Faculty of History  

Reading for a research degree in History, History of Art, Economic and Social History, and History of Science and Medicine

Candidates for research degrees are expected to have completed a postgraduate master’s course or the equivalent before starting the programme (in European terms: an M2 level programme). If you are uncertain whether your qualifications are sufficient to allow you to embark on an advanced research programme, please consult the History Graduate Office. When we think that a formally qualified and otherwise promising applicant requires strictly limited further training to embark on a doctoral programme, we may offer a doctoral place but require that the student successfully complete relevant elements of one of our master’s programmes before attempting ‘transfer’ to full doctoral status. However, if we are not convinced that training needs are that limited we may suggest that an applicant switched his/her application to a suitable master's programme. 

The History Faculty also offers a Master of Letters (M. Litt.) degree in all areas of post-Classical history.  This is a less extensive and less demanding programme than the DPhil.  The application interface will initially only allow research applications to the doctoral programmes within the Faculty. However, if the M.Litt. programme would be more suitable to your circumstances we can change this in the course of the admissions process, or even after your arrival in Oxford.

Further information about the style of independent work, and the time commitments you will typically take on if you pursue a doctoral project is outlined under the heading of ‘Students’ Responsibilities’. You may also find it helpful to look at the work being done by current DPhil students. Tables summarizing the expected progression through our research programmes offer a quick orientation and aid for planning your work.

Part-time study

The Faculty is now able to accept a number of students for part-time study towards a D.Phil.  Part-time students are fully integrated into the research culture of the History Faculty and afforded all the same opportunities and support as full-time students.  They are expected to attend on a regular basis for supervision, skills training and participation in some of the research seminars, although the Faculty appreciates that part-time research students will have non-standard attendance and work patterns.  A candidate's supervisor and the co-ordinator of part-time studies, currently the Regius Professor of History, are available to advise part-time students on how to access research and training provision. However, it may not always be possible to offer the part-time study mode in very specialized areas of research (i) where supervision could only be provided by specialists from outside the History Faculty, or (ii) where there is a real and substantial risk that the relevant expertise may not be available within Oxford for the full period of study of up to eight years.

Although there will be no requirement to reside in Oxford, part-time research students must attend the University on a regular basis (particularly in term-time) for supervision, study and skills training. Research degrees are not available by distance learning. To ensure a comprehensive integration into the Faculty's and University's research culture and with their full-time peer groups a pattern of attendance at training events and research seminars would form part of the general part-time study agreement as well as the individualized arrangements between supervisor and student.

It is generally not possible for a candidate to register for a part-time degree if:

Part-time research students are expected to use the University's on-line Graduate Supervision System to report termly both on their individual progress and their participation in the University's academic life. If an applicant is in employment, they must provide a letter from their employer stating they may take time off if necessary to attend the University as required for the duration of the course, before the Faculty can confirm their offer of a part-time place.

Please note that the University expects that students, once enrolled for full-time or part-time study, do not seek to change their mode of study in subsequent years.