PhD study in the School of History

The School of History has around 100 postgraduate students undertaking study towards a PhD, attesting to the School’s commitment to fostering innovative research and a thriving research community. Many of these postgraduate students have been attracted to St Andrews by their wish to be supervised by a certain member of staff, often a leading contributor to his or her field.
Research interests of staff range from sixth-century Scotland to America in the 1970s, and with over 50 active researchers, the number of areas of expertise is very large. The School is also home to a number of institutes and research centres, as well as projects and research groups.
Postgraduates in the School of History benefit from a supportive network of facilities, including some grants to assist with research expenses, skills training and potential opportunities for teaching undergraduate sub-honours students. They also benefit from the resources of the University Library and its Special Collections department.
For a student's perspective on PhD study at St Andrews, read an article published on the School's blog by one of the School's former PhD students.

Research community

In addition to the academic relationship which doctoral students will develop individually with their supervisor, students will also become part of a large and active research community. This community includes the institutes and centres within the School and the regular seminars which run throughout both semesters. A more informal postgraduate community is maintained through some dedicated communal workspace, reading parties and a range of postgraduate social events.

Study abroad

History students have the opportunity to study abroad as part of their PhDs, either as part of formal co-tutelle (joint supervision) arrangements with another university, or through the Erasmus exchange programme.

Doctoral students are also part of a geographically wider research community. For example:

Students are strongly encouraged to participate in conferences, seminars and workshops outwith St Andrews while they are carrying out their doctoral research.


The School of History is keen to promote the future careers of its students while they are at St Andrews, and has been greatly encouraged by the number of former doctoral students now in academic posts. In addition to encouraging contact with other institutions, the School offers many of its PhD students the opportunity to undertake undergraduate tutoring in the School. 

How to apply

Those interested in PhD study should normally in the first instance contact a relevant member of academic staff to discuss their area of research and establish the availability of appropriate supervision.

Information about funding opportunities is available on the University’s scholarships page and further information specific to History students is available on the School's postgraduate funding page.

Although the School will consider applications at any time, you should begin the process as early as possible in the academic year. The School will only consider applications for funding from students who have already been made a formal offer by the University (see the postgraduate funding page for deadlines).

For further information or general queries about opportunities for doctoral study in the School of History, please contact the Director of Postgraduate Research at