PhD Research

The School of

Divinity, History, Philosophy & Art History

Maintaining a tradition of teaching & learning dating back over 500 years

PhD Research

PhD Supervision

The School of Divinity, History and Philosophy offers PhD supervision in the following areas (links will direct you to potential supervisors and their specific areas of study):

Overview of the PhD

Duration: Full-time 36 months; part-time 60 months. We offer research students the option of commencing study in January or September. We also now offer an Extended PhD (full time 48 months; part time 96 months) - please see full details below.

Please note that part-time study is not available for resident international students. The PhD may be conducted, full-time or part-time, by distance learning, which carries no residency requirement.

The PhD at the University of Aberdeen is a research degree. Research degrees are defined by the student’s own research proposal, on which the student will write a thesis. Research students read on their own research topic and work closely with their supervisors to define their research and write a thesis. They also attend regular research seminars, are provided with opportunities to attend conferences and for some postgraduates, there are opportunities to gain undergraduate teaching experience.

To be accepted into the PhD programme, an applicant must secure a research supervisor. Applicants should write directly to the most suitable member of the department describing their intended project to see whether supervision can be provided. To view research supervisors in your field, use the links at the top of the page.

Entry Requirements

Normally, the minimum entrance requirement for admission to the PhD is a 2:1 (B-average) degree in an appropriate field, or equivalent. It is preferable that you hold a Masters in the chosen area of study as well.


A PhD may be conducted on campus or by distance learning. Full-time, on-campus students normally study residentially for 36 months, working with a supervisor and attending research seminars, taking part fully in the research community here. If you are an international student and want to study on campus, you will need a Tier 4 student visa. The PhD may be undertaken by Distance Learning, with no residency or visa requirement (a visitor's visa may be required for making visits to Aberdeen). Distance learning involves the same level of supervision as residential study, and supervisors may stipulate that some meetings be in person. Please see the PhD by distance learning page for more information.

Part-time Study

UK and EU students may undertake the PhD part-time, either on campus or by Distance Learning. International students may undertake the part-time PhD by Distance Learning only. This normally entails 72 months of supervised research.

Extended PhD

Duration: Full-time 48 months; part-time 96 months

The extended PhD is offered to students who benefit from an additional year of tailored study early in their PhD. This may be especially suitable for those who have limited background in their chosen subject area, or who require training in particular research skills. Examples of this type of training include:

  • languages, e.g. Greek, Latin, German;
  • research skills such as dealing with qualitative and quantitative data or
  • background in a particular field, e.g. Palaeography.


All four years (for full time study) or eight years (for part time study) will be charged at the normal fee rate.


You are expected to complete your PhD within the four years (full time) or eight years (part time) but it is possible, in exceptional circumstances, to extend for a further 12 months.

How to Apply

Have a look at these guidelines on how to apply. You can make your application for a PhD online. Please read the guidance to help you complete your application form.

Alongside your application form, you will need to upload the following supporting documents online:

  • Copies of your undergraduate and graduate degree certificates
  • Academic transcripts for your undergraduate and graduate degrees.
    The transcript, which lists all of the classes taken and marks gained, must be requested by the student. You should therefore get in touch with the University where you gained your degree, and arrange for this to be sent to you.
  • Two academic references; either the details of your referees provided on your application form or uploaded online with your application.
  • Your research proposal
  • If English is not your first language and you have not studied previously at an institution in the UK, you will need to demonstrate your proficiency in English by taking an IELTS, TOEFL or PTE academic test.

If you need to send some of your supporting documents at a later date, you can upload your supporting documents online after you have submitted your application. Please note that your application will not be processed until all supporting documents have been submitted.

If you have any questions about the programme you are interested in or the application process,  please contact the Postgraduate Administrator at, or call +44 (0) 1224 272199.