DPhil in English Local History

Key facts

Level: Postgraduate research

Duration: Part-time over 4 to 6 years

Applications for 2020 - 21 entry are now being accepted.

Application deadlines are 12 noon UK time (midday) on:

  • Friday 15 November 2019
  • Friday 24 January 2020
  • Tuesday 3 March 2020


Late applications may be accepted if places remain

DPhil in English Local History


Local history has for more than twenty years formed one of the largest programmes within the Department for Continuing Education. The subject has proved an interesting, rewarding and accessible area of historical studies that has enabled many mature students to become directly involved in individual research. At undergraduate level the Department has, since 1980, offered a Diploma course and, in 1999, introduced a pioneering Internet-delivered Advanced Diploma.

The MSc and DPhil programmes have been a natural progression for the Department, drawing on knowledge and skills acquired in many years of providing specialist classes in local history, and profiting from close links with local, social and economic historians elsewhere in the University. The Department introduced a part-time, taught Master’s course in English Local History in 1993. In 1995 it inaugurated, on a pilot basis, a part-time doctoral programme in three subjects, one of which was local history. In 2001 the University judged the pilot scheme to have been successful and confirmed the programme. The MSc and DPhil programmes are overseen by the University’s Continuing Education Board, and admission is through the Department for Continuing Education. All postgraduate students on these courses are now members of the Department’s new Graduate School.

Supervision on the DPhil programme is provided by specialist tutors from the Department and elsewhere in Oxford, and further afield. An impression of interests represented in the Department’s teaching and research supervision can be seen in the Advanced Paper subjects offered as part of the Master’s course:

  • Power and patronage in the later medieval localities
  • Kinship, culture and community: provincial elites in early modern England
  • Poverty and the Poor Law in England 1660-1800
  • Enclosure and rural change, 1750-1850
  • Religion and community in England, 1830-1914.

The part-time DPhil regulations require a minimum period of four years'part-time study (equivalent to two years' full-time). Typically, students take about six years to complete the DPhil. The MSc in English Local History is recommended as preparation for the DPhil* and students building on MSc work usually complete more quickly.

Research students may be required to undertake appropriate research training provided within the University. In addition, they will be strongly encouraged to participate in seminars and informal meetings with staff and other researchers. The major commitment of time will be to individual study and research, involving wide and intense reading, data collection and analysis, and writing.

College affiliation

All students studying for a degree (including the DPhil) must be a member of a college. A number of Oxford colleges accept applications from part-time postgraduates whereas others do not: please consult the graduate prospectus or enquire with individual colleges. The majority of part-time DPhil students in Local History have chosen to apply to Kellogg College and most of the tutors and lecturers are members of the College. Kellogg is dedicated to graduate part-time students and has developed a unique expertise in attending to the intellectual, social, IT and welfare needs of part-time, mature graduate students. If a college choice is not specified on your application, it will be automatically sent to Kellogg if places are still available there.

Libraries and computing facilities

Registered students receive an Oxford University card, valid for one year at a time, which acts as a library card for the Departmental Library at Rewley House and provides access to the unrivalled facilities of the Bodleian Libraries which include the central Bodleian, major research libraries such as the Sackler Library, Taylorian Institution Library, Bodleian Social Science Library, and faculty libraries such as English and History. Students also have access to a wide range of electronic resources including electronic journals, many of which can be accessed from home. Students on the course are entitled to use the Library at Rewley House for reference and private study and to borrow books. The loan period is normally two weeks and up to eight books may be borrowed. Students will also be encouraged to use their nearest University library. More information about the Continuing Education Library can be found at the Bodleian website

The University card also provides access to facilities at Oxford University Computing Service (OUCS), 13 Banbury Road, Oxford. Computing facilities are available to students in the Students'Computing Facility in Rewley House and at Ewert House.

Provision for students with disabilities

The Department’s aim is to treat all students equally and we welcome applications from students with disabilities. Individual student needs are taken into account as far as possible, providing necessary adaptations and assistance within the resources available. For example, if practical work such as excavation or surveying would present difficulties, other types of work can be arranged. If you disclose your disability on your application form (which will be confidential) we will aim to make reasonable adjustment to ensure all academically capable students are able to participate.

If you have a learning difficulty, e.g. dyslexia, there are ways in which the Department can support you in your study. Please discuss with us how we may be able to help you before you start your course. We can refer you to an educational psychologist for assessment, if needed, and aim to have any assistance identified available for you from the beginning of your studies. Financial assistance may be available for the cost of the assessment.

For matters relating to disability or learning difficulty, please contact the Access Officer on 01865 280355 or via email at student.support@conted.ox.ac.uk

You can also obtain information from:

Disability Advisory Service
3 Worcester Street, Oxford, OX1 2BX
Telephone: 01865 280459

Course Content

The part-time DPhil regulations require a minimum of six years’ part-time study (equivalent to three years’ full-time). This may be reduced to four years if the applicant has successfully completed the MSc in English Local History or certain other Master’s courses. Research students may be required to undertake appropriate research training provided within the Department. In addition, they will be strongly encouraged to participate in seminars and informal meetings with staff and other researchers. The major commitment of time will be to individual study and research, involving wide and intense reading, data collection and analysis, and writing.

Who can apply?

Prior to applying, prospective applicants are encouraged to contact the Course Director, Dr Mark Smith, for an informal discussion. Tel: 01865 270363 or email: mark.smith@conted.ox.ac.uk

How to apply

For fees, entry requirements, selection criteria and how to apply please visit the course page on the Graduate Admissions website.

If you have any questions about the progress of your application, please contact the OUDCE Award Programme Administrator: email: gradschool@conted.ox.ac.uk
or the Graduate Admissions Office tel: 01865 270059; email:graduate.admissions@admin.ox.ac.uk

Terms and conditions

Terms and conditions for applicants and students on this course

Sources of funding

Information on financial support