History MPhil/PhD

Major code: HMPR

About us

School of History

Welcome to the History Department. We’re very proud of our international reputation for research and our innovative and student-centred teaching.

The most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE2008) ranked us as one of the top three history departments in the United Kingdom, and our MA and PhD students play a central role in our work.

Join us and you’ll enjoy a stimulating and friendly environment in which to study the past.

School of Histories, Languages and Cultures

This School brings together anumber of internationally recognised centres of excellence for research and teaching. With the departments themselves steeped in history, and teaching stretching back for more than 100 years in numerous disciplines, there is a high degree of interdisciplinary activity that generates a lively culture,with staff and students from all disciplines interacting through institutional research groups and forums.

The School comprises the following areas of study:
  • History
  • Archives and Records Management
  • Irish Studies
  • Politics
  • Archaeology, Classics, Egyptology
  • Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

Staff research interests

The most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE2008) ranked us as one of the top three history departments in the United Kingdom, and our MA and PhD students play a central role in our work.

Join us and you’ll enjoy a stimulating and friendly environment in which to study the past.

Research overview

For a full list of Staff Research interests, see: http://www.liv.ac.uk/history/research/index.htm

Emily Trafford

Postgraduate study can be a great opportunity to explore a subject that you feel passionate about, and the department really gives you the time and the space to create a project that you can enjoy shaping over the course of your degree.

What impelled you to continue to PG study? 

It was definitely primarily my enjoyment of the subject. The PhD provided me with an opportunity to explore my interests on a much bigger scale than the BA and MA. I would also like a career in academia, and the structure of the PhD course provides good opportunities to obtain the relevant skills.

What compelled you to choose to study for your PG degree at Liverpool ahead of other Universities (particularly other Russell Group institutions)?

I came to Liverpool as an undergraduate because the History department offered such a wide variety of subjects. It was during my BA that I developed my interest in race history, and was struck by the willingness of the staff to not only help you develop your interests, but also to encourage your postgraduate career. I’ve always felt welcome in the department, and felt compelled to continue my study here as the research interests of the staff match my own.

What are your career aims following your PG study and how do you anticipate your PG degree will help you achieve them?

I hope to go on to lecture in my subject field, and the department offers regular sessions on career development that cover research and writing skills, how to write an academic CV and how to succeed at interview. There are also opportunities to gain teaching experience, as well as the regular supervisory meetings that ensure that your thesis stays on track.

What skills have you developed in addition to the knowledge you are learning on your programme?

All postgraduates have to take part in library skills training and a more general 3 day skills workshop, which encourages students from different research backgrounds to share experiences and skills.

How valuable do you consider these skills?  Do you feel they will help you or even give you a competitive edge in your desired career path?

The departmental skills training is very much tailored towards success in the job market. Members of staff give advice on preparing for your viva, how to tailor your CV to academic requirements, and how to network effectively.

Do you consider the PG experience beneficial in other ways?

The History postgraduate department is quite large, so one of the best things has been meeting other PhD students with different research interests and at different levels of their degree. Having others around you going through the same experience is really helpful.

What was your route to PG study (did you proceed direct from your undergraduate degree or following some time away from University)?

I came directly from my BA in History to an MA in Cultural History, to the PhD course this academic year.

Have you any recommendations or advice concerning the application process you’d like to share with prospective PG students thinking of applying?

If you’re considering postgraduate study, it’s really important to look into your options as early as possible. Deadlines for funding are often several months before you intend to start your study, and the application process can take a long time. It’s also advisable to speak to your current dissertation supervisor about your intention to apply – I’ve found that the department are very willing to help with the application process, and are genuinely interested in your research ideas.

Give an overview of your area of study and/or research.

I’m looking at the display of ‘human curiosities’ in late nineteenth century America, and the way in which understandings of race and disability were shaped. These displays occurred at world’s fairs and freak shows, and contributed to a distinct way of seeing people who were considered to be different or abnormal.

How would you explain the significance and impact of your subject or research to others?

I hope to demonstrate how people can come to understand bodies that are different to their own, and the role of scientists and entertainers in creating stereotypes of difference.

Do you feel that you are part of a flourishing research department that makes a difference in your own subject and beyond?  

The History department at Liverpool is large and there is a great emphasis on research. There are regular lunchtime lectures by members of staff and postgraduates which indicate the range and scale of research being produced in this building.

What do you particularly like about your department?

There is a definite place for History postgraduates within the department. We are lucky enough to be given office space in the building, so actually being in the department on a regular basis really encourages your research.

What do you especially like about your postgraduate experience at Liverpool in general?

Having been here since I began my undergraduate degree in 2007, I’ve seen a lot of changes in the University and in the city in general. It’s a fantastic city to live in, and in the History department we’re lucky enough to be in one of the most impressive buildings on campus.

How do you rate the facilities available to you (libraries, laboratories, study areas et cetera) and the campus in general as a place to study and socialise?  Do the facilities and University environment facilitate or inspire your study/research?

The Sydney Jones Library is a great resource, and subject-dedicated librarians are really helpful in making sure you have access to all of the materials you need.

How have you found the PG experience differs to the UG experience?  What, if anything, do you prefer about PG study?

The postgraduate experience is much more about independent research. Although you have regular meetings with your supervisors, your project is very much something you came up with and have the opportunity to explore for an extended period of time.