“We must continually ask questions of the past, even the most recent past, because it holds the key to the future. History must be handled carefully of course, for it is trained experts that must provide the intellectual underpinning for decisions taken by politicians and the senior leaders of the Armed Forces. We need more research and Defence must work ever more closely with academics if we are to make sense of our complex world and so provide practical solutions to knotty problems. We need to know what to change, how to change, when to change and why. We also need to know what not to change. These are not questions for the ill-informed.”
Field Marshal The Lord Bramall, former Chief of the Defence Staff, in an interview with PhD programme director, Professor Lloyd Clark, in April 2018.
The University of Buckingham’s PhD in Modern War Studies and Contemporary Military History seeks to provide the trained minds to which Field Marshal the Lord Bramall was referring, and our programme flourishes with doctoral students currently drawn from four continents and with graduates making their mark around the world. In a world of uncertainty and rapid change, there has never been a more important time to understand why war and how wars are fought, and their influence on politics, economics, society and culture.
The PhD programme is based in London, but its students can be located wherever their research demands and there is a choice full time or part time study. For those based in the UK, full use can be made of well-established relationships with some of the most important research facilities and institutions in the country including:
- The Imperial War Museum
- The RAF Museum
- The National Army Museum
- The Royal Navy Museum
- The National Archives
- The Royal United Services Institute
- Chatham House
- International Institute for Strategic Studies
- The British Commission for Military History
- The Centre for Army Leadership
- Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research
While at The University of Buckingham, students can also enjoy access to:
- The Humanities Research Institute
- The Buckingham University Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies
- The Centre for UN Studies
- Field Marshal The Lord Bramall Archives
All PhD students benefit from:
Research Skills Seminars/ Lectures
PhD Research Group Seminars
Specialist Supervision and Tutorials [see below]
Invitations to attend a series of evening seminars held at the Army and Navy Club, Pall Mall and a course research day at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
Seminar Location: Army and Navy Club, 36-39 Pall Mall, St. James’s. London SW1Y 5JN
Time: Seminars take place from 6.00pm and are followed by dinner.
22 November 2023: Aiden Aslin ‘Putin’s Prisoner-My time as a prisoner of war in Ukraine’ [in Conversation Professor Lloyd Clark] (British citizen who fought as a Ukrainian Marine in Mariupol)
6 December 2023: Dr John Greenacre ‘Scorched Earth: Conflict, Landscape and the Environment (Lecturer in History, University of Suffolk)
17 January 2024: Lt Col (Rtd) Crispin Black ‘8 June 1982-The Falklands War and the most costly day of combat since the Second World War.’ (Author and commentator)
21 February 2024: Professor Joanna Bourke ‘From shell shock to traumatic brain injury. A history of military psychiatry’ (Birkbeck College, University of London)
20 March 2024: Dr Matthew Powell ‘Round pegs in square holes-The perils of Close Air Support in the modern era’ (Teaching Fellow in Strategic and Air Power Studies, University of Portsmouth)
17 April 2024: Professor Lloyd Clark ‘The Last Hurrah! Military raids in 1945 and their operational effectiveness’ (Professorial Research Fellow, University of Buckingham)
Study Day at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst 2024
Study Day Location: The Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, Camberley, Surrey GU15 4PQ
Date: Saturday 18 May 2024
Dr Gary Buck: ‘Operation Market Garden: Cognitive biases and Field Marshal Montgomery’s Decision Making’
Professor David Martin Jones: ‘The Ukraine War and the changing geopolitics of central Europe’ (Honorary Visiting Professor, University of Buckingham)
Mr Andrew Fox: ‘Groupthink and Sunk Cost Fallacy: Task Force Helmand, 2004-10’ (Senior Lecturer, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst)
WO1 Mark Willis: ‘A Perspective on RAF Leadership – 40 Years in the making’ (Warrant Officer, Tedder Academy, RAF Cranwell)
Each student is allocated two supervisors. There is a First (or Principal) Supervisor, who is the student’s regular guide during his or her research, and with whom the student meets regularly throughout the year. There is also a Second Supervisor, whom the student may consult on a more limited basis where a ‘second opinion’ on a particular draft chapter may be helpful.
