Polina Merkulova

Polina Merkulova


I am a PhD student at the Centre for History and Philosophy of Science (HPS). Having been trained in both counselling psychology and HPS I naturally gravitate towards the history of psychology, psychiatry and mental health.

I tutored on the following undergraduate modules:

  • History of Modern Medicine (Semester 2, 2017-2018)
  • HIstory of psychology (Semester 1, 2017-2018)

Public engagement:


  • I work as an intern at the Centre for HPS, in that capacity I organised the conference "Get Real!" Realism as a Goal for the Sciences and for HPS (event in commemoration of 60 years of integrated History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Leeds)
  • I surved as a PGR Rep for HPS in 2017-2018 academic year
  • Since I joined the Centre for HPS in 2015 as an MA student I have been volunteering at the Museum of the History of Scinece, Technology and Medicin


  • The Darwin Trust of Edinburgh Postgraduate Research Studentship in the History or Philosophy of Science or Medicine (2017)
  • Tetley and Lupton MA Scholarship for International Students (2015)

Research interests

My current research focuses on the history of psychiatric education in Britain between 1800 and 1914. In my thesis I examine what, why and how British doctors learned about mental illness and the debates surrounding these issues. I am especially interested in the role education played in the establishment of psychiatry as a medical specialism and its relationships with other areas of scientific and medical knowledge. 

Conference papers:

  • “The making of a manual: A history of the classic textbook of Victorian psychiatry”, Postgraduate Medical Humanities Conference, University of Exeter, June 2017
  • "Learning in the asylum: clinical teaching on insanity in 1840s and 1850s in Britain", BSHS PG Conference, April 2018


  • MA History of Science, Technology and Medicine (University of Leeds)
  • Specialist Clinical and Counselling Psychology (Moscow State University of Psychology and Education)

Research groups and institutes

  • History and Philosophy of Science