Research Degrees in


in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities


Do you want to advance or change your career, deepen your expertise in a topic, or expand your research and practical skills?

With a PhD or other postgraduate research degree in History you will:

  • Work with experts in the field. In the latest national research assessment exercise, 67% of our History research was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent (REF2014). We were ranked in the top 20 nationwide for our research impact (Times Higher Education).
  • Choose from our flexible study pathways. You can pursue a PhD, MPhil, or MA by Research with us, either full time or part time. You can also study as a distance learner from any part of the world.
  • Join a lively research environment. Our new History Research Centre provides a forum for cross-disciplinary research and public engagement activities. It also hosts an annual seminar series with contributions from distinguished external historians.
  • Benefit from close connections with cultural and archival industries. The Manchester Centre for Public History and Heritage prides itself on its publicly engaged research, and collaborates with local, national and international museums and archives.
  • Play a core part in local engagement projects. We encourage researchers to contribute to events such as the Manchester Histories Festival (now in its fifth year) and the Gothic Manchester Festival.
  • Undertake tailored personal and professional development training. The Postgraduate Arts and Humanities Centre provides a comprehensive development programme for research students.

Apply now

Areas of supervisory expertise

We can supervise a wide range of History research projects. We are proud of the broad geographical and temporal scope of our research. We have particular thematic expertise in:

  • Leisure, consumption and material culture
  • Religious and intellectual histories
  • War, conflict and society
  • Youth, gender and sexuality.

We can offer academic supervision in the following areas:

  • Ancient History
  • Medieval History
  • Early Modern History
  • American History post-1860
  • 19th and 20th century British history
  • History of Sport
  • Community history
  • Public history and heritage
  • Economic History.

Find out more about our staff's expertise

Research culture

Our dynamic research encompasses a wide range of topics and periods, from childhood in ancient Egypt to memorialisations of the Second World War, and from crusading bishops to youth cultures in modern Britain.

More about our research culture

You will become a member of our new History Research Centre, which brings together over 50 established and emerging scholars to undertake research and public engagement that addresses the important questions of history and the contemporary world. The History Research Centre organises lectures, seminars and engagement activities throughout the year.

We are a world-leading centre of public history. For over 20 years, the Manchester Centre for Public History and Heritage (formerly the Manchester Centre for Regional History) has undertaken rigorous, impactful research into the relationships connecting people, places and the past. You will benefit from our strong links with local heritage bodies in the North West, including the People’s History Museum, The National Trust and Chetham’s Library, Manchester.

You will also be a member of our Postgraduate Arts and Humanities Centre (PAHC). PAHC is a dedicated forum for postgraduate students in the Arts and Humanities. It provides:

  • HARTS Online, an online community, news and events portal
  • A thorough research development programme
  • A space for cross-disciplinary discussion, support and experimentation
  • Hive, an academic e-journal, edited by current students
  • RAH!, an innovative programme of socially and culturally engaged public engagement events.

Courses offered, duration, and start dates

Programmes offered

  • PhD (3 years full time, 6 years part time)
  • PhD by Published Work or Professional Practice (course duration varies by route taken and candidate's background)
  • Master's by Research (1 year full time, 2 years part time)
  • MPhil (18 months full time, 36 months part time).

Find out more about the different research degrees we offer

Start dates

The majority of our students enrol in October. We offer further enrolment points in January and April.

Distance learning

Research degrees are available to study on-campus or through distance learning.

Career prospects

Our intellectually rigorous research degrees will equip you with the necessary skills to pursue academic research in History and related disciplines.

Our emphasis on public engagement and comprehensive research training equips you with higher-level skills, which will allow you to go on to senior roles in a range of professions. You will also have the opportunity to gain valuable connections with archivists, historians, librarians, community archaeologists, curators, conservationists, and a range of other roles within the cultural and archival sectors.

Course structure

This course is research based. You will independently conduct research into your own topic or a topic that we advertise. Your supervisory team will offer expert guidance throughout your studies and review work in progress.

Each year, you will follow a programme of training and development to enhance your research methods, subject-matter expertise and professional skills.

Fees and funding

Find out more

Postgraduate Research Degrees Fees

Please refer to our Fees page for more information on tuition fees.

Loans for research degrees

Many of our PhD and Professional Doctorate programmes are eligible for the government's Doctoral Loan Scheme. MPhil and MA/MSc by Research degrees are eligible for a Postgraduate Loan.

Find out more about tuition fees and financial support


Each year we offer a number of competitive scholarships to support high quality research projects. Current scholarship opportunities in History are advertised on our site.

Sign up to be notified when relevant scholarships are advertised

North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership

We are a member of the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership which allows us to offer fully funded scholarships in the Arts and Humanities. Please contact us for more information.

Entry requirements

Find out more

You should, as a minimum, have a first or 2.1 honours degree or an equivalent qualification. We also expect that you will have an MA or Masters level degree, but in exceptional circumstances may offer you a place to study a PhD without an MA.

International students must demonstrate a sufficiently high standard of English language ability.

We welcome interest from applicants from non-standard backgrounds. We will take subject knowledge, professional experience, publications, or other appropriate evidence of accomplishment into consideration.

See more about our standard entry requirements.


Before applying for a research degree, you should have a preliminary discussion with a member of staff about your project and ideas. To arrange this, please email Dr Kathryn Hurlock,, the Research Degrees Co-ordinator for History.

For further information on the application process, contact the Faculty’s research degrees administration team:, +44 (0)161 247 5412.

How to apply

Apply now

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online using the link below. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Before you apply, you should discuss your project with a member of academic staff. You should also complete the Postgraduate Research Degree Supplementary Information form which you will then upload to the ‘Student documents’ section of the application form. This collects key information about your research application and there may be delays if you do not submit this document.

Apply now
Postgraduate Study