Economic and Social History

Economic and Social History

The Economic and Social History Pathway is offered at Durham, Newcastle and Queen’s University Belfast.

The Economic and Social History Training Pathway is offered at Durham University, Newcastle University and Queen’s University Belfast. This pathway has major strengths: All partner institutions use methods, theories and analysis from demography, economics, finance, history and management studies to understand how and why economic and social change have occurred within the UK, Europe and the global economy. A historical perspective is required because the economic and social effects of economic growth are never instantly manifest.

Durham historians work on a range of questions in economic and social history, including environmental history, urban history, housing, the family and household, poverty, welfare and living standards, social mobility, social relations, labour and the origins of capitalism and the industrial revolution. We cover Britain, Europe, North America and Asia, with a particular strength in African history. We range chronologically from the early middle ages to contemporary society.

Durham currently offers three options for ESRC funded students: a 1+ 3 route, whereby students take the MA in Social and Economic History followed by a PhD; +3, PhD funding for students who have already taken an ESRC accredited MA, and +3.5, PhD funding with an additional six months in which to acquire research training for those who have not taken an ESRC-accredited MA.

Academics at Newcastle have particular strengths in modern business and economic history, especially entrepreneurship and strategy, intellectual property and corporate governance. Located within Newcastle University Business School, we adopt a social science approach to business and economic history.

Newcastle currently offers the following options for ESRC funded students: a 1+3 route whereby students take the MA (Res) followed by a PhD; +3 PhD funding for students who have already taken an ESRC accredited PGT qualification, and +3.5 PhD funding which includes an additional six months in which to acquire research training for those who do not possess an ESRC accredited PGT qualification.

Queen’s University Belfast hosts the largest concentration of economic historians in the UK and Ireland outside of London. We have particular strengths in financial history, business history, demographic history, historical political economy and methodology in economic history. Based principally at Queen’s Management School, and approaching the field of economic history from the perspective of social scientists, the group is keen to supervise students who share their concern that there is a lack of respect for the past in economics research and teaching today. At Queen’s, we think that it is only by regaining this respect that economists can fully understand the present.

Queen’s offers two options for ESRC-funded students: the 1+3 route, whereby students first enrol on the economic history pathway of our MRes in Social Science Research, followed by a PhD in Economics, Finance, Management or History; and the +3 route, which is PhD funding for students who have already completed Master’s-level training in Economics and History and are ready to commence their postgraduate research. The economic and social history pathway is truly collaborative: drawing on the different strengths in each institution, it is also possible that the second supervisor will be based in a different institution to that in which the student is registered.

As the pathway develops, we will encourage students to present their work to workshops which will be hosted by each institution, including a dedicated annual workshop hosted by Queen’s. Students are also eligible to apply to attend the Economic History Society’s PhD conference and to present their work at the Society’s New Researchers Programme (previous students have won the New Researchers’ Prize) – as well as similar events organised by the Association of Business Historians and the Business History Conference.

Each of the three institutions which comprise this pathway have hosted the major conferences in this discipline: Durham hosted the Economic History Society’s annual conference in 2003 and 2010; Newcastle hosted the Association of Business Historians conference in 2014, and Queen’s will host the Economic History Society’s conference in 2019.