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MPhil/PhD FAQs

About the MPhil/PhD

A PhD normally takes three years (full-time), but you will be registered with the University for four years and expected to devote any time required in your fourth year to writing up your research. It can start at any point throughout the academic year (based on when your supervisor confirms the start date), but we strongly advise you start at the beginning of the academic year.

Successful applicants are admitted in the first instance to the MPhil degree, and are expected to pass through an Upgrade procedure from MPhil to full PhD status within one year of registration.

Yes, a number of our students each year enrol on a part-time basis. A part-time PhD normally takes five years, but you will be registered with the University for seven years and expected to devote any time required in the final two years to writing up your research. Should an extension of study be required, then this can be discussed with your supervisor and the Director of Graduate Studies.

Successful applicants are admitted in the first instance to the MPhil degree, and are expected to pass through an Upgrade procedure from MPhil to full PhD status (held towards the beginning of the second year for part-time).

Applying for an MPhil/PhD

Full details of how to submit your Warwick application can be found on the University PG AdmissionsLink opens in a new window pages. There is an online application, initially dealt with by the Postgraduate Admissions Team. The application form will then be forwarded to the department for a decision.

The following documents should be submitted with your application:


A. Transcripts and degree certificates for your BA and MA degree (a partial transcript or list of modules being taken will suffice for any students still completing their MA).

B. Two satisfactory academic references

C. Evidence of meeting English Language requirements where required (please see: Admissions Requirements).

D. A detailed research proposal (see no. 7)


E. An academic CV

A personal statement is not required for your MPhil/PhD application.

Any students planning to apply for fundingLink opens in a new window for their studies should carefully check the deadlines and eligibility for each award and use this as a basis for when to submit their Warwick MPhil/PhD application. Many funding awards have an early January deadline, but this can vary from year to year.

For students wishing to self fund, candidates who would require a visa to study at Warwick should apply by no later than 31st July.

Self funded home applicants should generally apply no later than 6 weeks prior to the course start date to allow adequate time for submission of references and consideration of the application.

You will need to fill in the online form, and provide references from two academics. You will also be required to provide the transcript/certificate of your MA and a research proposal.

For the application we would expect a detailed research proposal of approximately 2,000 words (excluding footnotes and bibliography). This should give an overview of your research questions and why they are important; how these build on, challenge or supplement with existing research; the methodology you plan to adopt; and the sources you might use. Please add a short bibliography of key relevant works. Please upload all this as a single supporting document in Word or PDF document.

Please be advised that certain funding bodies may set a different word limit so care should be taken to check the individual funding bodies application criteria on your funding application (which is often a separate process from the general PhD application system).

You are also expected to identify a potential supervisor and discuss your research proposal with them before application. You should also indicate potential supervision arrangements in your application.

Guidance about what to include in your research proposal is available from our PG Admissions Team. Details of our academic staff and their research expertise can be found on our Academic Staff web page.

New applications open around October of the year before commencing the course e.g. October 2019 for October 2020 entry, and you can begin to apply soon after that. Applications will be accepted throughout the year, but if you are interested in applying for funding, you will need to apply in the autumn or in early January at the very latest - see the funding section for funding competition deadlines. Should you wish to begin outside the academic year start date (October), please contact us to discuss this.

We occasionally admit research students at other times of the year under certain circumstances. Please be advised that for alternative start dates, we would normally expect you to apply at least two months before you wish to commence your course. (Your supervisor and the Director of Graduate Studies will confirm your start date at offer stage).

The department can normally make a decision within 10 working days of receipt of your application from the Admissions Team, although in some cases it may take longer based on individual circumstances. If you are successful, you will receive an official offer letter from admissions shortly thereafter.

The Director of Graduate Studies in History, in conjunction with the potential supervisor, decides on whether your application can be accepted.

Yes, you can. There is technically no limit to the number of programmes you can apply for. We hope, of course, that your application is serious, and that you will choose to come to Warwick!

Yes! We have many students who come to Warwick from different walks of life, and if you think PhD study is for you, we would encourage you to apply! Please note that our standard entry requirement is a 2:1 (or equivalent) in History or a related discipline.

Ideally, you should find two academics who have seen your work. If that is not possible, it would be best to get in touch with the Admission Team, see the University's Research course applicaion pages for further information.

As far as we are concerned, we deal with all applicants in exactly the same way. If English is not your first language, please take into consideration this information on English Language Requirements.

Entry requirements

Requirements are:

A. MA degree in a history / history related discipline (we would normally expect a Distinction or Merit level for PhD).

B. Two satisfactory academic references

C. For English Language requirements please see: Admissions Requirements.

D. A detailed research proposal (see no. 7)

A personal statement is not required.

Many of our students do come from history or history-related disciplines, but an undergraduate/postgraduate degree in history is not an inflexible requirement for our programme. We will consider each application on a case-by-case basis.

You can apply during your final year of postgraduate study. Most applicants will not know yet at that stage what their degree result will be and you may be provisionally enrolled on our course if your examination board meets after your PhD start date. You will in this case be expected to confirm your final degree result asap and normally within 6 weeks of the course commencing. Please note that, should you not make the entry requirements, you may be asked to withdraw from the course.

On the application form a predictive grade can be noted, and would be useful if also included in your references.

Due to the documentation required in order to obtain a student visa, overseas applicants must have completed their MA course AND had their Masters degree officially conferred at least 6-8 weeks prior to admission. Without having received the original (or attested copy) of the degree certificate or transcript, the University cannot issue a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) letter, which is required for a Tier 4 visa application.

Fees and funding

The fees change on a year-by-year basis. Please check our PG Research Fees web pages for the details of the fees for the coming year. You will also need funds to pay for accommodation and subsistence.

Yes - many of our students receive funding from the major research councils (ESRC and AHRC), as well as from the University. We are sometimes able to offer a number of departmental studentships every year. For details, please see our information pages on Funding for PhD Study.


Yes. It is possible, but there is only a limited amount of space for graduate students. The sooner you apply to the accommodation office, the better. You will need your university ID number to apply which can be obtained from PG admissions or our Postgraduate Coordinator.

You may also like to investigate the option of serving as a residential tutor.

General questions

If your supervisor is in research leave they may be able to continue supervising you as usual. If they are not then your supervisor will arrange, following discussion with you, for an interim supervisor to be appointed.

Certainly! We welcome enquires from all students about PhD study. Feel free to contact any member of staff (see the webpage: Academic Staff) especially with regards to who you would potentially like to work with. The Postgraduate and Research Coordinator may also be able to help with your enquiries.

For MPhil/PhD we anticipate being able to offer places to all qualified applicants. However, we may have to take into account the number of current PhD students being supervised by the member of staff you have identified as a potential supervisor.

Many students embark on a doctorate because they wish to pursue a career in academia. In that case the next step after completing a doctorate might be a permanent academic position, but in many cases the next step is likely to be a series of temporary appointments, or a research fellowship. Your supervisor will be able to advise on likely opportunities, and will doubtless write you references for these positions.

Not everyone, however, wishes to follow this trajectory. Warwick history doctorates hold positions in museums, archives, schools and a variety of other venues.

The History Department strongly supports both those students who want to continue in academia, and those who wish to work outside the academy.