Undergraduate Summer Research Project: History

Applications are now closed for summer 2022

Any questions please contact: internationalsummerschools@glasgow.ac.uk

In this six-week course you will pursue an independent research project in History guided by a supervisor. You will participate in group seminars in historical methods and individual meetings on your project. Your research will draw on the University of Glasgow’s outstanding research library, local archives and printed and online primary sources. You will produce a research paper and share your findings in oral presentations, including a mock conference.

The course provides an opportunity to undertake a historical research project to develop familiarity with historical methods and transferable skills in critical analysis, argument and oral presentation.

A range of topics is offered each year, featuring Scottish and British history from medieval to modern times. Past topics have included 'The Politics of Black Experiences in Britain', 'Crime, Punishment and the Body in Early Modern and Modern Britain',  'For Religion, King and Kingdoms? The Scottish Civil Wars, c.1638-1651' and 'The Viking Age in Britain and Ireland'.

History summer research project topics

Applicants should rank their preferred project topics in descending order from the selection below and upload the list, saved as a pdf file, to their online application. Do not include projects that you do not want to study. The project leaders will then allocate projects.

  1. The Sexual Revolution in Britain and Europe, 1945-1980
    This research project will explore the nature and the extent of social, political and cultural changes around sexuality in the post-war decades in order to reflect critically on the idea of sexual revolution. Exploring a variety of themes such as access to contraceptives, homosexuality, the student movement, gender equality, pre-marital sex and religion, students will especially reflect on the discrepancy between triumphalist discourses and lived experiences. Students will use publications of the time, newspapers, activists’ papers and written and oral testimonies, available online and at the Glasgow Women’s Library to reflect on how different kinds of sources offer different kinds of narratives about the sexual liberation. Working with their supervisor, students will develop a research paper that uses several types of sources to reflect on the complexity of changes in sexual norms in the post-war.

  2. Oral History and Feminist Activism in Scotland, Britain and the United States: From Women's Liberation to #MeToo
    This research topic covers gendered political and social protest, more specifically the recent history of feminist social movements in different parts of the Anglophone world - notably the United Kingdom and the United States. In addition to providing students with a nuanced understanding regarding the history of 20th and 21st century feminist activism and gender history as an overall discipline, this course offers an introduction to oral history methodology and its practical, ethical and theoretical dimensions. The primary source base of this course draws on existing English-language personal testimonies, located in various (online and in-person) oral history archives. The course includes a visit to the Glasgow Women’s Library, the only accredited museum in the UK dedicated to women's lives, histories and achievements. Working with their supervisor, students will develop a research paper topic focusing on selected oral history testimonies, combining them with relevant theoretical/methodological approaches.

  3. A Greek Tragedy at the Junction of Three Worlds: The Roots of the Greek Revolution of 1821
    In 1821 the Greeks lived at the crossroads of Asia, Europe and Africa, and of Christianity, Islam and secularism. As they navigated this intersection, they found themselves on a course that would plunge them into a decade-long conflict with the Ottoman Empire. As their nation gained independence, would the Greeks embrace their ancient classical inheritance, their medieval Byzantine heritage, or the ideas stemming from revolutionary Europe? By examining primary evidence (available online, and in English) this research project explores these avenues. Students will be equipped with the methodological skills to handle these sources, ranging from memoirs and state documents to material artefacts and folk songs. There will also be an expedition involving Glasgow’s neo-classical architecture, demonstrating how an idea of ‘Greece’ captured Europe at the time. Working with their supervisor, students will then select a root cause of the rebellion and develop a research project dedicated to their chosen theme.

  4. Plantagenet Authority in Medieval England, 1154-1216
    This research project explores the expression of authority by Plantagenet rulers in England between 1154 and 1216 and the role the Church played in supporting or countering their authority. During this period, ecclesiastical and secular leaders in England had interests which either unified them or led to intense conflict. Working with their supervisor, students will develop a case study rooted in close evaluation of primary sources such as chronicles, charters, papal documents, hagiographies, and letter collections, available in translation at the University of Glasgow library and online through digitised archives and collections. Potential case studies include the Becket Controversy, King John’s relationship with the Church, or the ways in which noblewomen expressed their own authority.

  5. Books and Material Culture in the Scottish Enlightenment
    This research project will explore the Scottish Enlightenment through print culture and materiality. Students will consider how books or printed matter, considered as objects, can help us understand the mindset of the intellectual Scoto-British elite of the eighteenth century. Students will engage with techniques and methodologies from the field of book history, including provenance research and investigation of early modern printing and book production processes. Working with their supervisor, students will develop a research paper using books, pamphlets, and manuscripts from one of the best preserved eighteenth-century private libraries in Britain, the Hunterian Library, now housed in Glasgow University Archives and Special Collections.

  6. Scottish Political Parties and the Memory of Robert Burns (1910s-2010s)
    This project will explore the political legacy of Robert Burns: Scotland’s best-known, most influential, and most contentious poet. Burns’s ambiguous verse, oscillating between patriotic odes, egalitarian lines, and royalist songs, lends itself to interpretations from across the political divide. Focussing on the past century, this project will consider how Scottish political parties, from right to left, and from nationalists to unionists, have tried to appropriate the memory of Burns for their own causes. Potential case studies include Scottish conservative discourses about Burns, from the First World War to Brexit, Left-wing pamphlets about Burns, including the works of John Smith Clarke (1885-1959), pacifist and socialist admirer of the poet, the deployment of Burns in British parliamentary debates (Hansard), and online and social media uses of Burns during the 2014 referendum campaign on Scottish independence. This project allows you to choose a case study to explore the complicated relationship


Credits and costs

Credits: 24

Course tuition costs: £3,500.00 *
Course costs include:

  • Tuition
  • Transcript
  • Orientation and welcome event
  • Scottish cultural immersion programme
  • Trips around Scotland
  • Social events
  • Scottish ceilidh.

Social and Cultural events will be subject to change dependent upon COVID-19 restrictions.

* Students from a partner university receive a 10% discount on tuition costs

Accommodation cost: £929.70

The cost of accommodation is additional to your course fee and is shown as a separate charge on your student account. 

Entry requirements

  • GPA of 3.0 for American Students or a B grade average equivalent. 
  • You should be currently enrolled at an international higher education institution.
  • Applicants should have completed two years of study in university-level History with a major or minor in History. Applicants who have only attended university for one year will be considered if a strong performance in History can be demonstrated. 

If your first language is not English, you must meet our minimum proficiency level:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training) overall score of 6.0, with no sub test less than 5.5  (if English is not an applicant’s first language) and a GPA of not less than 3.0
  • We also accept equivalent scores in other recognised qualifications such as ibTOEFL, CAE, CPE and more

Assessment and timetable


  • Report on preparatory reading (800 words) = 10%
  • Oral presentation on research question in week 2 (8 min) = 10%
  • Oral presentation on research findings in week 6 mock conference (15 min) = 20%
  • Research paper due at end of week 6 (3500 words) = 60%.


6 weeks of full-time study including:

  • 2 hours per week in seminars and
  • 2 hours per week in project supervision meetings.



What will I learn?

By the end of this course you will be able to:

    • Assess scholarly literature and available primary sources to formulate a viable research question in History
    • Contextualise and critically analyse primary sources to produce a convincing historical argument
    • Express historical analysis and argument in written and oral forms