MPhil/PhD Cornish Studies

Duration MPhil: Full time 2-3 years; Part time 4-5 years
PhD: Full time 3-4 years; Part time 6-7 years
Distance Learning available
  • History
LocationCornwall (Penryn), Exeter (Streatham)
Start date September, January or April


Research students are supervised by academic staff within the Institute of Cornish Studies. The Institute is home to two high-profile research programmes: the Cornish Communities Programme, which encourages research on the issues of migration, community, family and identity at different geographical scales; and the Cornish Audio Visual Archive, an innovative programme for the study and documentation of the oral and visual culture of Cornwall.

Our main areas of research focus include:

  • oral history
  • migration studies
  • identity
  • politics and nationalism
  • music and culture
  • modern social history

Research areas

Current MPhil/PhD students at the Institute are researching in the areas of Cornish music, Romany gypsies in Cornwall, the Celtic revival, 19th-century social history, Cornishness and the curriculum, demography, migration and banking history.

The Institute of Cornish Studies web pages provide more comprehensive details about current research projects. Details on individual staff research interests and publications can be found on the Cornish Studies staff profiles pages.

Recent PhD titles

Here are some examples of PhD theses undertaken by students in Cornish Studies at the University of Exeter.

  • Minority language policy and planning in the context of sustainable socio-economic development, with particular reference to the case of Cornish
  • Cornish identity since the war
  • 19th C migration from Cornwall as experienced by the wives who remained at home
  • Party strategy and Lib. Dem. dominance in Cornwall
  • History of banking in Cornwall
  • Civil Society in Cornwall


We are committed to ensuring you receive high quality research supervision to maximise your potential and prepare you for a rewarding career.

Postgraduate students have access to the wide range of support offered by our Career Zone. In addition, postgraduate research students can access our Postgraduate Researchers' Programme, which covers a range of topics to help you to succeed during your research degree and to act as a springboard for your research career.

Entry requirements 2018

Students applying to enter directly into the MPhil/PhD programme would normally be expected to have a Masters degree with Merit or equivalent in History, or other relevant qualifications such as a doctorate in another subject.

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

Research topic and proposal

If you are considering studying for an MPhil or PhD, you will need to pinpoint the topic in which you wish to undertake your research and identify members of academic staff who specialise in this area and can offer you supervision. Visit our staff profiles for more information about individual research interests.

Once you have identified your research area, you will need to prepare a research proposal which outlines the specific area you wish to study and submit this with your application.

Guidelines on submitting an MPhil/PhD application, including guidelines on writing a research proposal, can be found on our application process page.

Deadline for applications

For September 2015 entry

Advisory deadline for International students: 8 May 2015 (due to visa processing requirements).

Advisory deadline for Home/EU students: 24 July 2015.

If there are places available the College will consider applications for September 2015 received by 14 August 2015. Applications that are received or incomplete after this date will be considered for September 2016 entry.

Please note that deadlines for applying to our funding awards are earlier than those for applying for a place to study. Please refer to our funding opportunities list for details of funding application deadlines.

Requirements for international students

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

Overall score 7.0 with a minimum score of 6.5 in the writing component and all other sections no less than 6.0.


Overall score 100 with minimum scores of 25 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.

Pearson Test of English (Academic)

65 with no less than 58 in all communicative skills.

Other accepted tests

Information about other acceptable tests of linguistic ability can be found on our English language requirements page.

Pre-sessional English

Applicants with lower English language test scores may be able to take pre-sessional English at INTO University of Exeter prior to commencing their programme. See our English language requirements page for more information.

Finance: fees and funding

Tuition fees per year 2018/19

  • UK/EU: £4,400 full-time; £2,200 part-time
  • International: £16,400 full-time

Fee information

Fees can normally be paid by two termly instalments and may be paid online. For further information about paying fees see our Student Fees pages.

Funding opportunities

Find out about current funding opportunities for our History research programmes.

Current available funding

Contact us

College of Humanities
Postgraduate Administrator
Phone: +44 (0)1392 725306
Web: Enquire online

Supervision and support


All students have a primary and a secondary supervisor who provide regular, high quality advice, support and direction in their academic endeavours. You will work closely with your supervisors over three to four years (full time PhD) or six to seven (part-time PhD) to develop, investigate and write-up a project at the cutting edge of historical research.

Visit our staff profiles for more information about individual research interests or use the search box on the right of this page to find a supervisor.


Each student will also be assigned a mentor who will take on a pastoral role and mediate on any problems that arise during the period of study. Your mentor will keep in regular contact and will provide background stability and support.

Graduate School Office

The College of Humanities has a dedicated Graduate School Office that supports our postgraduate research students during their study with us. The Office promotes intellectual and social contact between research students in all our disciplines to foster a vibrant research community within the College.

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History PhD student Miguel Hernandez tells us about his research and why he loves his PhD. View full size.