MPhil & PhD in History

  • Length
    3-4 years full-time or 4-6 years part-time
  • Department

Course overview

The distinctive emphasis of Goldsmiths' Department of History is a theorised, interdisciplinary and comparative approach to research.

The culture of the Department of History is open, friendly and accessible, and research students are encouraged to be innovative in their use of sources and methodologies.

Our staff is young and we are on the cutting-edge of our fields and the student-teacher ratio allows us to devote an unmatched amount of time to individual supervision. Find out more about staff in the department

MPhil and PhD topics in the department currently include:

  • The Song of the Pen: Penny Romantic Literature 1839-89
  • The Freak Show in Nineteenth-Century Britain
  • British Women and German Prisoners of War in the 1940s
  • Decoding Dress in Interwar Detective Fiction
  • The British Diaspora - Race Return Migration and Identity in 20th Century Britain
  • Atatürk and his Cult - A Visual History, 1918-1968
  • Another Balkan Myth? The Extreme Right Wing in Serbia: Indigenous Phenomenon or Foreign Adaptation?
  • London Schools and Children, 1870-1920
  • The Seekers Found: Radical Religion during the English Revolution

Find out more about research degrees at Goldsmiths

Assessment is by thesis and viva voce.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Professor Jan Plamper


History at Goldsmiths is ranked 11th in the UK for the quality of our research**


From the occult to dictators, from war to revolution, from madness to medicine, and from the body to ideas – this is history at Goldsmiths.

As a department we have a wide range of expertise covering all these areas and more. So as a student here you’ll be able to explore how people in past societies lived, loved, worked and worshipped.

For us, history isn’t just a sequence of events. We study the past thematically as well as chronologically. You’ll be thinking about the way history is informed by a wide range of other subjects and how knowledge of the past can help you to understand the world we live in today.

Find out more about the Department of History.

**Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings



Research in the Department of History is esteemed internationally. History staff publish books and articles with leading international publishers and journals and their research has been externally funded by the AHRC, the British Academy, the Panacea Society and Wellcome Trust.

Find out about individual Staff.

Skills & careers

Our PhD students have taken up academic posts in history and related fields around the world; others are employed in the media and as researchers and teachers.



"Studying for a PhD at Goldsmiths has opened so many new doors for me."

"Studying for a PhD at Goldsmiths has opened so many new doors for me. I am currently guest curating an exhibition for The Women's Library which has drawn on both my broad historical knowledge of women's history but also my writing skills. I also made invaluable contacts while I was at university, tutors and students who have not only become good friends but who have offered advice and support."


"None of this would have been possible without the help from Goldsmiths and their fantastic team."

"I have found myself surrounded by practising historians in a vibrant research culture. I regularly meet my supervisor, but also share thoughts and ideas with other academics in the department, who are always happy to bounce ideas and offer their suggestions.

As part of the ‘impact’ criteria, the department granted me leave to work on a BBC historical documentary. As the Researcher, I used my PhD training to work alongside the Director and Producer to turn my academic work into a 90-minute BBC4 documentary.

Goldsmiths’ generous fee-waiver bursary scheme enabled me to work on my PhD without paying tuition fees and, more recently, I was granted competitive AHRC funding to sustain my living costs while I fully embrace the life of a full-time PhD student. None of this would have been possible without the help from Goldsmiths and their fantastic team."

Entry requirements

You should normally have (or expect to be awarded) a taught Masters in a relevant subject area. 

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.

For this programme we require:

IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.5 in the written test and no individual test lower than 6.0)

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

Before submitting your application you'll need to have: 

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
  • Contact details of a second referee
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online
  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)
  • Details of your research proposal

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

Before you apply for a research programme, we advise you to get in touch with the programme contact, listed above. It may also be possible to arrange an advisory meeting.

Before you start at Goldsmiths, the actual topic of your research has to be agreed with your proposed supervisor, who will be a member of staff active in your general field of research. The choice of topic may be influenced by the current research in the department or the requirements of an external funding body. 

If you wish to study on a part-time basis, you should also indicate how many hours a week you intend to devote to research, whether this will be at evenings or weekends, and for how many hours each day.

Research proposals

Along with your application and academic reference, you should also upload a research proposal at the point of application. 

This should be in the form of a statement of the proposed area of research and should include: 

  • delineation of the research topic
  • why it has been chosen
  • an initial hypothesis (if applicable)
  • a brief list of major secondary sources

When to apply 

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September. 

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. 

If you're applying for external funding from one of the Research Councils, make sure you submit your application by the deadline they've specified. 

Selection process 

Admission to many programmes is by interview, unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.

Find out more about applying.

Fees & funding

Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

AHRC studentships.

Find out more about tuition fees.

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