Early women PhDs

Aileen Fyfe
Monday 22 March 2021

The University of St Andrews has been awarding Ph.D. degrees for research theses since 1920. The names of the six women who are known to have been awarded Ph.D.s in History from 1920-70 [but see note below] are:

1927, Edith Edgar MacQueen, for a thesis entitled “The General Assembly of the Kirk as the rival of the Scottish parliament, 1560–1618

1928, Edith E.B. Thomson, for a thesis entitled ‘Scotland under Lauderdale

1954, Elizabeth A. Menzies, for a thesis entitled ‘A study of Anglo-Scottish relations, 1637-43

1956, Edith M. Johnston, for a thesis entitled ‘The government of Ireland, 1767-85: a study in Anglo-Irish political administration’

1968, Marion J. Waller (nee Swift), for a thesis entitled ‘Joseph Glanvill and the 17th-century reaction against enthusiasm’

1970, Alison M. Hoppen (nee Buchan), for a thesis entitled ‘The fortification of Malta by the knights of St. John, 1530-1798’

There were also two women who were awarded other sorts of research degrees:

1967, Enid M. Gauldie (Mrs) was awarded a B.Phil. for a thesis entitled ‘Scottish bleachfields, 1718-1862’

1969, Anne E. Shipley was awarded an M.Litt. for a thesis entitled ‘ A study of Bertrand Barere and the French Revolution’.

Note: this list is derived from the list of History research theses maintained by the Institute of Historical Research. It was constructed from returns sent in by History departments over the years. Neither we nor the IHR are currently certain how complete it is. For context, the IHR lists suggest that St Andrews awarded 49 PhDs in History 1900-1970, of which 6 (i.e. 12%) were awarded to women.

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