Political Science and International Studies PhD/MPhil

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We are able to supervise a wide range of topics, in line with the research interests of the teaching staff listed below. In broad terms our research work is focused around eight research groups: Asia; Diplomatic Studies; European Politics; International Political Economy; Political Theory; Security Studies; International Relations Theory; and Political Sociology.

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.

We offer MA, MPhil and PhD research degrees on a full- and part-time basis.

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.

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

Admissions Tutor: Dr Sara Jones

Details

The Department offers supervision leading to the research degrees of MPhil (minimum registration two years) allowing participants to complete a 40,000-word supervised thesis, and PhD (minimum registration three years) allowing participants to complete an 80,000-word thesis constituting a major piece of original research work.

We are able to supervise a wide range of topics, in line with the research interests of our teaching staff.

In broad terms our research work is focused around eight research groups:

  • Asia
  • Diplomatic Studies
  • European Politics
  • Political Economy
  • Political Theory
  • Security Studies
  • International Relations Theory
  • Political Sociology

Fees and funding

Standard fees apply.
Learn more about fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships
Scholarships may be available, please contact the Department directly.

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

For more information visit studenthelp.bham.ac.uk.

Entry requirements

For doctoral programmes you require a good Honours degree (UK high upper second; USA GPA 3.40), and a good research proposal.

Learn more about entry requirements and see our General Guidance for PhD Applications (PDF 190KB).

International students:

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

How to apply

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Contact

Got a question? Find your answers here.

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

Admissions Tutor: Dr Sara Jones

Research interests of staff

Dr Stephen Bates
Email: s.r.bates@bham.ac.uk  

  • Political change
  • Political representation
  • Public engagement
  • Political economy of the life science industries
  • Philosophy of the social sciences

Professor Peter Burnham
Email: p.burnham@bham.ac.uk

  • British politics (especially economic policy using National Archives material)
  • Radical approaches to IPE
  • State theory and Marxism

Dr Luis Cabrera
Email: a.l.cabrera@bham.ac.uk  

  • International distributive justice
  • The ethics of international migration
  • Cosmopolitan citizenship and democracy
  • Trans-state political integration.

Dr David Dunn
Email: d.h.dunn@bham.ac.uk  

  • American foreign and security policies
  • Security studies
  • Diplomacy

Dr Christopher Finlay 
Email: c.j.finlay@bham.ac.uk  

  • Theory and ethics of political violence
  • Contemporary political theory
  • History of political thought, particularly Enlightenment political thought.

Dr Jonathan Grix
Email: j.grix@bham.ac.uk  

  • German politics and society
  • The politics of sport

Dr Adam Quinn
Email: a.j.quinn@bham.ac.uk  

  • American foreign policy
  • American history
  • Ideology
  • International relations
  • Security

Dr Julie Gilson
Email: j.a.gilson@bham.ac.uk  

  • East Asian politics and political economy

Dr Peter Kerr
Email: p.kerr@bham.ac.uk  

  • British politics

Dr Donna Lee
Email: d.lee.3@bham.ac.uk  

  • International organisations and economic diplomacy
  • International trade relations
  • The GATT/WTO system and trade diplomacy

Cerwyn Moore
Email: c.moore.1@bham.ac.uk  

  • Political violence
  • International Relations theory
  • post-Soviet and post-Communist Security
  • interpretive approaches to global politics
  • Chechnya

Dr Jill Steans
Email: j.a.steans@bham.ac.uk  

  • International relations theory
  • Feminism

Asaf Siniver
Email: a.siniver@bham.ac.uk  

  • Security studies
  • Military change

Dr David Bailey
Email: d.j.bailey@bham.ac.uk  

  • European Union

Dr Richard Shorten
Email: r.c.shorten@bham.ac.uk  

  • History of political thought
  • 20th century political thought

Dr Nicola Smith
Email: n.j.smith@bham.ac.uk  

  • Political economy of globalisation
  • European integration

Dr Edward Newman
Email: e.newman.1@bham.ac.uk  

  • Politics of intervention and aid
  • Post-conflict state-building
  • International organisations

Professor Peter Preston
Email: p.w.preston@bham.ac.uk

  • Political sociology
  • Southeast and East Asian comparative politics
  • Social theory
  • Philosophy of social science

Professor Colin Thain
Email: c.thain@bham.ac.uk

  • Role of economic institutions
  • Politics of UK economic policy-making
  • Comparative budgeting
  • Comparative central banking
  • Role of the G7

Professor Mark Webber
Email: m.a.webber.1@bham.ac.uk

  • NATO
  • European security
  • Security studies

Contact

Got a question? Find your answers here.

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

Admissions Tutor: Dr Sara Jones

Employability

If I gain a postgraduate research degree in this area, 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.

This PhD programme is run by the University’s Department for Political Science and International Studies. Over the last five years, 91.4% of our Political Science and International Studies postgraduates have been in work and/or further study six months after graduation.

Birmingham’s Political Science and International Studies graduates 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, in tutorials and presentations, and in written work. There are many careers where a political science and international studies degree is useful and past graduates have entered areas including commercial management, finance, administration, politics, and even the armed forces. Some of our PhD graduates also continue onto successful careers in academic research and teaching.

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

The College of Social Sciences, to which the Department of Political Science and International 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.

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

Admissions Tutor: Dr Sara Jones