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PhD in Russian History
A Russian History PhD allows students to explore the rich and interesting past of Russia. During the doctorate you could be investigating the experience of Russian people at particular moments in time or be looking at the complex ideas and processes that shaped the country as a whole. Your original and unique work will then be written up in a dissertation, contributing to the wider academic discussions.
What’s it like to do a PhD in Russian History?
Russian History PhD students spend a significant amount of time finding and analysing a select group of primary sources. Your findings then need to be contextualised in the wider secondary literature of your chosen field. Some common themes of research include:
Gender and sexuality
Russia’s relationship to other countries
The Russian environment
The Russian revolution
Most Russian History PhD candidates propose their own research project which becomes the basis of the final 75,000 word thesis. There are some advertised projects, though these are limited, which require successful applicants to research a particular time, period or source base. After completing the dissertation you will be required to defend your conclusions in an oral viva exam.
Depending on the location of your sources, you may have the opportunity to travel to Russia or relevant surrounding countries. There will also be plenty of opportunities to engage with the wider academic community through conference papers and publishing.
PhD courses in Russian History will usually require applicants to have completed a Masters degree in History or a related subject, such as Politics or Literature. Some institutions may consider students without a postgraduate degree but they must be able to show previous academic success and extensive professional research experience.
PhD in Russian History funding options
PhDs in Russian History are most commonly funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Offering fully-funded studentships, they cover tuition fees, a living stipend and any necessary travel expenses for research and outreach. To apply for these studentships you must have a confirmed place at a university.
If you’re applying for an advertised project funding specifications will be outlined in the project details. Many universities also offer financial support within their own departments to make sure to check their websites.
However, PhD funding can be highly competitive and so many students of Russian History opt to self-fund their studies. This can be done through employment, the UK government doctoral loan or a combination of the two. Many national bodies, charities and businesses are also willing to offer short-term grants to research students.
PhD in Russian History careers
A PhD in Russian History can provide you will the skills needed to enter a range of careers. The most direct route would be to pursue academia, research or teaching. However many Russian History graduates can also be found in the media, civil service, foreign policy or museums.