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History Research Degrees: PhD & MPhil

The History and Welsh History Department provides research supervision in:

As part of the wider School, the Department has dedicated facilities for postgraduate study and has an active programme of research seminars. The Department has an active research culture and is closely involved with a number of interdisciplinary research groups including the Centre for the Study of Medieval Society and Culture, Cardiff Centre for the Crusades, CISSMI Research Group and the Cardiff Centre for German History, and developed links with other Schools at Cardiff and with other universities in Britain and Europe.

The Department offer two types of research-only postgraduate degrees: the Masters of Philosophy (MPhil) and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Both degrees can be taken as full- or part-time courses.

MPhil in History

The MPhil is a research-only degree with no taught components. Students work under the supervision of a member of academic staff on an area of staff specialism. The MPhil is assessed wholly by the completion of a dissertation of approximately 50,000-60,000 words. The MPhil dissertation may be an extended argument and synthesis or a piece of original research; in any event, it includes a large degree of originality and independent, self-motivated work. The MPhil involves one or two years of full-time study, or a minimum of two years part-time.

For students who have recently completed an undergraduate degree in History and who wish to continue study in this area, we highly recommend the MA in History, the MA in Welsh History or an MA in a related discipline. It is our experience that the major funding bodies (AHRC, ESRC) which offer grants to support postgraduate study favour applicants who wish to take a taught masters course after their undergraduate degree.

Entry requirements: A degree from an approved UK or overseas university or a recognised professional qualification acceptable to Cardiff University; or for applicants over 25 years of age, a minimum of two years' experience in a position of responsibility relevant to the proposed course of study. Applicants should normally possess a first degree in History (or related field) with first or good upper second class Honours.

PhD in History

The PhD is the major professional qualification in the academic community. Assessment is by dissertation of c. 80,000 words and the course takes a minimum of three years (full-time) or five-years (part-time). The PhD has two fundamental objectives:

  • To provide scholastic or scientific training and expertise in a particular field; and
  • To facilitate an original contribution to knowledge.

Students work intensively under the supervision of a member of academic staff who is an expert in their field. Independence, maturity and determination are the hallmarks of the successful PhD student. Though it was the case in the past, it is now extremely unknown for students to progress directly from their undergraduate degree to the PhD. We recommend, and the funding councils agree, that students are much better served by completing a taught MA in History or a related discipline

All new MPhil/PhD students, if they do not have the appropriate level of research training, are expected to attend the Historical Theory and Historical Methods module and take the Research Skills module to equip them with essential skills for postgraduate research.

Entry requirements: A degree from an approved UK or overseas University or from the CNAA or a professional qualification deemed by Cardiff University to be equivalent to graduation. Applicants should normally possess a first degree in History (or related field) with first or good upper second class Honours and most students admitted to undertake research at PhD level have usually completed some work at MA level (normally an MA/MSc degree). In addition, the subject and scope of PhD dissertations will be such that they can be completed within three to four years.


Any student who wishes to apply for a Postgraduate Research Degree in History at Cardiff is strongly advised to contact the relevant member of staff to discuss their interests and the particular potential that Cardiff can offer the student in their specialist area of study. For students who plan to apply for external funding (i.e. the Arts and Humanities Research Council) it is essential that they begin planning their applications in collaboration with their potential supervisor as early as possible.

Funding Opportunities

History is one of the subject areas covered by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Block Grant Partnership award to Cardiff for study at Masters level and the School has Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) recognition for 1+3 funding. Details of how prospective candidates can apply for AHRC postgraduate studentships can be found at and for the ESRC at

For more information contact:

Admissions Tutor for Postgraduate History

Prof Peter Edbury

Position:Emeritus Professor of Medieval History
Professor Peter Edbury
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