Studying at the Institute of Historical Research
The School of Advanced Study is the UK's national research hub in the humanities and offers a world-class research environment to our research students. We run a range of research training programmes, open to all postgraduate students, as well as an active public engagement calendar. The School is part of the AHRC-funded Lonon Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP), through which we are able to offer a number of studentships in humanities disciplines. Our institutes also offer a range of bursaries and studentships for applicants on our programmes.
The Institute of Historical Research is based in leafy Bloomsbury, located within the University of London’s Senate House, and in easy walking distance of the British Library. Students have access to the world-renowned IHR library with over 180,000 history books and periodicals, the digital and online resources within the institute as well as free access to the University of London’s Senate House Library with over a million books. Also available are other unique collections such as those of the Institute of Classical Studies and the Warburg.
Students at the Institute are welcomed to the wide range of history seminars and specialist research training programmes, as well as benefitting from the Institute’s network of Senior, Honorary, Research and Associate fellows. There are also opportunities to work alongside the established research centres in History – the Centre for Metropolitan History and the Victoria County History.
The Institute is at the centre of academic history, and has partnerships with numerous nationally and internationally renowned library and art collections, as well as links with the cultural and heritage sector, professional bodies, Guilds and Livery Companies, Archives, the City of London and higher education institutions in the UK and internationally.
From autumn 2017, the School of Advanced Study will offer students with an appropriate topic and level of local resource the opportunity to undertake a PhD by distance learning
From autumn 2017, the School of Advanced Study will offer students with an appropriate topic and level of local resource the opportunity to undertake a PhD by distance learning. These students are required to attend our London campus at set intervals to complete an intensive research training module, for upgrade, and for the viva but will otherwise study at their own location. This option is available to UK, EU and international students on the same basis as our on-campus PhD programmes (three years full time, six years part time). Fees are the same as for our on-campus PhD programmes. Please note that not all institutes and supervisors offer this option, and that some topics are not appropriate to be studied this way.
If you would like to be considered for our Research Degree programme via Distance Learning, please download and fill out the Research Degrees by Distance Learning form, to attach to your online application.
How to Apply
Before agreeing to accept you, the School will require you to submit a research proposal, so it is worthwhile having this drafted ahead of a formal application. Guidelines on drafting your research proposal.
Once you have contacted the School, you will be put in touch with a potential supervisor. It is important that you discuss your outline research proposal with them, and that you feel you can work together. Your supervisor will discuss any further development or re-focusing of your proposal before the formal application is taken to the relevant Research Degrees Committee for approval.
Please apply by clicking the links to the appropriate online application form.
The Institute of Historical Research offers doctoral research supervision in the following broad areas:
- Religious and cultural history
- Political history
- Economic and social history 1300-1500
- Imperial history
- History of Victorian Britain
- Urban and metropolitan history (especially London) history, including comparative approaches across Europe and elsewhere
- Royal and Diplomatic history since 1900
- Local and regional history, primarily concerning England and including the impact of towns
- The experience and impact of empire
- The development of social and domestic groups in early modern towns
- Architecture and planning and the built environment in Britain
- Digital history
Please note that occasionally the Institute will co-supervise with individuals outside of the IHR in order to enhance the breadth of expertise available to the student.
Dr Adam Chapman
Editor and Training Co-ordinator
Adam is Editor and Training Co-ordinator with the Victoria County History and is one of the organisation’s central office editorial staff based at the Institute of Historical Research. Adam received an MA in Medieval History from the University of East Anglia in 2003, followed in 2010 by a doctorate from the University of Southampton. Before joining the VCH, Adam worked on the AHRC-funded project, ‘The Soldier in later Medieval England, 1369-1453’, and in a variety of teaching and research roles at several UK Higher Education institutions. Adam specialises in the history of Wales and England from the thirteenth century to the fifteenth. His research interests include the cultural effects of war on medieval society, the development of the medieval landscape, and tracing the lives and careers of individuals through documentary records. He is also interested in the development and application of new technology to historical and archaeological research. He has published on the role of Wales and the Welsh in later medieval England.
