Detail of stained glass panel showing medieval London with Tower of London in foreground
TonyBaggett/iStock. Royalty free.
The School of History has an exceptionally rich and stimulating research environment – the breadth of our expertise enables us to offer high-quality research supervision across a wide range of areas.

International excellence

The School is home to recognised experts on African, American, British and Irish, European (including French, German and Russian), Islamic and imperial history, with particular strengths in the history of medicine, military history, Medieval and Early Modern cultural, ecclesiastical, political and legal history. 

In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014), 99% of the research we submitted was judged to be of international quality. 

Understanding the past is a process that needs time, care, imagination, and support. We organise our research so that each of our academics has space to pursue their own projects, and we pride ourselves on the rigorous quality of our research output. 

World-leading experts

Our active community of researchers produces world-leading scholarship across a wide range of fields, from the medieval era to the modern day.

Research excellence

Based on the most recent Research Excellence Framework, the School of History was ranked 8th in the UK for research intensity by the Times Higher Education

Professor Mark Connelly stands outside, a tree is just visible in the background.

All quiet on the Western Front?

Professor Mark Connelly explores the story and significance of the Christmas Truce in 1914

Our research: making a difference

Our research interests are currently focused on four key areas:

  • history of commerce, global (America, Africa and Imperial) and cultural history
  • history of medicine, ethics, environment and medical humanities
  • history of Medieval and Early Modern cultures
  • history of war, media, and society.

We are committed to using our study of history to make a difference to society today, and we always seek to build new research projects and incline existing ones towards the needs and interests of public audiences and practitioners. 

We share our expertise with different audiences, working with radio and television, schools, historical associations, museums and public bodies to explain the past and put the present in clearer context. 

Our research networks

Funded projects

We have developed a range of funded projects, each based on an exciting ongoing portfolio of research at the School of History and drawing on our wider specialisms. Examples include:

Age of Revolution: led by Dr Ben Marsh and funded by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, the Age of Revolution project aims to broaden and deepen engagement in the subject of Waterloo and the period of revolution in Europe between 1775 and 1848, engaging actively with over 2,000 UK schools. 

England and the Identity of Italian Renaissance Humanism: Dr David Rundle's project will outline a programme for reshaping our understanding of how intellectual ideas moved across the shared culture of late medieval Christendom.

Diplomacy and the Making of Europe in the Late Middle Ages (c. 1250-1450): Dr Barbara Bombi's project will focus on mutual influences in the formation of states in fourteenth-century Europe and diplomatic contacts among polities, looking at how they contributed to the creation of a “shared language of diplomacy” and European identity.

Bishops, canon law and the making of the medieval church, 875–1025: Dr Ed Roberts' study looks at the transformation of the office of bishop in Western Europe between the eras of Carolingian and Gregorian ‘Reform’. 

Lungs of the Citya project funded by the Wellcome Trust and led by Professor Karen Jones that explores the links between urban parks, environmental history and medical health in London, Delhi and Shanghai. 

Metropolitan Scienceled by Dr Rebekah Higgitt, this project explores practical and commercial contexts of 17th- and 18th-century London to tell a new story about the development of scientific and technical knowledge and skill. The project is in partnership with the Science Museum.

Gateways to the First World WarProfessor Mark Connelly is Principal Investigator for the Gateways to the First World War centre, which supports public engagement with the First World War centenary. The centre has worked with many partners, including the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, assisted over 70 Heritage Lottery Fund projects and put on more than 200 events.

Oral Health Inequalities, Oral Hygiene Cultures in England 1870-1970led by Dr Claire Jones, this project explores how oral hygiene cultures varied according to region, age and socio-economic factors, in order to inform community dental practice and education and public awareness, and to enrich the medical humanities.

The Latin Lexicon of Anglo-Saxon England, AD 871-1016a project undertaken by Dr Robert Gallagher and funded by the Leverhulme Trust. It seeks to trace the range of Latin vocabulary being used by Latin authors in England during the long tenth century and aims to uncover new connections between authors, texts and manuscripts across England and beyond.

Labour Migration and Labour Relations in southern Africa, c.1900-2000: Led by Dr Andrew Cohen with Dr Rory Pilossof (University of the Free State, South Africa) and funded by the British Academy Newton Fund, this project seeks to re-engage with debates on labour migration and occupational structures in southern Africa in order to both trace the historical developments of labour relations and structures, and to better contextualise contemporary considerations and issues. 

Working in partnership

We believe that the most exciting history is shared and typically involves lots of people, bringing different viewpoints and skill sets. We have excellent links with a wide range of national and international partner institutions, without whom our work would have much less reach and significance. They include:

  • The Arcadian Library, London
  • Literaturhaus Berlin
  • Rijksmuseum van Oudheden
  • Royal Geographical Society
  • British Council
  • Museum of London
  • British Library
  • Wellcome Trust
  • Runnymede Trust
  • National Museum of Denmark
  • Oxford Museum for the History of Science
  • V&A London
  • National Maritime Museum
  • Royal Observatory
  • Science Museum
  • Royal Museums Greenwich
  • Imperial War Museum.

We work with them to generate new projects, find new angles and involve new communities. We are open to new approaches and new partnerships – whether you are a museum, school, organisation, or individual. 

We have helped to advise on and organise field trips, exhibitions, teaching materials, local history projects, media programming, archival work, educational podcasts, student placements, training events for museums and teachers, and everything in between. If there are ways that our academic researchers can work with you in a mutually beneficial way, and especially to deepen social engagement with history and enlarge its cultural and educational impact, then do get in touch.

Our research landscape is constantly changing in response to new developments around us. It changes as individual researchers build enlivening new projects or join our community and bring fresh expertise. We are open to new ideas, new questions, new research proposals, and to the public, whom we welcome to a range of lectures and seminars on and off campus.