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Work alongside internationally recognised academics as you make a valuable contribution to our understanding of our past and our world.

Our vibrant, dynamic research department offers flexible modes of study and produces innovative research which helps to transform our specialist fields.


Our expertise

Our academics are active researchers whose current interests inform our PhD programmes.

Our experts carry out research in a wide range of areas, from medieval and early modern to modern history, and from social and cultural to political and intellectual history. Particular strengths of the department lie in gender history, black and non-western history and medical history included in health humanities.

A handful of our most recent staff research projects include meteorology in medieval times, British youth culture in the twentieth century and the fiscal origins of the French Revolution.

Find out more about our staff and their research

PhD supervision 

When you undertake a PhD with us, you'll be assigned a supervisor with expertise that aligns with your research topic.

The diversity of our research expertise – across a long chronological timeframe, from medieval times to the present day – enables us to offer supervision on a wide range of topics.

Our academics are all active researchers, and we have a strong track record in hosting funded research projects and participating in major research networks. This enables our students to do exciting interdisciplinary work; many also participate in the activities of interdisciplinary research centres and networks such as Gender History, the Centre for Health Humanities, Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies, and Early Modern Research Centre.

Close ties with other departments across the University – including Politics, Modern Languages, and English – mean that many of our doctoral students receive co-supervision.

Find out more about our staff and the areas of doctoral research they supervise

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Types of doctoral degree

We offer several routes to a doctoral qualification, so you can find the one that suits you and the topic you wish to study.

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Part-time study

Part-time PhDs are available as well as full-time, so you can choose a mode of study that suits your circumstances.

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PhD by Distance

Our PhD by Distance programme allows you to benefit from the expertise of a Reading-based supervisor, while conducting your research in a different location.