Graduate study in history in the UK

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,903
Blachernai
For those who have a graduate degree(s) or are currently pursuing them, what is the average time to the PhD in the UK? The M/Phil that I am looking at looks to be 21 months, but there is little information on how they expect you to work on the PhD. Any advice would be much appreciated.
 
Apr 2011
1,286
Melbourne
Good thing you specified UK, because times can differ around the world. Typically, about 3-4 years, full time; most time spent researching, and about the last year spent writing (or rather, more so for history).
 

DreamWeaver

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
10,445
Wales
3 years with a 4th year thrown on for writing up, viva's and other such things. Most try and get it done in the 3 years. There is no real time limit to the PhD, you may take aslong as you want to do it (institution, Supervisors and funding pending of course). The longer you leave it though, the less likely you are to complete it. Also people starting and not finishing PhD's along with those that drag on after 3 years looks bad on the Universites REA.


(I say this entering the 3rd year of mine)
 

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,903
Blachernai
Can any funding be expected? I have (almost embarrassingly so) extremely positive letters from a number of professors, my grades within the British "first class honours" system or however that works, and I have no doubt that my writing samples will be on par with anything that any other undergraduate can write. Still, I get the impression (at least from Oxford, my first choice) that there is little or no funding at the M.Phil level. This has caused me to look elsewhere for graduate study, and indeed I may end up here at home or in the United States purely for financial reasons, despite the fact that there are no really good programs in either of those two countries.
 

DreamWeaver

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
10,445
Wales
Ah yes funding, the ever present problem of the graduate researcher.

Its a bit crap really. There is funding available. BUT. Either it will only pay for your fee's at the university and not maintenance costs, or it will be some form of generic grant say £3000 for example, and you do what you want with it. Some PhD's will be completely funded, fees and living costs (though how sufficient that is, is another matter) but in these cases you will have to research and study what is dictated to you. Ie. They want somebody to study the lives of female coalminers in mid 19th Century Durham Coalfield....like it or not thats what you have to do. However you should be aware of that already when applying for the PhD.

Other options include various research councils, AHRC and ESRC being two, I recomend the latter, its economical so nobody applies compared to the fighting required for the AHRC. Feel free to apply. Also various academic societies and organisations, liek the Historical Association, Institute of Historical Research or Royal Historical Society may offer some form of funding, though likely small.

Individual universities may offer awards or scholarships, usually with something involved, some may even offer part time teaching or examination marking at a hourly waged rate. That will depend on your institution though.

Somewhere in the library of the uni or its careers centre there will be a big book of funding. This will detail all the charities and endowments and philanthropic societies that may give you money. Ranging from £100s to the £10,000s. They will have their own conditions and prerequisties for applications and considerations.

Im afriad I know not the situation in Canada as afr as any funding body there is concerned. Needless to say many of us are in the same boat. I can only afford the PhD by the misfortune of a relative passing on and leaving me something to fund it, coupled with 2 years of employment.

If nothing else, find some sort of irregular work that pays, universities offer some teaching for phd's, examination invigilation, exam script marking, assitants to profs etc. Might not be regular or much but might help out.
 

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,903
Blachernai
Thanks for the information, Dreamweaver. Going to school in Canada is only a last-ditch effort if I cannot afford to go to school elsewhere. We do not have any Byzantine Studies programs here, so the only place I'd apply anyway was to the Late Antiquity department at the University of Ottawa. I'm not sure that I'm desperate enough to apply to the Medieval History department at the University of Toronto.
 

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,903
Blachernai
Thanks. I'm going to need it, as work/training is sapping all of my energy and time this summer, and thus I am unlikely to get the writing samples up to the quality that I desire before sending them in.
 
Apr 2011
1,286
Melbourne
I would reapply if funding is not granted - doing a PhD is very rewarding if you're keen, but it does take some time out of when you could potentially be working full-time. Since it's seriously not recommended to work even part-time whilst doing it (though maybe a few casual hours, depending on how you handle your time), you at least should be supported academically-wise.
There is no real time limit to the PhD, you may take aslong as you want to do it (institution, Supervisors and funding pending of course).
That may be the case at certain universities, but the majority which provide funding (as you've mentioned slightly) - and even those who don't - do specify finishing in time.

I do know that universities in the US are more likely to hire post-graduate students who are completing their PhDs for smaller academic/teaching work. This can be the case in the UK, too, in which case that is some work worth doing - as long as it doesn't interfere with research.
 

DreamWeaver

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
10,445
Wales
That may be the case at certain universities, but the majority which provide funding (as you've mentioned slightly) - and even those who don't - do specify finishing in time.
In the UK, you can take as long as you want atleast in theory, practicalities will probably have kicked in long before, the university would like you to be done in the specified time period because it looks good on paper and they can fiddle their statistics for funding etc.

If the uni is funding you then you have a set time of funding, whihc may as you say also entail a specific termination date. Usually 3 years, if it takes longer than that then you just dont get any more money and you are on your own. Ive known people who are in their 5th and 6th years.