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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

History is no longer accepting new applications.

Apply using the Applicant Portal

The Apply Now button on the right will take you to the Applicant Portal. There, you can create and submit your application and supporting documents, and you can also request your references.

An application is only complete when:

  1. you have submitted your application and supporting documents via the Applicant Portal
  2. you have paid the application fee if applicable. For further information on application fees, and which courses require an application fee, see here.
  3. your referees have provided their references.

If you miss the deadlines specified in this section, you will not be able to submit your application.

Processing times

Candidates are strongly advised to apply as early as possible, as we consider applications on a rolling basis (as they are received). This is especially important if you wish to work with a specific supervisor as each member of the academic staff will have a maximum number of students they can work with, and once this limit is reached they cannot accept additional students.

While we try to process all applications as quickly as possible, it can take six to eight weeks for the Faculty to process an application from the time we have received all the relevant documentation.


Interviews are required for all PhD students before an offer of admission can be made. This may be via telephone, video conference (eg Skype), or in person.

Selection Process

Candidates are strongly advised to apply as early as possible. We consider applications on a rolling basis (as they are received) and Supervisors can only take on limited numbers of students.

While we try to process all applications as quickly as possible, it can take between six and eight weeks for the Faculty to process an application for admission.

All applications are considered first by the Director of Postgraduate Training who will make an initial recommendation and will nominate a potential supervisor who will be asked to provide a second opinion.

Where the Faculty wishes to admit an applicant, a suitable supervisor must be found who has expertise in the proposed area of research. In some cases, applications will be sent to multiple supervisors before an appropriate match can be found. Sometimes good candidates cannot be admitted because an appropriate supervisor is not available.

Further information on How To Apply

Things You'll Need

In order to apply for this course you'll need to think about getting a few things ready before you apply.

  • Two academic references  
  • Transcript  
  • CV/resume
  • Evidence of competence in English  
    If required - you can check using our tool
  • Personal development questionnaire
  • Sample of work (2)
    Applicants should provide a sample of written work, in English. This is usually a thesis or one or two long essays. There is no set minimum or maximum word count for the writing sample(s), we simply recommend that students select one or two pieces of work that best represent their writing style. It is sensible (but not obligatory) to choose a piece of work which is at least roughly in the subject area in which you plan to do research.
  • Research proposal (M)
    Applicants should provide a research proposal of 600–1,000 words which includes the following: a simple and descriptive title for the proposed research; a rationale for the research; a brief historiographic context; and an indication of the sources likely to be used. Please title this document ‘Statement of Intended Research’. Applicants are encouraged to nominate a preferred supervisor, and are invited to contact members of the Faculty in advance of submitting their application to discuss their project (see our Academic Directory: Please note, this does not guarantee acceptance on to the course, nor that the student will be allocated to the nominated supervisor if admitted.

Gates Cambridge Scholarships

If you wish to be considered for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship you will also need to provide the following:

  • Gates Cambridge Reference  
  • Research Proposal (PhD applicants only)

See Gates Cambridge for more information.

How to Find a Supervisor

Prospective doctoral students are advised to identify a potential supervisor, whose research interests align with their own, before they apply. A sensible place to start would be the Faculty's Academic Staff Directory, which lists staff by Subject Group

Prospective students are encouraged to contact academics directly. Our staff are very used to receiving enquiries from prospective students and will generally be well-placed to recommend a colleague who may be a better fit, if they themselves are unavailable or unsuitable to the project.

(Please note: academic staff are normally very busy individuals, so please allow time for them to respond to your query. Whilst they may be able to give general guidance and advice on a proposed project, they will not be able to give you detailed feedback.)

Key Information

3-4 years full-time

4-7 years part-time

Study Mode : Research

Doctor of Philosophy

Faculty of History

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
May 16, 2024
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2024

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Course Funding Deadline
Dec. 5, 2023
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2023

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.

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