Local Government Studies PhD/MPhil

Our MPhil and PhD degrees are taken by research with a coursework element. Applications to study for research degrees on either a full- or part-time basis are welcomed. We are particularly interested in receiving applications on the modernisation agenda, changing patterns of local governance, the impact of public policy changes, democracy, public participation and community involvement. 

Learn more about the research interests of our staff and how to contact them.

The School of Government and Society brings together academic staff, research fellows and doctoral researchers across the Social Sciences. The School is one of the leading UK and international centres for Politics, International Relations, International Development, Sociology and European Studies.

In the School of Government and Society we offer much more than a degree. As a student here, whether undergraduate or postgraduate, you have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of events, with some or all of the costs paid for by the School.

Course details: Details | Fees and funding | Entry requirements | How to apply | Academic staff research interests.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Doctoral research

Study Options: Full time, part time

Duration: PhD – 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time; MPhil – 2 years full-time, 4 years part-time

Start date: September

Contact

Got a question? Find your answers here.

Admissions Tutor: Dr Adam Quinn 

PGR Admissions Contact:
Tricia Carr
Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 3497
Email: p.a.carr@bham.ac.uk

PhD Programme Co-ordinator:  Dr Stephen Jeffares

Details

We offer two types of research degree: the MPhil and PhD degrees are taken by research with a coursework element. Applications to study for research degrees on either a full- or part-time basis are welcomed.

We are particularly interested in receiving applications on the modernisation agenda, changing patterns of local governance, the impact of public policy changes, democracy, public participation and community involvement.

We have some 15 research students, and more than 400 taught postgraduates, most of whom are practitioners registered with us on part-time programmes.

Fees and funding

Standard fees apply.
Learn more about fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

INLOGOV offers occasional teaching assistantships for those enrolled on a full-time research degree. These provide bursaries to cover living costs, payment of the fee and the opportunity to gain additional income through a limited amount of tutorial work.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

For further information contact the School directly or visit studenthelp.bham.ac.uk.

Entry requirements

Applicants for degrees by research should have at least a good Honours degree or equivalent academic qualification. Our normal policy is to register PhD applicants for an MPhil, and transfer them to PhD if their work is of an acceptable standard. If you have registered for the MSc you may, after nine months full-time (18 months part-time), apply to transfer to an MPhil or PhD.

You will need to show evidence of satisfactory progress with your thesis, and have provided an acceptable programme of further research. MPhil students may apply to transfer to a PhD by meeting similar conditions.

International students:

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries – learn more about international entry requirements.

How to apply

Learn more about applying
www.apply.bham.ac.uk

Contact

Got a question? Find your answers here.

Admissions Tutor: Dr Adam Quinn 

PGR Admissions Contact:
Tricia Carr
Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 3497
Email: p.a.carr@bham.ac.uk

PhD Programme Co-ordinator:  Dr Stephen Jeffares

Research interests of staff

Mr Simon Baddeley 
Email: s.j.baddeley@bham.ac.uk

  • Working relations between politicians, managers and professionals

Dr Karin Bottom 
Email: k.a.bottom@bham.ac.uk

  • The role of small parties
  • Comparative politics
  • Policy analysis
  • Elections and quantitative methodologies

Professor Tony Bovaird
Email: t.bovaird@bham.ac.uk

  • Performance management in the public sector
  • Assessment frameworks for public and local governance
  • Evaluation and monitoring of public programmes
  • Strategic management of public organisations
  • Marketing and quality management for public services

Dr Andrew Coulson
Email: a.c.coulson@bham.ac.uk

  • Partnerships and governance
  • Economic and environmental strategies
  • Waste management
  • Role of agencies and arms-length companies in the development process
  • Local government in Central and Eastern Europe
  • Procurement
  • The modernisation agenda and local government scrutiny processes 

Mr Chris Game
Email: c.h.game@bham.ac.uk

  • Politics of local government
  • Local elections, electoral reform and electoral behaviour
  • Party politics
  • Political leadership and management
  • Member–officer relations
  • Central–local relations
  • Use of consumer and opinion research in local government
  • The modernisation agenda and the implementation of executive local government

