MPhil and PhD Opportunities

Area Studies, History and Politics

Postgraduate Research in Area Studies, History and Politics.

Star Overview

Research overview

Research in history, politics and social studies takes place under the umbrella of the Centre for European and International Studies Research (CEISR) at the University of Portsmouth. We are particularly proud of our well-developed research culture and strong commitment to scholarship and publication, and our research was rated 'top in the UK' according to the Research Power Index compiled by the prestigious journal Research Fortnight. Based in a grade II listed building of historic significance, at the heart of the Central University campus, we offer excellent higher degree supervision by internationally recognised academic staff in all of our subject areas.

Research centre

Centre for European and International studies Research (CEISR)

CEISR brings together more than 60 researchers and 20 postgraduates from across the University. The Centre offers a vibrant, supportive and intellectually stimulating environment within which to pursue research. Activities have been funded by major UK and European research councils, including the AHRC, ESF, ESRC, EU, UNESCO, the British Academy and various NGOs.

At CEISR, we welcome linguists, historians, sociologists, political scientists, anthropologists and specialists in area studies, as they undertake interdisciplinary research in disciplines across the humanities, social sciences and arts. Under the CEISR umbrella, researchers are grouped into research clusters which include: Francophone Africa, International Development Studies and Security Issues, Language Across Borders, Social and Cultural History, Sociology and Social Theory, Transnational Europe, Women's and Gender Studies.


How to apply 

To apply for a postgraduate research degree with us, you'll need a good first degree from an internationally-recognised university or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. We'll also consider outstanding applicants with exceptional equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications.

We're currently rebuilding our website, so to explore the 3 different routes you can take into a postgrad research degree at Portsmouth, visit our new 'How to Apply' pages.

Whilst studying, I felt part of a research community and had a supportive network of PhD supervisors, friends studying for their History PhDs and the staff in the History department.

Daniel Swan, PhD History

Key Facts


MPhil: 2 years full-time, 4 years part-time
PhD: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time
By Publication: 1 year part-time
Start date: October/February


A good honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject or a master’s degree in an appropriate subject. Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. All applicants are subject to face-to-face or telephone interview. 

English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

MPhil/PhD Fees*

MPhil full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the Government Postgraduate Loan

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the Government Doctoral Loan


Home/EU/CI full-time students: £4,260 p/a*
Home/EU/CI part-time students: £2,130 p/a*
International full-time students: £13,200 p/a*
International part-time students: £6,600 p/a*

*All fees are subject to annual increase

By Publication Fees*


Members of staff: £1,550 p/a*
External candidates: £4,260 p/a*

*All fees are subject to annual increase.

View tuition fee terms and conditions



School of Area Studies, History, Politics and Literature

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Light bulb Research Areas


History at the University of Portsmouth is a distinctive field in which the comprehension of the past, and an awareness of the processes of social change, combine to create a stronger understanding of our present. Research areas include:

  • War, revolution and religious persecution
  • Gender/Women's History
  • Leisure activity
  • Political use of heritage

International Development Studies 

  • Gender-based violence
  • Religion and development
  • Global health issues and poverty
  • Migration and immigration
  • Citizenship and multiculturalism
  • Cultural development
  • Transnational justice


African Studies

  • Franco-African relations in the colonial and post-colonial period (North and Sub-Saharan Africa)
  • Decolonisation (notably Algeria and West Africa)
  • Post-colonial and post-conflict state-building
  • Nation-building, including language, culture and memory
  • Pan-Africanism, Blackness and diaspora
  • Humanitarian interventions and peace operations
  • Gender

European Studies 

  • European integration
  • The EU as a global actor and foreign policy
  • Right-wing extremism
  • National identity and state formation
  • Intersectionality, discrimination, race and racism
  • Jews in Central and Eastern Europe before 1939
  • Memory politics

Politics and International Relations

We are interested in politics and international relations at different levels of government and governance:

  • United Kingdom and the European Union
  • Other world regions (e.g. post-Soviet Space, US)

We study the contestation of political issues by:

  • International and regional integration organisations
  • States, political parties, societal actors and networks

We explore themes including:

  • Globalisation, risk, terrorism, foreign and security policy
  • Migration and citizenship
  • Political leadership


American Studies

  • Transatlantic relations
  • American Revolution
  • Colonial North America/ British Atlantic World
  • African-American, Hispanic, women’s, youth and gay civil rights movements of the 20th century

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Monitor Facilities & Features

Flexible Learning

You will benefit from web, email or phone access to many of our facilities and services. Our student website will be your one-stop shop for all news, information and links to other services, and 24/7 online access to the University Library’s vast electronic book, journal and database collections will help you find the right resources for your research.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Graduate School

From the moment you join us, you will be supported by the University's Graduate School, alongside your assigned supervisory team. You will be invited to a two-day induction, helping you to get the most from our facilities and be part of our thriving research community. You can also extend your skills as a researcher through the Graduate School Development Programme, which offers training, workshops and events.

Mortarboard Careers & Opportunities

Career Planning

One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the comprehensive support we provide in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service - Purple Door - can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. 

The Graduate School Development Programme offers a series of dedicated workshops on career planning, specifically for research degree students. You will also have access to consultations with careers advisers or online support. This service is available for five years after graduation.


Doctoral graduates are highly-skilled researchers that make an impact in a range of sectors. They benefit from high employment rates and, on average, earn more than holders of undergraduate and Masters degrees. A doctorate demonstrates to employers that you are intelligent, capable and motivated, and that you have advanced technical and research skills.

In addition to supervision from experts in the field, you will be supported to become an internationally employable doctoral graduate. You will also develop skills that are desirable to employers including critical thinking, problem-solving, project management, communication, leadership and creativity.

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