You are viewing this course for September start 2023

Aberystwyth boasts research facilities unparalleled at most UK universities and the town’s outstanding resources in books and manuscripts greatly enhance Aberystwyth’s appeal to the historian. The Department of History and Welsh History at Aberystwyth University has a well-established reputation for innovative and internationally recognised research, and is keen to recruit enterprising and imaginative graduate students to read for PhD and MPhil degrees.  

Typical Entry Requirements

Entry Requirements 2:1 Bachelors (Honours) degree in a relevant subject area, or equivalent.

English Language Requirements IELTS 6.5 with minimum 5.5 in each component, or equivalent

Other Requirements Applicants should submit a full research proposal at the point of application

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Course Overview

Why undertake a PhD or MPhil in History at Aberystwyth University?

  • History has been taught at Aberystwyth University since the university’s founding in 1872, making our department the oldest in Wales and one of the foremost in Britain.
  • Aberystwyth boasts library resources amongst the best in Europe and contains expansive source material for the medieval, early modern and modern periods. The university’s Hugh Owen Library houses more than 700,000 volumes, a number of unique research collections, and subscribes to more than 3,500 current periodicals. The Hugh Owen Library is also one of only two designated European Documentation Centres in Wales and contains considerable resources for historians interested in the USA.
  • Situated next to the university campus is the National Library of Wales, one of the UK’s five copyright libraries, which houses more than 6,000,000 volumes and offers immediate access to all copyright publications issued in the UK. The National Library houses many collections relating to the British Isles in general, and has been since its inception the world's leading repository for archives relating to the history of Wales and beyond, many of them still awaiting exploration. Further information about research resources in Aberystwyth is available.
  • Aberystwyth is also home to a number of research-led institutions that are useful to historians of many periods and interests. These include (besides the National Library), the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments in Wales, and the Ceredigion Record Office.
  • Aberystwyth University has a proud tradition of research excellence, as demonstrated in the most recent Research Excellence Framework assessment (REF 2014), which placed the university in the top 50 institutions for research power and intensity. The Department has eighteen academic members of staff, whose teaching and research expertise ranges across the second millennium and into the twenty-first century, encompassing Europe, Asia, Latin America and the US, with a particular focus on political and historical cultures, the history of science and medicine, and media as well as social and economic history. It also has close links with other centres of historical study in the university, and – through conferences, workshops and its series of research seminars - offers access to a wide range of international scholarly networks. All of our lecturers are research active and are recognised as leading authorities in their respective fields. Information on departmental research and staff profiles can be viewed. 

About this course

Those interested in MPhil or PhD study are encouraged to contact the Postgraduate Tutor so that a viable research topic can be developed through discussion with members of staff. Members of the department are always happy to consider research proposals relating to any aspect of their area of expertise, and to discuss with applicants the appropriate sources and methodologies for their project.

To apply for a place on the PhD programme you will need to prepare a research proposal, personal statement, complete an application form, and provide two references. Please see the How to Apply pages for more detail.

English Language Requirements:

If you have a Bachelor’s degree from a UK University, you do not need to take an English proficiency test.

Non-native English speakers who do not meet this requirement must take a University-recognised test of academic English language proficiency. For further information please see our English Language requirements page.

Course Fees:

Please see the tuition fee pages for current tuition fees. Please note that all fees are subject to an annual increase.


For information on possible funding, please see our funding calculator.


To discuss possible research projects, please contact Prof Björn Weiler at or Dr Jessica Gibbs at

For more information on the application process, please contact the Postgraduate Admissions Office at or +44 (0) 1970 622270.

Modules September start - 2023

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Principles of Research Design PGM0210 10
Ways of Reading PGM0410 10

* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh

Teaching & Learning

MPhil and PhD are research-based degrees, in which students undertake individual research projects under close academic supervision from within the department.  They can be studied full or part-time.

The MPhil normally takes one year of full-time research (two years part-time), followed by a one year writing up period, after which students submit a dissertation of around 60,000 words.

The PhD normally takes three years of full-time research (five years part-time), after which students complete and submit a dissertation of 80-100,000 words.

The average total duration of the degree (full-time) therefore tends to be around two years for an MPhil and between three and four years for a PhD.