The School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh is one of the great world centres for the study of the human past. By studying with us, you will be joining one of the most respected institutions of its kind in the world, with an international reputation for high-calibre teaching and research.
The University of Edinburgh is consistently ranked one of the best 50 universities in the world and is 10th in the 2023 QS World University Rankings for Arts and Humanities.
The PhD is a 3-year (full-time) or 6-year (part-time) programme, leading to a dissertation of 80-100,000 words on an original topic, researched and written under the expert supervision of academic staff. We also offer a PhD by Distance mode of study for students who wish to study remotely and whose project and experience allows them to do so.
We offer PhDs in:
- Economic and Social History
- Scottish History
The size of Edinburgh’s history department, and the breadth of expertise available, means that we can offer supervision for research projects in a wide array of fields, spanning two millennia and five continents.
We have particularly strong research concentrations in Scottish history, history of the Americas, African history, Second World War Studies, British and Irish history, social and economic history, and medieval history.
We are also keen to encourage applications from prospective doctoral students in the following research areas:
- Global and Transnational History
- Intellectual history of early modern Europe
- History of Gender and Sexuality
- Material Culture and History
Edinburgh’s Classics department is one of the largest in the UK, and we welcome applications for all areas of Classical studies: Greek and Latin literature and thought, Greek, Roman and Byzantine history, Classical art and archaeology. Among areas of particular strength are Greek literature and the emotions, Greek political history, slavery in the Greek and Roman world, Roman and Late Antique archaeology, Late Antique literature, and Byzantine history.
We are also keen to encourage applications from prospective students in the following research areas:
- Ancient Law
- The Classical Tradition in Byzantium/the Medieval West
Our research interests range span the whole human past from the Stone Age up to the present day and range from late hunter-gatherers in Europe to the construction of sustainable cities in Africa. We have particular research interests in European prehistory, Mediterranean archaeology, osteoarchaeology, bioarchaeology, isotope geochemistry, coastal and marine archaeology, and cultural heritage studies. We are also keen to encourage applications from prospective doctoral students in the following research areas:
- Cultural Heritage and Community Engagement
- Scottish Archaeology
PhD students participate actively in our lively research culture through our groups and centres and through staff and student-led seminars. We have a number of cross-School research groups, including Digital Humanities; Intellectual History; Late Antique and Byzantine Studies; Histories of Gender and Sexuality; Global and Transnational; the History of Science, Medicine and Technology. We also have three Research Centres: The Centre for the Study of Modern and Contemporary History; the Edinburgh Centre for Global History; and the Centre for Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies.
The School provides training in research and professional skills, and PhD students also benefit from courses offered by the Institute of Academic Development, as well as the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities and the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science. PhD students have access to dedicated study space in the School.
The School has access to a number of sources of PhD funding, including School Doctoral Scholarships, AHRC Scholarships within the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities, ESRC Scholarships within the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science and funding competitions within the University of Edinburgh. All of these are open to applicants for on-campus programmes, while PhD by Distance applicants can apply to School and College awards.
How to apply
To find out more about the research interests of our staff and to identify a potential supervisor, please consult our website
Applicants must contact a potential supervisor before applying and name them on their application. All applicants will also be interviewed following their initial application. Further information is available from the Postgraduate Research Office: HCA-PGR@ed.ac.uk