University Of Aberdeen History PHD
You can study for a PhD in History if you have a passion for the subject. Staff come from all over the UK with a variety of specialisms and research interests.
Established in 1898, the History department offers a warm welcome to new students and genuine commitment to providing postgraduate teaching and supervision informed by top-quality research. We offer expertise in a very wide range of subjects from Classical to Modern times, with many staff at the cutting edge of their respective fields. With a vibrant research culture, the department uses a range of research centres (for example, Irish and Scottish Studies; Scandinavian Studies; Global Empires) not just to facilitate research by staff but also to support its large postgraduate community, for example with regular research workshops. Our work is reflected in the achievements of recent graduates that include awards of prestigious fellowships at the Institute of Historical Research. Likewise our experienced and committed teachers and supervisors will strive to enrich your experience at the University of Aberdeen and enable you to realise your ambition.
Aberdeen was ranked the leading University in Scotland in History for Research Impact and 2nd in the UK for Outstanding Impact after the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. These outstanding results reflect a strong commitment to research innovation.
All staff pursue active research interests, with many at the cutting edge of their respective fields. With attention to interdisciplinary approaches, our scholarship regularly gains national and international recognition.
The University’s Sir Duncan Rice Library’s Special Collections Centre holds a major international archive of Jacobite material, the MacBean Collection, and has a very significant holdings on the Scottish Enlightenment. It is the repository of the outstanding archive of Scottish Catholic heritage, and it also houses landed estate papers dating from the middle ages, along with many important printed collections.
Key research areas include:
- Irish and Scottish Studies
- Scandinavian Studies
- Medieval and Early Modern Studies
- The History of Global Empires
For more information about History staff, areas of supervision, and current postgraduate students, please follow the links below:
Research supervision areas
History postgraduate student profiles
Later Medieval Scotland; Medieval Warfare; Anglo-Scottish relations; the Anglo-Scottish borders and Medieval Aberdeen.
Supervisor: Dr Alastair Macdonald
Scottish and Irish enlightenment
Eighteenth century British and Irish political identity and the development of nationalism.
Supervisor: Professor Michael Brown
Scottish History in the Long Eighteenth Century, 1688-1832
Domestic and ‘diasporic’ Scottish Highland History, 1690-1900; the British ‘Eastern Empire’ – especially South Asia – and East India Company histories, c.1690-1830; and ‘Four Nations’ – England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland – comparative, ‘diasporic’ and imperial histories, c.1690-1830.
Supervisor: Dr Andrew Mackillop
Photography, Sociology, Memory and Modernity in Scotland
Photography, Documentary Film and National Identities from 1840 to the present-social memory.
Supervisor: Professor Andrew Blaikie
Scottish & English politics and landed society c.1300-c.1600
Scottish politics and landed society c.1300–c.1600; English politics and landed society c.1350–c.1500; Aspects of medieval and early modern nobility, rulership, and law; Aspects of medieval and early modern borderlands and peripheries.
Supervisor: Dr Jackson Armstrong
Modern Irish History, Scottish Catholicism, Modern Britain
Political, social or religious history of Ireland since 1800, including the Irish global Diaspora; the history of Catholicism in Scotland since 1707; and the political history of Britain in the Victorian era.
Supervisor: Dr Colin Barr
Later Medieval History
Religious history and the history of women and early modern Scottish Episcopalianism.
Supervisor: Dr Marie-Luise Ehrenschwendtner
Early Modern Socio-Cultural History
European and/or Scottish histories of witchcraft, medicine, sexuality, crime, Calvinism/Reformed (especially with regard to social control) in the broad period c. 1450-c. 1700.
Supervisor: Professor William Naphy
Early Modern East Central Europe and Germany
Military, social, political, religious and intellectual history of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, early modern Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.
Supervisors: Professor Karin Friedrich and Professor Robert Frost
Early Modern Women’s Writing
Writing by women (English, Scots, or comparative) and other aspects of early modern women’s cultural history, translation, oral culture, education, and literacy.
Supervisor: Professor Jane Stevenson
Relating to science, technolocy and medicine, in Britain from the eighteenth century to the present
Supervisor: Dr Ben Marsden
Emigration within the British Empire
Emigration within the British Empire since the 18th century; Modern Scottish History; Oral History; Medicine and Migration
Supervisor: Professor Marjory Harper
Modern Russian and Soviet history, particularly c.1900-1930 – Transport history
Any aspect of Modern Russian and Soviet history, and also transport history, particularly in relation to the role of railway transport in warfare in Britain and Europe; British railway history.
Supervisor: Professor Anthony Heywood
European and International History, 1880 – present
International and global political history and a wide array of modern European history; Jewish/non-Jewish relations and historical methodology.
Supervisor: Professor Tom Weber
Global Empires and World History
History of the British empire and the Commonwealth in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including the impact of the empire on Britain. Applications are particularly welcome on the economics and business histories of the empire, the politics of the Commonwealth, and on the history of settler societies. Dr Dilley will also consider other topics in the fields of global and British history.
Supervisor: Dr Andrew Dilley
- Other Experts
- Dr Jackson Armstrong
- Dr Colin Barr
- Professor Andrew Blaikie
- Professor Stefan Brink
- Professor Michael Brown
- Dr Hannah Burrows
- Dr Lisa Collinson
- Dr Andrew Dilley
- Professor David N. Dumville
- Dr Marie-Luise Ehrenschwendtner
- Professor Karin Friedrich
- Professor Robert Frost
- Professor Michael Gelting
- Professor Marjory Harper
- Professor Anthony Heywood
- Dr Alastair Macdonald
- Dr Andrew Mackillop
- Dr Elizabeth Macknight
- Dr Ben Marsden
- Dr Heidi Mehrkens
- Professor William Naphy
- Professor Ralph O’Connor
- Dr Frederik Pedersen
- Professor Jane Stevenson
- Professor Thomas Weber
Historians’ skills are needed for any profession that values quick and critical thinking, detailed analysis, close reading, the art of comparison and testing concepts through practical case studies. History graduates have made careers in politics, become prime ministers (Gordon Brown) and chancellors (Alastair Darling), but also gone into banking, the law, journalism and media. A postgraduate history degree offers numerous possibilities, including university teaching and research posts; curatorial work; academic administration; freelance writing and broadcasting; teaching in Scotland, Europe and North America.
Normally, the minimum entrance requirement for admission to the PhD is a degree with Second Class Honours (Upper Division) in an appropriate field, or equivalent. It is preferable that you hold a Masters in the chosen area of study as well.
Alongside your application form, you will need to upload the following supporting documents online:
- Copies of your undergraduate and graduate degree certificates
- Academic transcripts for your undergraduate and graduate degrees.
- Two academic references; either the details of your referees provided on your application form or uploaded online with your application.
- Your research proposal
- If English is not your first language and you have not studied previously at an institution in the UK, you will need to demonstrate your proficiency in English by taking an IELTS, TOEFL or PTE academic test.