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The Research Experience

Research Supervision

The relationship with your supervisor will be at the heart of your training in history here at Warwick. Every research student has a supervisor assigned when they commence their studies, and in some cases joint supervisors may be appointed. It is the role of the supervisor to guide you in the design of your research, and to offer constructive advice and intellectual support as you move through each stage of your project right up to your final viva voce examination.

Guidelines for PGR Supervision

Regular Supervisor Meetings

Your supervisor(s) will meet with you regularly to discuss your work, and agree a programme of reading, research and writing with you. Supervision meetings should normally take place every three to four weeks during your first year of study, but they may be more frequent if necessary. Students being jointly supervised may sometimes meet with both supervisors, but more often you will meet only with one time - in the latter case, it is important to ensure that your second supervisor knows about the conversations that have taken place with the first. The planning of fieldwork, archival visits, and other aspects of your research design should be discussed in depth with your supervisor. How often a student meets with a supervisor varies enormously from student to student, and is likely also to vary over time as your project reaches differing stages of development.

However, there is a university requirement that you meet with your supervisor at least once a month. Even if you are away from Warwick, undertaking fieldwork or archival research, it remains important to communicate regularly and report your progress to your Supervisor. It is your mandatory for you to record these on Tabula with a short summary of what was discussed and action points for the future.

International students should be particularly aware of the consequences of missing or failing to record supervision meetings, as the Academic Office is obliged to report to the Home Office UK Visas and Immigration (formerly the UK Border Agency) if any Tier 4 students have been found not to be engaging with and attending their degree course. This will normally lead to the curtailment of their visas.

During the pandemic, the expectation is that supervisions will normally be conducted online, which may mean that jointly held meetings are easier to arrange. When campus is open, it might on occasion be possible to have individual meetings with one supervisor in their office, provided a 2m distance is maintained and other protective measures taken. Contacts via telephone, email, or Skype will be accepted as demonstration of engagement where physical meetings are not possible, and the format of communication should be logged in your record of the meeting..


You will agree an overall programme of study with your supervisor, and this is likely to include tasks for you to complete to agreed deadlines, including writing. We have high expectations of you as a writer (as well as a researcher), and consider that one of the factors in the successful submission rate of research theses in the Department, is that we encourage and expect students to start writing very early in their programme of study.

Progress Reviews

Graduate Research Forum

The Graduate Research Forum meets weekly during the Autumn and Spring Terms. Attendance is REQUIRED for all research students in their first year of study. Students in other years of study may also attend the Graduate Research Forum, and many do so – especially when the topic to be considered relates directly to their own field of interest, or offers advice on skills and training that may be relevant.

Graduate Research Forum

Work In Progress

We shall be running a regular, online session in which PG research students will be invited to share work in progress with their colleagues for informal, friendly and constructive feedback. This is an invaluable part of the research cycle for all projects and particularly useful in helping with a PhD thesis, either to work through how something is presented or the ideas and approaches you adopt.

Such sessions are really helpful to the presenters but they are also a social event that helps to bond the pgr community. And even if the topic does not immediately seem relevant to you, the methodology might or it might even be one that you have not encountered but could be useful to you!

Details will be circulated to all History PG Research students once the time and format has been finalised.

Postgraduate History Conference

The GRF will culminate each year in a Postgraduate History Conference, to be held in Week 5 or 6 of the Summer Term.

This is a two-day conference at which Warwick History postgraduate students make presentations of their own research. Both PGR and PGT students may present papers at the conference. Panels are organised to reflect the stage of research that the presenter has reached: some panels will deal with research outlines at a preliminary stage of development, whilst others will present research at a more advanced stage, perhaps by those nearing completion of their thesis.

The provisional conference dates for the academic year 2020/2021 are 27th and 28th May 2021. There is the possibility that the 2020/2021 conference will be held as a virtual event.

