PhD BannerPhD Banner StudentsPhD Banner Facilities


Common questions

Here you will find answers to our most frequently asked questions. Click on a section to reveal relevant information. You can also search the University of Sheffield's AskUS question database which contains answers to hundreds of commonly asked questions.


If you have any questions not answered below or would like to discuss your application please do not hesitate to filling in our ask a question formemail us or phone us on +(0)114 22 22552.

PhD programme


Common questions

How does the programme work?

You will find information about course structure on our PhD course page.

Our PhD programme

Can I study part-time?

Yes. Many students choose to do their PhD part-time for a variety of reasons, such as funding, fitting the PhD in with work, returning to education after a break or simply preferring to spread your studies out over a longer period of time. 

Can I do my research outside of Sheffield? 

We are happy to consider applications from students who would like to undertake their research outside of Sheffield. Applications will be considered on a case by case basis, subject to approval by the University. 

Remote location study is available to EU and international students on either a full-time or part-time basis. UK students who would like to be based outside of Sheffield, can apply for majority off-campus status. 

If you would like to be considered for remote location or majority off-campus study, you should discuss the suitability of this approach with your proposed supervisor in the first instance. 

Study away from the University  

Is academia the only career destination for PhD students?

If you want an academic career, you will need a PhD as a starting point. But a PhD in History can also be a route into a whole range of other careers in which research skills are valued, from the publishing and public heritage industries to corporate consultancy and professional management. As a PhD student here in Sheffield, you'll have full access to the University's career services, as well as to a range of tailored career development opportunities.

Entry requirements


We normally expect applicants to complete a suitable MA in history, or a related discipline, with a research-training element before joining our research programme. The quality of performance at MA level will be taken into account when considering potential for PhD study. Applicants are also expected to have achieved a 2.1 or equivalent in a Bachelors degree in history, or a related discipline, from a recognised UK or overseas university.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for all of our courses are IELTS 7.0 with no less than 6.5 in each component, or an equivalent English language qualification.

The University offers additional English language courses before the start of the academic year, and support is available throughout the academic year from the University's English Language Teaching Centre.

Acceptable English qualifications English language support

Common questions

I don't have an MA degree, can I still apply?

Applicants who have not taken an MA may be considered in special circumstances. In this case, students will be expected to take modules in research skills from our MA programme in the first year of research as part of the Doctoral Development Programme.

Please feel free to contact us to discuss your background and provide guidance on applying.

Email us  Doctoral Development Programme 

I have been out of education for a while, can I still apply?

Yes, we are very happy to consider applications from applicants who have been out of education for a number of years. You may find the return to education challenging, but you will have much to contribute to the discussions and have plenty of skills that will help you make a success of your PhD.

Please feel free to contact to discuss your application and any preparation you might do before you start. Once you begin your PhD, the Doctoral Development Programme will help you to refresh your existing skills as well as developing any new skills you need.

Email us Doctoral Development Programme 



You will find information about how to apply on our applying webpage.

How to apply

Common questions

Is there an application deadline?

There is no formal deadline for applying to the PhD programme and we can usually accept applications up until early-August for entry that October. Please note that if you require a visa to study in the UK, you may need to apply earlier to give yourself time for the visa application process. 

However, if you are planning on applying for funding you will need to submit your application in advance of the funding deadline. We recommend you make contact with your proposed supervisors as early as possible to discuss your application.

Information on funding Information for international students

Do I have to start the research programme in October?

No, it is also possible to start the PhD programme on 1st February. However, to be eligible for most funding competitions you need to begin in October.

It may also be possible to start the PhD at other points in the year, we will consider these requests on an individual basis. 

What should I put in my research proposal and how long should it be?

You will find information about the expectations for your research proposal on our proposal webpage.

Your research proposal

What supporting documents do I need?

Your application should include a full research proposal; two academic references; a transcript of your BA results and a transcript of your MA results so far, where possible. You are also welcome to submit a supporting statement, CV and a sample of written work.

Who should be my referees?

You should usually have two academic referees from your BA and MA degrees (or equivalent).

If you have been out of education for more than two years, you can use alternative referees who can speak about your commitment to learning and to history, your ability to work independently, and to manage your workload under time constraints. Reference should not be provided from family or friends who know you in a personal capacity only. It can also be useful to get back in touch with a former lecturer, as you may find that they are still able to offer a reference.

Where should my documents be sent?

When you submit your application, you can also choose to send your referees a link which allows them to confidentially submit their reference directly to your application. We would recommend that you and your referees use this option, as it helps your application to be completed as quickly as possible. You will be able to upload your transcript and any other supporting documents when completing your application.

Alternatively, references and supporting documents can be sent to us directly at or to The Department of History, University of Sheffield, Jessop West, 1 Upper Hanover Street, Sheffield S3 7RA.

Any references provided to us via email should be sent directly from the referee using the email account listed on your application.

Will I need to attend an interview?

We don't invite all PhD applicants to attend an interview but you may be asked to attend an interview if, for example, you are returning to education after a prolonged gap

When will I receive a decision on my application?

We aim to respond to all applications within four weeks of receiving a complete application. Please note that we cannot begin to consider your application until we have received your references and transcripts.



A range of funding is available for PhD degrees in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

Information on funding

Common questions

What should I put in my funding study proposal and suitability statements?

Information about word limits and guidance notes on what to include in your statements are available in the relevant funding application forms. We would also recommend discussing your applications with your proposed supervisor.


* Please note that the course details set out here may change before you start, particularly if you are applying significantly in advance of the course start date. The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.