University home |A-Z|

Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine

Postgraduate research

Postgraduate research office
The CHSTM postgraduate research office is home to a thriving community, and provides among the best facilities of any British HSTM institution

CHSTM has a thriving postgraduate research community. We always welcome applicants interested in undertaking postgraduate research.

The profiles on the central University site provide details of formal entry requirements and course fees for our two research degrees:

The MPhil can be regarded as a preparatory course for the PhD, or as a free-standing research qualification.

We currently have about fifteen full-time and five part-time research students, mostly on the PhD programme: see the current list of research students and their projects for an impression of the work currently being done at CHSTM.

Students range widely in age and background. Most work mainly in the Centre itself, while others attend regular meetings but are based primarily outside Manchester.  PhD students play an important role in the intellectual and social life of the Centre, and are encouraged to attend our seminars, reading groups and other, less formal activities. Several of our recent conferences have been organised, or co-organised, by research students.

Expected qualifications

We expect PhD applicants to have a strong background in the history of science, technology and/or medicine: for instance, a good taught Masters-level qualification in the subject, or considerable exposure to HSTM at undergraduate level. If you do not have a background in HSTM, we will normally expect you to take one of our taught postgraduate courses before applying to go further. These courses are designed to give you the intellectual grounding and practical skills you need to do original research. In some cases, we ask students to register provisionally for an MPhil to gain additional research training before going on to the PhD.

If you would like to discuss your eligibility, please contact us for guidance.

Advertised studentships

We are sometimes able to offer studentships for particular research projects funded by CHSTM itself, the University, or other bodies such as the Research Councils. In such cases, the topic and funding will normally be established in advance, and there will probably be specific requirements for applicants (for instance, a background in a particular subject). Holders of these awards will often be expected to make some contribution to the teaching work of the Centre.

Some studentships are offered in conjunction with external bodies, often museums or related institutions. Details of these CASE or Collaborative Doctoral Awards can be found here.

Details of CHSTM research studentships appear in our news listings as they are announced. 

If you are interested in a particular studentship, you should in the first instance contact the designated member of staff informally to discuss your suitability. Then you should follow the designated application procedure.

Proposing your own project

More often, prospective research students have ideas of their own of what research they want to do and of which member of staff they would like to work with. These ideas are sometimes general, and sometimes more specific. In all cases, such students should make contact with potential research supervisors informally (by phone, email or letter) as soon as possible to discuss specific topics and sources of funding. Please consult our list of research themes to view the possibilities; the listing of CHSTM staff provides contact details.

Some postgraduate researchers are able to fund their own work, but there is also a range of bodies which supply funding in particular research areas.  Our research funding opportunities page has more information.  Note that the deadlines for funding applications are usually in April or May for projects beginning the following September. You will need to contact us well ahead of these deadlines in order to discuss funding applications, which are made through CHSTM.

Potential applicants are always welcome to visit CHSTM to meet staff and students and discuss possibilities for postgraduate work. If you would like more information about supervisors or if you would like to visit us to chat about possibilities, please contact us.

When you have a topic and supervisor lined up, you should write a research proposal of two to three pages, indicating the background to the proposed project, your research plans and the resources you intend to use, and discuss it further with your proposed supervisor. Then follow the application procedure.

Part-time research

It is possible to take either a research Master's (MPhil) or a PhD part-time. In this mode, the MPhil lasts two years, and the PhD, six years. Part-time research allows the student greater flexibility. Part-time students play a significant role in the postgraduate community, and attend and contribute to seminars and other activities as appropriate.

Admission arrangements are as for the full-time degrees, though if you are in work we may also need a letter from your employer stating that you will be allowed some time to work on your research and to attend courses and supervisions as necessary.

Part-time students normally pay half-fees; you will also need to cover your personal living expenses.

Please contact the research co-ordinator for further guidance on any of these matters.

Disclaimer | Privacy | Copyright notice | Accessibility | Freedom of information |