Mr Ray Puffitt
Email: r.g.puffitt@bham.ac.uk

  • New management in local government
  • Business planning and marketing
  • Dealing with inadequate performance and performance management
  • Management of regulation and inspection

Professor John Raine 
Email: j.w.raine@bham.ac.uk 

  • Criminal and civil justice, management and organisation
  • Local government organisation and political structures
  • Central–local relations
  • Local authority parking enforcement

Mr Steve Rogers
Email: s.a.rogers@bham.ac.uk

  • Local governance and management;
  • Community leadership, planning and strategies;
  • Strategic management;
  • Organisational development and change;
  • Management training and development;
  • Member development;
  • Performance management and rural proofing.

Professor Chris Skelcher
Email: c.k.skelcher@bham.ac.uk

  • New forms of local authority accountability, management and government of public services;
  • Development of partnership working and service quality;
  • Quangos, partnerships, hybrids and appointed bodies;
  • Standards of conduct and the wider question of improvement in local authority performance.

Dr Peter Watt
Email: p.a.watt@bham.ac.uk

  • Scrutiny of finance and budgeting
  • Comprehensive Area Assessment
  • Economics of contracting and procurement
  • Local government finance and international comparisons
  • Public sector efficiency and performance management
  • Financial management
  • Public choice theory
  • Organisational review
  • Risk management and quantitative techniques, statistics and econometrics

Mr Philip Whiteman
Email: p.whiteman@bham.ac.uk

  • Policy implementation studies
  • Central and local government relations
  • Regulation of local government
  • Local authority corporate management scrutiny
  • Public sector performance, procurement and efficiency
  • Public consultation and participation
  • Organisation dynamics.

Contact

Got a question? Find your answers here.

Admissions Tutor: Dr Adam Quinn 

PGR Admissions Contact:
Tricia Carr
Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 3497
Email: p.a.carr@bham.ac.uk

PhD Programme Co-ordinator:  Dr Stephen Jeffares

Employability

If I gain a postgraduate research degree in Local Government Studies, what are my career prospects?

The University of Birmingham has recently been ranked 9th in the UK, and 55th in the world, for post-qualification employability in a global survey of universities commissioned by the International Herald Tribune.

Over the last five years, an impressive 99.5% of Local Government Studies postgraduates have been in work and/or further study six months after graduation.

In addition to the academic knowledge gained through their course, postgraduates from Birmingham’s Institute of Local Government Studies develop transferable skills that are useful in many occupations. These include familiarity with research methods; the ability to manage large and diverse quantities of information; the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner; judging and evaluating complex information; and making reasoned arguments, both orally and in written work.

Institute of Local Government Studies graduates are attracted to careers in both public and private sectors. These include local government, policing, health services, transport, legal services, prison services and housing. Some of these careers require further professional training, and/or building a portfolio of relevant work experience. Many PhD graduates of the Institute of Local Government Studies also successfully gain academic research and teaching posts.

What type of career assistance is available to doctoral researchers in this department?

The College of Social Sciences, to which the Institute of Local Government Studies belongs, has specially designated careers advisors and careers consultants who can provide guidance for doctoral researchers on career paths, CVs, training opportunities, application and interviews. The University’s central Careers’ Service also runs workshops and offers personally tailored advice and guidance including 1-1 careers advice, 1-1 CV advice. The Career’s Service also runs CV writing workshops especially for postgraduates in the College of Social Sciences, giving advice on how to compile CVs for both employment and for academic roles.

The University also has dedicated careers advisors for International students who run workshops and networking opportunities with potential employers. These are especially popular with International postgraduate researchers.

Contact

Got a question? Find your answers here.

Admissions Tutor: Dr Adam Quinn 

PGR Admissions Contact:
Tricia Carr
Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 3497
Email: p.a.carr@bham.ac.uk

PhD Programme Co-ordinator:  Dr Stephen Jeffares