil/PhD, option of joint PhD with HKU/NUS



The History Department at King’s, is one of the top 10 history departments in Europe (QS rankings 2014) and our aim is to provide outstanding training and supervision in most branches of medieval, early modern and modern history to prepare students for careers in the academy and outside it. It has received the highest ratings for research in the RAE/REF since 1992. The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) confirmed the world-class standard of research undertaken in the School of Arts & Humanities and its leading international reputation. The Department of History is ranked 7th in the UK and 2nd in the Russell Group of universities according the framework's "power" metric, which takes into account both the quantity and quality of research activity.

You will be supervised by leading figures in your field, and participate in a lively and supportive historical research culture within the department (which has around 40 staff and 80 PhD students), and the wider London historical community, notably with our partners within the London Arts and Humanities Partnership, UCL and the School of Advanced Study (which includes the Institute for Historical Research). London also has quite outstanding library and archival resources for most historical specialisms, covering most of the world. We offer specialist supervision in many areas, including from the medieval to the modern periods, covering in each period, British and Irish, European, and Global and Imperial History, as well as the History of Science, Technology and Medicine.

The Department receives major research grants from the AHRC, Leverhulme Trust, British Academy and Wellcome Trust. Students work in projects including cooperative ones with museums and other organisations and participate in exchanges and visits with many partner organisations including the University of North Carolina and Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Follow King's history on facebook.

Key information

Duration Expected to be: MPhil minimum two years FT, three years PT; PhD minimum three years FT, four-six years PT. September to September, January to January or April to April.

Study mode Full-time,Part-time

Awarding institution King's College London/King's and HKU/NUS for joint programme

Faculty Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Department Department of History


Entry requirements

Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.

Minimum requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree with 1st class or 2:1 honours degree (or international equivalent)
  • and a Master of Arts with Distinction or Merit (or overseas equivalents) in a related subject.

Previous study need not be History but students without History degrees will be expected to show advanced skills of analysis and historical research which their potential supervisor considers necessary.

In exceptional cases, particularly strong applicants who do not hold a Distinction or Merit in their Master's degree may be considered. 

Those applying for the joint degree are encouraged to contact an academic at King's to develop research links with the partner.

Application procedure

Those intending to apply for research degrees in the department should search the staff pages on the history website to identify a supervisor appropriate to their intended field of study and contact them to discuss their research proposal in detail prior to making an official application. Once they have confirmed with their intended supervisor that the topic is one they would be able to supervise, applicants should apply online. Applications will not be considered until the department has received two references, an official transcript from the candidate's last place of study and a research proposal with the application. All applicants for graduate research will be interviewed and they may be requested to supply some written work on an appropriate subject with their formal application. Admission to our research programmes will initially be for the MPhil but we expect students to transfer to the PhD after an appropriate period, by agreement with their supervisor and the Departmental Postgraduate & Research Committee.

Personal statement and supporting information

No information required.

Course intake


Joint PhDs - Application advice

Applicants for the Joint PhD programme must contact the relevant departments at both universities before submitting an application in order to discuss the suitability of their topic for the joint programme and to locate potential supervisors. Applications should initially be submitted to the proposed home institution only, ie where the student will start and finish their programme. Students should note that acceptance onto the programme may take slightly longer than for single-institution PhDs because of the additional steps involved. Further details, including FAQs, can be found on the King’s Worldwide web pages.

Applicants who choose King’s as their home institution should apply through the online system, selecting the appropriate Joint PhD option from the drop-down list. In addition to the standard supporting documentation, applicants should submit a Travel Plan form indicating how they intend to divide their time between the two partner institutions. Students must spend a specified amount of time in each institution, details of which can be found in the ‘Notes’ section of the Travel Plan form.

It is recommended that students submit applications for the Joint PhD programme by the end of March to begin the following September.

Application closing date

There is no specific deadline for applications. Applications will be considered subject to the availability of places, thus we encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible. Please note funding applications may be subject to specific deadlines.


Course detail


We offer MRes, MPhil and PhD programmes, both full and part-time, for those wishing to do a research degree. We offer supervision across a wide range of fields, from modern global history to British and European medieval history, from the history of science, technology and medicine to recent British history. For full details of the research expertise of our staff see - Further details on our staff research expertise.

About the department
The Department of History at King's has a long and distinguished tradition in world leading, cutting-edge research. Our staff and research students are fully engaged in original historical scholarship, ranging from late antiquity to the present day. Our excellent PhD completion rate is the product of the individual care which we offer to our research students, and the stimulating research culture of which they are part. The department has consistently received very high ratings in the government’s research assessment exercises (RAE), as well as league tables, teaching assessments and National Student Surveys. To keep up with our latest news, we invite you to follow the department on facebook.

