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History & Archaeology (19)

  PhD Modern War Studies


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 Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Programme

 “We must continually ask questions of the past, even the most recent past, because it holds the key to the future. History must be handled carefully of course, for it is trained experts that must provide the intellectual underpinning for decisions taken by politicians and the senior leaders of the Armed Forces. We need more research and Defence must work ever more closely with academics if we are to make sense of our complex world and so provide practical solutions to knotty problems. We need to know what to change, how to change, when to change and why. We also need to know what not to change. These are not questions for the ill-informed.”

Field Marshal The Lord Bramall, former Chief of the Defence Staff, in an interview with PhD programme director, Professor Lloyd Clark, in April 2018.

The University of Buckingham’s PhD in Modern War Studies and Contemporary Military History seeks to provide the trained minds to which Field Marshal the Lord Bramall was referring, and our programme flourishes with doctoral students currently drawn from four continents and with graduates making their mark around the world. In a world of uncertainty and rapid change, there has never been a more important time to understand why war and how wars are fought, and their influence on politics, economics, society and culture.

The PhD programme is based in London, but its students can be located wherever their research demands and there is a choice full time or part time study. For those based in the UK, full use can be made of well-established relationships with some of the most important research facilities and institutions in the country including:

  • The Imperial War Museum
  • The RAF Museum
  • The National Army Museum
  • The Royal Navy Museum
  • The National Archives
  • The Royal United Services Institute
  • Chatham House
  • International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • The British Commission for Military History
  • The Centre for Army Leadership
  • Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research

Developing Potential

  1. All PhD students benefit from:
  2. Programme Induction
  3. Research Skills Seminars/ Lectures
  4. PhD Research Group Seminars
  5. Specialist Supervision and Tutorials [see below]
  6. Invitations to attend a series of evening seminars held at the Army and Navy Club, Pall Mall and a course research day at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst


Each student is allocated two supervisors. There is a First (or Principal) Supervisor, who is the student’s regular guide during his or her research, and with whom the student meets regularly throughout the year. There is also a Second Supervisor, whom the student may consult on a more limited basis where a ‘second opinion’ on a particular draft chapter may be helpful.

Current supervisors include:

  • Dr Andrew Boyd – 20th Century naval history and new security challenges
  • Professor Lloyd Clark – History of the British Army; military transition and change; lesson learning; leadership and command
  • Dr Andrew Lownie – Modern British history and espionage
  • Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice – Human Rights Law
  • Dr Ife Oakafor-Yarwood – Multidisciplinary approaches to security, the environment and maritime governance in Africa
  • Dr Gareth Price – Strategy, armed forces, politics and economics in south Asisa
  • Lieutenant Colonel (retd) Christopher Pugsley – The military history of the Australian and New Zealand armed forces
  • Major General (retd) William Robbins – Command, leadership and organisational culture.
  • Professor Matthias Strohn – History of European Armies; fighting methods; doctrine and command, counter-insurgency.
  • Dr Andrew Tchie – Security, stabilisation and peace operations in Africa
  • Dr Paddy Walker – Future warfare/rules; military ethics; military technology

Study period

Students are registered initially for the degree of PhD (Doctor of Philosophy), although their status is probationary until the first Annual Review has taken place, normally between 12 and 18 months from first registration.

The usual period of doctoral study is three years, though the University’s Regulations also permit candidates who make particularly rapid progress to apply to the University Research Committee for permission to submit at the end of their second year of study.

HM Armed Forces Discount

A 20% discount is available on the tuition fees for this programme to all serving members of the British Armed Forces (regardless of rank).

Find out more about the University of Buckingham's PhD Modern War Studies on our website.

Funding Notes

The PhD opportunities on this programme do not have funding attached. You will need to have your own means of paying fees and living costs and / or seek separate funding from student finance, charities or trusts.
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