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History PhD

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Programme description

The PhD is a three-year course of study in whcih the student prepares a thesis under the guidance of two supervisors with specialist expertise. The student's progress is monitored at regular meetings of the student's research panel (two sueprvisors plus an advisor), which also provides guidance on research training and career development. The aim of the programme is to produce students who are fully-fledged independent researchers, and students are from the outset given encouragement to disseminate their work at seminars and conferences and by publishing in high-quality locations. The programme culminates in the submission of an 80,000-word dissertation that makes an original contribution to historical knowledge.

Teaching and learning

As a postgraduate researcher in the History department, you will join a large and lively research community. We have 34 established members of staff engaged in research, often in ways that help to re-shape their fields, and there are also many historians working in other deparments and research institutes across the University, including the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine. In the last Research Assessment Exercise, 60% of our research was rated 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent', and the University is committed to investing in History, which has recruited ten new staff in the last two years. Our research interest stretch from the early middle ages to the end of the twentieth century, and our geographical range includes Britain, continential Europe, South and East Asia, Africa and the Americas. Full detaila can be found in our staff profiles

Your research will normally be supervised by two members of staf - usually from the History deparment, but it appropriate from another deparment in the School or University. Close supervisor based on regular production of written work is at the hear of the PhD student's working life. But your supervisors will aim to nurture your capacities as an independent researcher, and equally central to the learning process is your ability to take advantage of the wider opportunities offered by the University - seminars, conferences, reading groups, training courses, and the like. We offer one of the UK's fullest and most innovative training programmes in the humanities, artsmethods@manchester. This offers a rich menu of courses on methods (e.g. using medieval manuscripts, interview methods, using newspapers in research) and theory ('Using Marx'. 'Using Foucault', 'Using Cultural Studies') as well as researcher-led conferences organised by groups of PhD students (e.g. 'How does gender mean? Debates and applications in modern Britain'). Historians working on the interface with the social sciencesalso have access to teh social science counterpart, methods@manchester, which offers a similar range of opportunities. These two programmes are reinforced by the Humanities Researcher Development programme, which offers you generic training - e.g. on academic networking, or how to prepare for your viva - anda courses aiming to enhance your career development.

Note that this programme requires regular attendance at the University except during periods of approved 'fieldwork', i.e. archival reserch away from Manchester. It is not available on a distance-learning basis, since regular engagement with the University's research environment as well as with your supervisors is integral to your development as a researcher. Part-time students should ensure a minimum of two full days in the working week to their studies for the same reason; evening and weekend study on its own is unlikely to be sufficient.

Coursework and assessment

Your progress will be reviewed by your research panel, consisting of your two supervisors and one other member of staff. This will meet with you once per semester (or once per year for part-time students) to give you formal feedback on your work and report on your progress to the School. Please note that the first year of the PhD programme and the first two years of the part-time programme are probationary: at the end of this period, your panel is required to confirm that you have made satisfactory progress towards completion and may therefore proceed. Thereafter, progression through each year of the programme is dependent on your ability to produce evidence of continuing progression.

The PhD is assessed on the basis of a thesis up to 80,000 words. This is examined by two examiners, one of whom is external to the University. An oral examination is an integral part of the assessment process.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Support Office. Email: