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

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The History Department at King’s is one of the top 5 history departments in Europe (QS Subject Rankings 2021). Our aim is to provide outstanding training and supervision in most branches of medieval, early modern and modern history to prepare students for careers both within the academy and beyond.

Department of History – 86% of its research rated either ‘world leading’ (4*) or ‘Internationally excellent’ (3*) in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021).

The department has strength in all periods (from late antiquity to the present day) across an array of global settings. It is closely associated with inter-disciplinary research centres such as the Sir Michael Howard Centre for the History of War, the Centre for Late Antique and Medieval Studies, and King’s Contemporary British History. 

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 65 staff and 90 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 hosts 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 on 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. There is also an option of undertaking a joint PhD with Hong University or the National University of Singapore.

Students in the history department are eligible to apply for full funding (fees and maintenance) from the London Arts and Humanities Consortium. Residence requirements apply. In addition to this a Hans Rausing studentship provides full maintenance and fees (either home or overseas) for a PhD student working on the history of science and technology. The department provides a number of additional bursaries to postgraduate students.

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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

Further details

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

Faculty Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Department Department of History



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Course detail


We offer 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 our staff pages

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: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/artshums/depts/history/research/res.aspx

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 Centre for Doctoral Studies 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 London Arts & Humanities Partnership (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

Professor Abigail Woods

Contact for information

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

Contact email

Course website

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

History Res Entry Requirements
Minimum UK requirements   
  • Bachelor's degree with 1st class or 2:1 honours degree and a Master of Arts with Distinction or Merit in a related subject.

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

International requirements   Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
English Language requirements Band C Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.

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.

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

You will be asked to submit the following documents in order for your application to be considered:

History research checklist
Personal Statement Yes

A personal statement is required. This can be entered directly into the online application form (maximum 4,000 characters) or uploaded as an attachment to the online application form (maximum 2 pages).

Research Proposal Yes The proposal (5 - 10 pages in length) should explain in some detail precisely the field of study that you want to contribute to and current research gaps, what you want to do and how you propose to do it. For advice on how to write a winning application, please visit the following page.
Previous Academic Study Yes A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing the subjects studied and marks obtained. If you have already completed your degree, copies of your official degree certificate will also be required. Applicants with academic documents issued in a language other than English, will need to submit both the original and official translation of their documents.
References Yes

Two references are required with at least one academic. Professional references will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago.

Other Optional Applicants may wish to include a CV (Resume) or evidence of professional registration as part of their application.



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

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible as we may need to request further information from you to assess your application. This is also important if your application is successful and you are required to meet any offer condition, and/or you need a Student Visa to study here at King’s.

The final application deadlines are detailed below; on these dates, the programme will close at 23:59 (UK time) and we will open for the corresponding intake in 2023 soon after the same intake has passed in 2022.

  • February 2022 entry – 12 November 2021 for Overseas fee status and 6 December 2021 for Home fee status

  • June 2022 entry – 1 April 2022 for Overseas fee status and 11 April 2022 for Home fee status

  • October 2022 entry – 29 July 2022 for Overseas fee status and 26 August 2022 for Home fee status

  • February 2023 entry – 21 October 2022 for Overseas fee status and 22 November 2022 for Home fee status

  • June 2023 entry – 3 April 2023 for Overseas fee status and 17 April 2023 for Home fee status

Please note that funding deadlines may be earlier than the application deadlines listed above.

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

International Foundation

Fees and funding

UK Tuition Fees 2021/22

Full time tuition fees:

£5,820 per year (MPhil/PhD, History Research)

£5,820 per year (MPhil/PhD, History Research with Hong Kong University or National University of Singapore)

Part time tuition fees: £2,910 per year (MPhil/PhD, History Research)

International Tuition Fees 2021/22

Full time tuition fees: 

£21,870 per year (MPhil/PhD, History Research)

£21,870 per year (MPhil/PhD, History Research with Hong Kong University or National University of Singapore)

Part time tuition fees: £10,935 per year (MPhil/PhD, History Research)

UK Tuition Fees 2022/23

Full time tuition fees:

£5,820 per year (MPhil/PhD, History Research)

£5,820 per year (MPhil/PhD, History Research with Hong Kong University or National University of Singapore)

Part time tuition fees: £2,910 per year (MPhil/PhD, History Research)

International Tuition Fees 2022/23

Full time tuition fees: 

£22,230 per year (MPhil/PhD, History Research)

£22,230 per year (MPhil/PhD, History Research with Hong Kong University or National University of Singapore)

Part time tuition fees: £11,115 per year (MPhil/PhD, History Research)


EU Students starting their programme in the academic year 2021/22 will pay international tuition fees.

These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.


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