|Degree types||Types of research degrees explained|
|Duration||Degree duration details|
|Location||Cornwall (Penryn), Exeter (Streatham)|
|Study modes||Full time and part time|
Distance-based and Split-site research available Study mode details
|Start date||September, January or April|
Staff in the History department research political, economic, social, cultural, religious, medical, environmental, maritime, naval, military and diplomatic history. We range in time from the early medieval period to the late 20th century. We have particular strengths in the history of Britain and continental Europe, but also focus on the history of the United States, Africa, and India.
A number of research centres are linked with the work of the Department and organise seminar series with regular meetings through the academic year which are an important meeting place for postgraduate students to hear, discuss and present research.
A summary of our main areas of research are listed below. The History Research webpages provide more comprehensive details about current research projects. Details on individual staff research interests and publications can be found on the History staff profiles pages.
Early modern studies
The Centre for Early Modern Studies fosters interdisciplinary links between colleagues working in the early Modern era both from the Department and across the University, and provides a home for the flourishing Early Modern Seminar, which combines papers from staff and research students and organises major conferences. Colleagues involved in the Centre are engaged in research on all aspects of the period between c.1500 and 1800 and expertise spreads from Britain and Europe to the Middle East and North America.
Key areas of activity include:
- religious culture
- social and economic relations
- political and intellectual thought
- gender and sexuality
- space, landscape and national identities
- the history of the book
- theatre and performance.
Imperial and global history
The Centre for Imperial and Global History brings together the strong research expertise of the University's eminent imperial historians. It comprises of one of the largest groups of imperial and global historians currently working in the UK.
Our strengths in comparing empires and the experiences of empire address a number of leading research themes:
- globalisation's past and present
- comparing empires, connecting empires
- regions in a global context
- humanitarianism, development and the discourse of rights
- law and colonialism
- political economy and the imperial state
- Europe - decolonisation and the legacies of empire.
The Centre for Maritime Historical Studies seeks to promote research into economic, social, political, naval and environmental aspects of the British maritime past from the earliest times to the present day. This is the oldest established centre for this specialism in a British university.
- British maritime history from the Middle Ages to today
- Business history and maritime trade
- Port cities and communities
- Mariners' welfare and education
- Naval history from the Middle Ages to the present day, in particular, the connections between naval, political, social, economic and other histories
- Naval leadership from the late-seventeenth century to the mid-twentieth century
- British naval administration and logistics
- Mediterranean maritime history from the middle ages to the eighteenth century
- African maritime history and African port cities.
The Centre holds termly research seminars (in conjunction with the Society for Nautical Research), an annual international Maritime History Conference and a twice-yearly Strategic Policy Studies Group symposium (with associated publication).
The Centre for Medical History draws together scholars from a wide range of disciplines across the University to promote the study of medicine in a social and historical perspective. Centre staff are willing to provide supervision for an MPhil/PhD in Medical History in many areas of research, including:
- English medical history, 1500–1800
- environment and medicine in the modern period
- gender and the family
- occupational health and industrial diseases
- history of psychiatry
- history of sex and sexuality
- history of stress.
War, state and society
The Centre for the Study of War, State and Society brings together a number of internationally renowned academics working in:
- the social history of war
- military advance and social change
- conflicts of decolonisation
- regimes of punishment and the treatment of prisoners of war and political detainees
- and war in international politics.
It supports research and teaching on the effects of armed conflict on states, societies and cultures throughout history and on themes of warfare and societal transformation.
Staff members of the Centre for Medieval Studies are engaged in a wide range of research projects, singly or in collaboration with scholars from other institutions. Listed below are our major funded projects currently in progress.
- Anarchy? War and Status in Twelfth-Century Landscapes of Conflict
- Architecture and Asceticism: Cultural Interaction between Syria and Georgia in Late Antiquity
- Bishop John Grandisson of Exeter (1327-69)
- Magic in Malta 1605: The Moorish Slave Sellem Bin Al-Sheikh Mansur and the Roman Inquisition
- The Past in its Place: Histories of Memory in English and Welsh Locales
- The Works of Guillaume de Machaut
The Institute of Cornish Studies
The Institute of Cornish Studies brings together interdisciplinary expertise to examine Cornwall, its history, society, culture, politics, environment and economy. With a strong network of researchers across the University of Exeter’s Cornwall campuses; excellent working relationships with cultural and political organisations inside and outside of Cornwall; and global connections, the ICS is a hub for the study of Cornwall, and our transferable lessons for research and policy about rural and peripheral regions.
Our research themes are:
- Culture, Heritage and Society
- Politics and Government
- Economy and Business
- Environment and Health
The University library maintains extensive holdings in all our disciplines, extensive audio-visual collections and a number of medieval manuscripts in our Heritage Collections while Exeter Cathedral Library and Archives and the Devon Heritage Centre contain further significant medieval manuscripts, documents and early printed books. Thanks to the help of a substantial grant from the Leverhulme Trust, The Exeter Local Maritime Archives Project (ELMAP) has created a searchable online database of references to records with maritime and naval significance that are held in local record offices and other archives across England and Wales.
The Queen’s Building (Streatham Campus) and the Peter Lanyon Building (Penryn Campus) offer dedicated postgraduate common rooms with computer facilities and a number of study carrels available for research students.
Students at both campuses have access to a wealth of online information including: over 400 online journal titles; the extensive Gale Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) research archive; search tools such as FirstSearch; the digital archive JSTOR; and other similar databases providing access to full text articles.
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.
Below are some examples of initial jobs undertaken by History postgraduates who studied with us in recent years.
Please note that, due to data protection, the job titles and organisations are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.
Curriculum Area Manager
Senior consultant developer
Research and Development Officer
Boydell and Brewer
Entry requirements 2020
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 a related subject, or other relevant qualifications such as a doctorate in another subject.
Students applying to enter into the MA by Research will require a minimum 2.1 Honours degree in History or a related degree, with a minimum 2.1 grade in the undergraduate dissertation. Students with degrees in related subjects will be considered on an individual basis.
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
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.
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 2020/21
- UK/EU: £4,407 full-time; £pro-rata part-time
- International: £17,500 full-time
Following your registration, tuition fees for subsequent years of study may increase to take into account inflationary pressures – this will not exceed 3 per cent per year of study.
Tuition fees per year 2019/20
- UK/EU: £4,327 full-time; £pro-rata part-time
- International: £17,100 full-time
Following your registration, tuition fees for subsequent years of study may increase to take into account inflationary pressures – this will not exceed 5 per cent per year of study.
Current available funding
College of Humanities
Phone: 0300 555 60 60 (UK callers)
+44 (0) 1392 723044 (EU/International callers)
Web: Enquire online
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 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.
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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