Founded in 1898 this is a department with a long history, but also a strong commitment to research innovation.

The History Department sits within the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy; its students are uniquely placed to benefit from the scholarly cross-currents generated by this position.

Areas of study include Scottish and European History, Vikings, Medieval Europe, the History and Philosophy of Science, and how to read and think about history.

A medieval foundation, the University holds excellent library resources and especially rich archival materials for historians to exploit. Our teachers and supervisors are committed and enthusiastic. They will enrich your experience at the University of Aberdeen and strive to help you to realise your ambition to develop outstanding skills as a historian.

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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Degree Qualification

Our Research

Research is embedded within and across research centres:

Research Interests

Medieval Scotland

Later Medieval Scotland; Medieval Warfare; Anglo-Scottish relations; the Anglo-Scottish borders and Medieval Aberdeen.

Supervisor: Dr Alastair Macdonald

Scottish and Irish enlightenment

Eighteenth century British and Irish political identity and the development of nationalism.

Supervisor: Professor Michael Brown

Scottish & English politics and landed society c.1300-c.1600

Scottish politics and landed society c.1300–c.1600; English politics and landed society c.1350–c.1500; Aspects of medieval and early modern nobility, rulership, and law; Aspects of medieval and early modern borderlands and peripheries.

Supervisor: Dr Jackson Armstrong

Modern Irish History, Scottish Catholicism, Modern Britain

Political, social or religious history of Ireland since 1800, including the Irish global Diaspora; the history of Catholicism in Scotland since 1707; and the political history of Britain in the Victorian era.

Supervisor: Dr Colin Barr

Early Modern Socio-Cultural History

European and/or Scottish histories of witchcraft, medicine, sexuality, crime, Calvinism/Reformed (especially with regard to social control) in the broad period c. 1450-c. 1700.

Supervisor: Professor William Naphy

Early Modern East Central Europe and Germany

Military, social, political, religious and intellectual history of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, early modern Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.

Supervisors: Professor Karin Friedrich and Professor Robert Frost

Cultural History

Relating to science, technology and medicine, in Britain from the eighteenth century to the present

Supervisor: Dr Ben Marsden

Emigration within the British Empire

Emigration within the British Empire since the 18th century; Modern Scottish History; Oral History; Medicine and Migration

Supervisor: Professor Marjory Harper

Modern Russian and Soviet history, particularly c.1900-1930 - Transport history

Any aspect of Modern Russian and Soviet history, and also transport history, particularly in relation to the role of railway transport in warfare in Britain and Europe; British railway history.

Supervisor: Professor Anthony Heywood

European and International History, 1880 - present

International and global political history and a wide array of modern European history; Jewish/non-Jewish relations and historical methodology.

Supervisor: Professor Tom Weber

Global Empires and World History

History of the British empire and the Commonwealth in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including the impact of the empire on Britain. Applications are particularly welcome on the economics and business histories of the empire, the politics of the Commonwealth, and on the history of settler societies. Dr Dilley will also consider other topics in the fields of global and British history.

Supervisor: Dr Andrew Dilley

Entry Requirements

Normally, the minimum entrance requirement for admission to the PhD is a degree with Second Class Honours (Upper Division) in an appropriate field, or equivalent. It is preferable that you hold a Masters in the chosen area of study as well.

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.
  • 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.


The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

Fees and Funding

View the tuition fee rates

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

One of the best settings in the UK

The medieval street-plan of Old Aberdeen still dictates the campus layout, but the tranquillity of the ancient buildings, cobbled streets and quadrangles sits alongside vibrant new constructions.

Postgraduate research culture

PG researchers in History enjoy an inclusive and supportive scholarly environment, with a regular seminar series where students present their findings to their peers and receive constructive feedback.


Historians' skills are needed for any profession that values quick and critical thinking, detailed analysis, close reading, the art of comparison and testing concepts through practical case studies. History graduates have made careers in politics, become prime ministers (Gordon Brown) and chancellors (Alastair Darling), but also gone into banking, the law, journalism and media. A postgraduate history degree offers numerous possibilities, including university teaching and research posts; curatorial work; academic administration; freelance writing and broadcasting; teaching in Scotland, Europe and North America.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

School of Divinity, History and Philosophy
University of Aberdeen
50-52 College Bounds
AB24 3DS