Research culture
With over 80 doctoral students, the Department of History boasts a lively and vibrant research culture. Research students are encouraged to present their work at the regular departmental seminar: presenting a short paper to this seminar is now part of the upgrade process from MPhil to PhD status. Staff and students play a leading role in several of the interdisciplinary research centres at King’s, within our Arts & Humanities Research Institute. They also regularly contribute to a wide range of specialist seminars at the Institute of Historical Research (IHR), many of which are convened by King's academics. We have recently joined forces with UCL and the University of London School of Advanced Study, bringing together our PhD provision within the London Arts & Humanities Partnership. LAHP offers an unrivalled range of training opportunities for research students, and brings together an unrivalled range of scholarly and supervisorial expertise. Up-to-date History MPhil/PhD student profiles, department publications and research projects can be found on our website:

Study in London
London offers unparalleled diversity and richness to historians of all periods, with the largest concentration of libraries and archives in the UK including the major document repositories at the National Archives, National Maritime Museum, Imperial War Museum, British Library, and the valuable library holdings here at King's, at the IHR and at Senate House.

Teaching opportunities
Research students can apply to become Graduate Teaching Assistants (usually from their second year onwards) to assist members of staff in delivering historical outline modules to undergraduate students. Full training is provided to enable students to make the best use of this opportunity to acquire valuable teaching experience.

Joint PhD programme
Exciting opportunities are available to undertake a joint PhD programme either with Hong Kong University (HKU) or the National University of Singapore (NUS). FAQs about joint PhDs can be found on the King’s Worldwide web pages.

Course study environment

All students are allocated two supervisors and are expected to meet with their primary supervisor (or both if jointly supervised) on a regular basis. Shared supervision across the partner institutions in LAHP is encouraged. Monthly supervision reports are filed for all full-time students and supervisors must submit progress reports every six months in consultation with the student. There will be a further review by two members of the department at the end of the student's first and third years. After 9-12 months the student will normally be upgraded from MPhil to PhD status with a transfer to 'writing up' status usually occurring after three years full-time study. Upon submission of the thesis, assessment is by means of an oral examination (viva).

Postgraduate training

The Department of History offers training in specific research skills, including palaeography and Latin, and the College's Modern Language Centre offers a wide range of language training. The King's Graduate School runs a Researcher Development Programme of personal, professional and career development activities for all research students. The postgraduate training programmes at King’s, UCL and SAS are currently being brought together within LAHP, greatly expanding the training opportunities available to all. The Institute of Historical Research (IHR), part of SAS, offers a comprehensive programme of short training courses in research skills for historians, which are complemented by the School of Advanced Study's Research Skills Workshops.

Head of group/division

Dr Adam Sutcliffe

Contact for information

Postgraduate Admissions, Admissions Office tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 1649 fax: +44 (0) 20 7848 7200

Contact email

Course website

Career prospects

Career destinations

Our students go on to careers in academia, teaching, the civil service and the public sector.


Welcome to King's

In the heart of London

Discover the advantages of studying at one of the top 20 universities in the world and take a look at our central London campuses.

Watch more videos

Fees and funding

AHRC, ESRC, Graduate School and Faculty of Arts & Humanities studentships and bursaries, self-funded.Overseas applicants should seek advice from the British Council on country-specific funding opportunities. Please see the King's postgraduate funding database for further funding opportunities:

Full time tuition fees - Home/EU
£4,600 (2016)

Full time tuition fees - Overseas 
£17,000 (2016)

Part time tuition fees - Home/EU
£2,300 (2016)

Part time tuition fees - Overseas
£8,500 (2016)

Please visit our web pages on fees and funding for more information.


Next steps

Upcoming events

Nov 26
Postgraduate Open Evenings - Arts & Sciences

An open evening is a great opportunity to explore …

Nov 27
Evening Physics Lectures at King's

Professor Carla Molteni and Clerk Maxwell Professo…

View our postgraduate guide

Learn more about postgraduate degree programmes at King's. Download or view our guide in PDF format.

Download guide View online

Apply now

Start your academic journey at King's College London.


Explore King’s

AccommodationTake a look at our comfortable, safe residences to suit your budget, located close to King's teaching campuses. 
Student lifeArt, food, music, shopping – you'll never find yourself with nothing to do in the world's most vibrant city.
Extra-curricularDiscover the huge variety of extra-curricular opportunities at King’s, from MOOCs to language courses.
London livingWith four campuses by the River Thames and one in south London, King's is right in the heart of the capital.