Current supervisors include:
Dr Andrew Boyd – 20th Century naval history and new security challenges
Professor Lloyd Clark – History of the British Army; military transition and change; lesson learning; leadership and command
Dr Andrew Lownie – Modern British history and espionage
Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice – Human Rights Law
Dr Ife Oakafor-Yarwood – Multidisciplinary approaches to security, the environment and maritime governance in Africa
Dr Gareth Price – Strategy, armed forces, politics and economics in south Asisa
Lieutenant Colonel (retd) Christopher Pugsley – The military history of the Australian and New Zealand armed forces
Major General (retd) William Robbins – Command, leadership and organisational culture.
Professor Matthias Strohn – History of European Armies; fighting methods; doctrine and command, counter-insurgency.
Dr Andrew Tchie – Security, stabilisation and peace operations in Africa
Dr Paddy Walker – Future warfare/rules; military ethics; military technology
Current PhD Topics include
- Retaining Women: A Review of women in the British Army, 1992-2022
- Re-evaluating Counterinsurgency: The British Army and its Methods during the early years of the Malayan Emergency 1948 –1952
- Strategic Leadership and Change: Generalship in the British Army since 1991
- Framing War: The responses of The Times and The Guardian newspapers and their respective letter writers to the UK Government’s narrative framing of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. 2001-2014
- Private Military Companies and the Fight Against Terrorism, 2001-2014
- Criminal activities in Sahel: The relationship between organized crime and terrorism, and its implications for regional security and development
- India’s Strategic Culture: Understood as a Convergence of Western and Eastern Strategic Culture
- The Military Challenges to the Boko Haram Insurgency Campaign Within Nigeria’s Political, Economic, and Societal Contexts (2002-2020)
- The Cultures of Remembrance: A Comparison of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Volksbund deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge, 1945-2020
- Sub Regional Intervention in West Africa. An Analysis of the ECOWAS Military Intervention In The Gambia, 2017-2020
- Facing Cyber Conflict: A Comparative Study of the Doctrinal and Organizational Evolution of NATO’s Top Three Western European Cyberforces (Great Britain, France, Germany), 2009-2019
What our students say
‘My PhD in Modern War Studies experience has been thoroughly rewarding and exceeded my expectations. The world-class academic supervision and opportunities have been second to none, opening doors to networks, excellent research facilities and most importantly drawing out my intellectual curiosity to hone my chosen topic’. (Scott Sherriff)
‘After years of asking myself should I undertake a PhD, I decided to investigate possible universities to undertake a potential PhD in Modern War Studies. I approached various universities only to be given a number of different dates for an open evenings. It was not until I contacted Buckingham that I received a warm welcome. Within days, I talked with a potential supervisor who was willing to support my interests. Over the past 18 months, the support from the academic community at Buckingham has been unwavering. The opportunities you have to meet and discuss your work with experts in your field are extraordinary. The team at Buckingham is always willing to support you and answer any questions you may have.’ (Richard Jones)
‘The Modern War Studies and Contemporary Military History PhD programme has been a formative experience that challenges students to develop their ideas and academic skills. Access to supervisors is excellent and support from the wider academic team and library is readily available online and in-person. The programme has been a superb experience that I can highly recommend to prospective students.’ (Claudia Harvey)
Students are registered initially for the degree of PhD (Doctor of Philosophy), although their status is probationary until the first Annual Review has taken place, normally between 12 and 18 months from first registration.
The usual period of doctoral study is three years, though the University’s Regulations also permit candidates who make particularly rapid progress to apply to the University Research Committee for permission to submit at the end of their second year of study.
HM Armed Forces Discount
A 20% discount is available on the tuition fees for this programme to all serving members of the British Armed Forces (regardless of rank).
Enquiries should be directed in the first instance to Professor Lloyd Clark Lloyd.firstname.lastname@example.org Details can also be obtained from our Admissions Officer (London Programmes) on email@example.com or by telephone to +44 (0)1280 827514.
In addition to PhD Modern War Studies, we also offer a variety of other PhD programmes.