The audience for the Conference is made up of fellow graduate students, staff in the Department and other academics and Warwick students who may be interested. The Conference has a dual purpose: to provide you with an opportunity to develop your presentational skills in a professional environment, and to enable you to receive informed feedback on your work from other historians.

The Conference will be organised by a small panel of 2 or 3 research students (normally drawn from Years 2 and 3). All research students are expected to present their work to at least one Conference during their time at Warwick, and many students will do so more frequently. All PGT and PGR students are normally expected to attend the conference.

Researcher Development

Researcher Development offers a wide range of training courses in skills ranging from constructing an e-portfolio to proofreading and voice training. For example, they offer a multi-session programme in academic writing. They also provide individual academic coaching sessions. You can use these to discuss work-related issues and receive one-to-one help and guidance.

Researcher Development

Skillsforge Programme

The online portal, Warwick SkillsForge (, is a new platform which supports with the Researcher Development sessions and was launched to support your PGR development activities will allow you to complete a Development Needs Analysis (DNA), book onto training, record your own development activities (including personal reflection on what you’ve learned) and will allow you to see all development opportunities you have undertaken.

SkillsForge FAQ

CADRE (The Centre for Arts Doctoral Research Excellence)

CADRE (the Centre for Arts Doctoral Research Excellence) is the Faculty of Arts doctoral training hub. As a PhD student in the Faculty you have automatic access to all CADRE events and resources. Year 1 students are expected to take part in the four week Introduction to Arts Doctoral Research programme. Students who are further on in their studies may wish to attend the more advanced sessions on offer. In particular, attendance at the four week Transition from Arts Doctoral Research programme is recommended for students in their penultimate and final year of study.


Digital Humanities

Digital Humanities offers a wide array of different tools and approaches that may help your research project. You can find more information about what Digitial Humanities at Warwick can offer via the links below:

Specialised Training Programmes

From Manuscript to Print

Historians with an interest in developing their research and palaeographical skills in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe are encouraged to participate in a series of classes and workshops organised by the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance. Students may choose to follow the skills programme throughout the year, or to focus on one particular term. Regular attendance is recommended. Historians may find of special use the material covered in Term 2, which emphasizes palaeography and textual editing. To register and/or further information contact the Renaissance Centre secretary on (office: H4.48b, near the Graduate Space).

From Manuscript to Print

Resources and Techniques for the Study of Renaissance and Early Modern Culture

Doctoral historians with an interest in developing specialist research training skills in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe should consult the ‘Warburg Institute – University of Warwick Research Training Programme’.

Warburg Institute

Language Training

Some of you may be researching and writing in a second language. We appreciate that this can be challenging, even if you have already undertaken some language training. You should discuss any issues relating to this with your supervisor(s) and there are various types of faculty and university support at:

Doctoral College Language Support

In 2020/2021 the Doctoral College have introduced a new programme of support for students completing a PhD in a second language.

Navigating writing and reading difficulties in English/ PhD in a second language/ Navigating speaking and hearing difficulties in English. This session will provide opportunities to share and nuance any difficulties with English in either reading, writing and speaking, and explore potential ways forward for navigating these in your work plan. The sessions will vary week on week so please connect with the Researcher Development Online channel to see what is coming up the following week. It will be led by early career researcher Dr Claire French (performance studies/ sociolinguistics) from her base in Australia.

The sessions are bookable via the Researcher Development Online web pages.

Research Seminars

This year we have streamlined all departmental seminars into a single series, on Wednesdays at 4:30-6pm. You can view upcoming seminars here.

Each of our Research Centres will invite speakers for these but you are strongly encouraged to attend as many as possible, even if they do not immediately seem relevant to your research specialism. The seminars will form an important part of the department's community-building process under covid and provide a unique occasion when staff and students come together to listen to and further research agendas. In addition, the individual research centres will offer their own range of activities: workshops, reading groups and conferences. The expectation is that you will attend these for the Centre or Centres closest to your own field, but please feel free to join any event that interests you. Most of these events will need to be held online this year.

Seminars and Reading Groups