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Politics and Contemporary History MPhil / PhD

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This programme is offered within the Department of Political Economy, and focuses on research into politics, policy-making, and government in Britain in the recent past. We understand this broadly to include local politics, society and activism, economic policy and the City of London, as well as central government, foreign policy, political parties and Whitehall. Current supervisors include Dr Michael Kandiah, Professor Pat Thane, Dr Andrew Blick and Professor Roger Mortimore.

Within the Department of Political Economy, the Centre for British Politics and Government includes the Witness Seminar programme formerly run by the Institute of Contemporary British History, and works with History & Policy, directed by Dr Andrew Blick, which works for better public policy through an understanding of history by connecting historians, policy makers and the media.

 Examples of research projects

For examples of current staff research projects and PhD projects, see academic profiles and PhD student profiles. We also have a variety of research groups that each lead some specific research activities. 


Information is current, but staff members can change.

Key information

Duration MPhil: two years full-time, three years part-time. PhD: three years full-time, four to six years part-time. Research degree registration may begin in September or January.

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Further details

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy

Department Department of Political Economy



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Course detail


All students on the doctoral programme are initially registered for an MPhil. At the beginning of the programme you will work with your supervisors to assess your individual training needs. You will use this to develop a personalised training schedule that draws on foundational and advanced courses made available to you through the King’s Centre for Doctoral Studies, the London Interdisciplinary Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (LISS-DTP) and the Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network. These courses will hone your academic skills and prepare you for the demands of your specific research project.

After around 12 months (or the part time equivalent), you will demonstrate that you are ready for formal upgrade to the PhD programme. This involves the examination of a substantial document that shows (i) you have identified an original and interesting research problem and (ii) you have the skills and expertise to tackle it within the time available.

You will be supported throughout your PhD by two academic supervisors, who will provide expert advice and guidance on your progress and your project. Your project will culminate in the submission of a thesis of up to 100,000 words in length. Full-time students must submit their thesis within four years of the start of their registration. Part-time students must submit within seven years.

Course study environment

Each student has two supervisors and meets regularly with both, though typically more frequently with the primary supervisor. They are encouraged to attend relevant research seminars at King’s and elsewhere and to and to participate in the wide variety of conferences and events on offer at King’s. Many students get involved in the witness seminar programme during their studies.

Postgraduate training

Students have full access to training opportunities at King’s via the King’s Centre for Doctoral Studies and the London Interdisciplinary Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership, depending on their needs. These cover research training, research methods and wider issues such as publication strategy.

Head of group/division

The Post-Graduate Research Director is Dr Damien Bol, who can be contacted for specific enquiries. General questions about the application process should be directed to the Postgraduate Admissions Team.

Contact for information

Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office
tel: +44 (0)20 7848 7429
fax: +44 (0)20 7848 7200 

Contact email

Course website

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Contemporary History Res Entry Requirements
Minimum UK requirements  
  •  Master's degree with Merit in History, Politics, Public Policy, or other relevant discipline, with proven ability (such as in an undergraduate dissertation) for conducting extended research and writing.
  • In exceptional circumstances only, a Bachelors degree with 2:1 honours may be considered without further study where there is a convincing case based upon the candidate's broader work experience.
International requirements   Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
 English Language requirements Band B Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.


Application procedure

Students are encouraged to contact a potential supervisor to discuss their research proposal before submitting a formal application, and will usually come to King's to meet the supervisor at some point in the process (though email discussions can take place if this is not feasible). MPhil/PhD students are normally expected to have or be in the process of completing an appropriate Master's level degree as preparation for research. Relevant experience can be taken into account as well.

Personal statement and supporting information

Applicants are encouraged to approach potential supervisors prior to application.To identify a supervisor please look at our academic staff members on the following website: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/political-economy/about/people?role=Academics.

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

Contemporary 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). Please give information on why you wish to study at the ICBH, and if your first or second degrees are not in history or you have been out of education for some time, please give full details of any relevant experience or studies.

 Research Proposal Yes The proposal (up to 3,000 words plus references) 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 One academic reference is required. A professional reference 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

Approximately 10 FT, 10 PT.

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 particularly important if your application is successful, and you are required to meet any conditions and/or you need a Student Visa to study 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 2024 soon after the same intake has passed in 2023.

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

  • October 2023 entry – 24 July 2023 for Overseas fee status and 24 August 2023 for Home fee status  

  • February 2024 entry – 20 October 2023 for Overseas fee status and 20 November 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 2022/23

Full time tuition fees: £6,120 per year

Part time tuition fees: £3,060 per year

International Tuition Fees 2022/23

Full time tuition fees: £22,980 per year

Part time tuition fees: £11,490 per year

UK Tuition Fees 2023/24

Full time tuition fees: £6,540 per year

Part time tuition fees: £3,270 per year

International Tuition Fees 2023/24

Full time tuition fees: £24,360 per year

Part time tuition fees: £12,180 per year

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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Next steps

View our postgraduate guide

Learn more about postgraduate degree programmes at King's.

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