- Medieval history
- Medieval warfare
- Local and regional history
Professor Lawrence Goldman
Lawrence Goldman was born and raised in London and attended the Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School in Elstree (of which he is now a governor). He went to Jesus College, Cambridge in 1976 to read History, graduating with a double first in 1979. Awarded a Harkness Fellowship, he studied American History at Yale before returning to begin doctoral research at Trinity College, Cambridge on the history of social science in the Victorian period. He was elected to a Junior Research Fellowship in Trinity in 1982 and was then appointed to a university lectureship teaching History in the Oxford Department of Continuing Education in 1985. In 1990 he became a tutorial fellow in History at St. Peter’s College, Oxford, where he remained for 24 years teaching modern British and American History. Between 2004 and 2014 he was the Editor of the newly-published Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, the record, in more than 65 million words, of the most notable figures in British history. He took up the Directorship of the Institute of Historical Research in 2014. He has contributed articles to leading journals like the English Historical Review, the Historical Journal and Past & Present and he is the author of books on Victorian Social Science, the history of Workers’ Education in Britain, and most recently, on the life of the political thinker and historian, R. H. Tawney. He is currently at work on a study of the development of social statistics and their impact on culture, politics and social thought in Britain under the title ‘Victorians and Numbers’.
- British and American (US) history since 1800
Dr Elisabeth Kehoe
Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Historical Research Lecturer, MA in Contemporary British History
Dr Mark Merry
Acting Director, Lecturer in Urban History, and IHR Digital Projects and Training Officer
Mark Merry is Senior Research Officer on the ESRC funded research project ‘Life in the Suburbs: health, domesticity and status in early modern London’ based at the CMH. The project is being undertaken in collaboration with The Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure and Birkbeck.
Mark has contributed to a number of research projects at the CMH, notably the predecessors to the current LitS project ‘People in Place: families, households and housing in early modern London’ (AHRC) and ‘Housing environments and health in early modern London 1550-1750’ (Wellcome Trust); and has worked as the Collections Officer for the Arts and Humanities Data Service: History, formerly based at the University of Essex.
- Urban history
- Early modern history
- Social history
Matthew Shaw is the Librarian of the IHR, with research interests in the French Revolution and, more broadly, the long-eighteenth century. He has also worked on American Studies, the First World War and issues related to archives, libraries and digitisation.
Before joining the Institute in 2016, Matthew was curator of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century political and historical papers and was lead curator of the Americas Collections at the British Library, where he curated a number of exhibitions, including Taking Liberties: the struggle for Britain’s rights and freedoms (2008), Growing Knowledge (2010), On the Road: Jack Kerouac’s Manuscript Scroll (2012), Enduring War: grief, grit and humour (2014) and Animal Tales (2015).
He has taught French Revolutionary and early-modern European History at Birkbeck College, where he was an honorary fellow, and is currently at visiting fellow at Northumbria University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
His DPhil (York, 2000) explored the history of the French Republican Calendar. Matthew is available to supervise graduate students in the French Revolution, the history of libraries and the cultural history of timekeeping..
- French Revolution
- c18th British and American history
- History of the Book
Dr Christopher Thornton
County Editor, Victoria County History of Essex
Chris joined the staff of the Victoria County History of Essex in 1992 and has been County Editor of the Victoria History of the County of Essex since 2003. For more information about the activities of VCH Essex visit the VCH Essex website.
- Local and regional history
Dr Alan Thacker
VCH Consultant, Local and regional history; medieval church histor
Dr Simon Trafford
VCH Consultant, Local and regional history; medieval church histor
Simon's broad interests are in the history and archaeology of early medieval Europe, c.350-1150. He specialises in later Anglo-Saxon England, especially the kingdoms of Northumbria and York, and concentrating in particular on migration, identity and gender. Recently he has been developing projects in various types of human engagement with the sea and water in early medieval Britain.He also maintains a keen interest in modern constructions and appropriations of the early medieval past, with a particular concentration on representations of the vikings in popular culture.
- Early medieval migration
- The kingdom of Northumbria, c.450 – c.1100
- Popular medievalism
- 1800 – present
- Early medieval seas and rivers