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Research degrees
Research areas
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The History discipline covers a broad range of the political, social, economic and cultural history of the UK and the rest of Europe from the late middle ages to the 21st century, with additional expertise in colonial and post-colonial history. It has particular strengths in policing and crime (embedded in a multidisciplinary research group), 20th-century international and global history,(supported by the University’s multidisciplinary Ferguson Centre for Asian and African Studies), and British and Irish history. We welcome applications from students interested in studying full- or part-time for a PhD in early modern, modern, and contemporary history.

Key facts

  • An opportunity to study with leading scholars in the fields of early modern, modern, and contemporary history.
  • Postgraduate students are members of research groups, including multidisciplinary groupings, and contribute to seminars and conferences.
  • Nationally and internationally acclaimed research centres, including the International Centre for the History of Crime, Policing and Justice, with close links to social policy colleagues via the International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research; and the Ferguson Centre for African and Asian Studies.
  • Regular training events enable students to acquire research skills and offer opportunities for networking.
  • The opportunity to participate in national training events as part of the discipline’s membership of the Open-Oxford-Cambridge (OOC) Doctoral Training Partnership, offering postgraduate training across several universities.
  • Competitive full-time studentships available, funded by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
  • Particular expertise in supporting part-time students.


The Open University houses an important archive of material for police history collected from individuals and organisations from the police service.

The University’s library offers outstanding access to one of the UK’s largest collections of online resources, and our postgraduate students benefit from access to collections of both primary and secondary source materials, online journals, periodicals, and other online publications.