PhD Political Science and International Studies

by Distance Learning

Start date
September
Duration
Full-time and Part-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Distance learning
Fees

£4,500 FT (Home students)
£2,250 PT (Home students)
£18,450 FT (International Students)

More Fees and funding details.

Our distance learning PhD degrees in Political Science and International Studies offer the opportunity to pursue original research under the guidance of an academic supervisor in a more convenient manner for those unable to live and work on campus on a regular basis.

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:

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

The only attendance requirements are that the student visits the university for two weeks each year for an organized programme of research training and/or supervision and is also present on campus for their final viva examination. Travel and accommodation costs for these visits must be borne by the student.

Distance learning does present challenges and applicants need to have a high capacity to work independently and in a disciplined fashion to pursue their research goals. However, supervisory teams are there to assist students, drawing up individual training plans to support students in acquiring the skills and knowledge to complete a thesis.

The School of Government 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, International Security and European Studies.

The Department offers supervision leading to the research degrees of PhD (minimum registration three years) allowing participants to complete an 80,000-word thesis constituting a major piece of original research work. These can be studied on a full or part time basis.

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Fees

PhD by Distance Learning 2021-22

Home students

  • Full-time £4,500
  • Part-time £2,250

International students (Band D)

  • Full-time £18,450

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.

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

Our Standard Requirements

Applicants for the distance learning PhD must provide evidence of prior research experience and/or training suitable for their intended programme of study. When they apply, they are expected to consult with their supervisor who can assess their skills, background and capacity to undertake independent study at a distance.

Besides formal qualifications, a key factor determining whether the Department decides to accept a candidate for either degree is the quality of his or her research proposal and its relevance to our own interests. Successful completion of a research thesis demands a high level of self-discipline, motivation and commitment to the subject of research. Great importance is placed on work experience, when relevant. Please contact the Department for more details.

Learn more about entry requirements.

International Requirements



International Students

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:


IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band is equivalent to:

  • TOEFL: 88 overall with no less than 21 in Reading, 20 in Listening, 22 in Speaking and 21 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE): PTE Academic 67 with no less than 64 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced – minimum overall score of 176, with no less than 169 in any component

Research within the School of Government is aligned to one of three departments and Institutes: POLSIS , INLOGOVand IDD

The Department of Political Science and International Studies

Study for a PhD in POLSIS

Dr Daniele Albertazzi
European populism in comparative perspective; The radical and extreme right in comparative perspective; Party organisation; Italian politics; Political communication.

Dr David Bailey
Social democratic parties; Other forms of left politics; Protest, and critical political economy - all especially within the EU context.

Dr Stephen Bates
British politics; Parliamentary Studies (in comparative perspective or focused on the UK Parliament).

Dr Tendayi Bloom
Noncitizenship; Statelessness; Migration governance 

Professor Peter Burnham
Restructuring of the state in the global political economy; State theory and radical theories of IPE; Marx and contemporary Marxism; Economic policy and capitalist crisis.

Dr Tereza Capelos
Political reactionism and ressentiment-ful politics; Affect and emotions (anger, fear, trust, hope, pride) in international crises; Core values as determinants of political attitudes; Psychological (affective & cognitive) processes of political decision making; Reputation management of political leaders, organizations and institutions; Psychological processes of radicalization, de-radicalization, terrorism and extremism; Determinants of tolerance and orientations towards minority groups.

Dr Mwita Chacha
Regional integration; International cooperation; Politics of coups d’état; Public opinion.

Professor David Cutts
Political and electoral behaviour; Party campaigning turnout; Civic engagement; Populist parties; Social media and politics. 

Dr May Darwich
International Relations Theory and the Middle East; Foreign policies of Middle Eastern states; Identity politics in the Middle East; Security policies in the Middle East.

Professor David Dunn
US foreign and security policy; Strategic and security studies, and diplomacy and statecraft.

Dr Rita Floyd
Environmental and climate security; The ethics of securitisation relating to the natural environment. 

Dr Guiditta Fontana
Ethnic, religious and national conflicts; Conflict management and cultural institutions in fragile and divided societies. Education reform in conflict and post conflict societies.

Dr Emma Foster
Environmental politics; Gender and international development; Sexuality and international development; Gender and representation and queer theory.

Dr Charlotte Galpin
European and national identities; European public sphere and media; Euroscepticism, EU citizenship and social movements; The role of Germany or Britain in Europe; Brexit; Gender and feminist approaches to these topics.

Dr Julie Gilson
Japanese foreign policy; East Asian regionalism and institutions; Asia-Europe and Japan-Europe relations; Civil society in Asia; Climate change and environmentalism in Asia.

Dr Tim Haughton
Contemporary politics of Central and Eastern Europe; Political campaigning; Party politics; Electoral politics.

Dr Laura Jenkins
Feminist political theory; Contemporary political theory and British politics.

Dr Deema Kaneff
Resources and Social Change; Postsocialist transformations and global capitalism; Property relations; Markets and moralities; Transnational migration, Social exclusion and inequalities. (Europe, Eastern Europe, Bulgaria and Ukraine)

Dr Peter Kerr
British politics; State theory and theories of social and political change; UK party politics and party modernisation; Political leadership and governing strategies in the UK; Citizenship and political participation and political sociology. 

Dr George Kyris
International conflict, conflict management and resolution; International organisations, especially the European Union; State recognition; Statehood and sovereignty; Secession; unrecognised/ de facto states.

Professor René Lindstädt
American Politics; Political Institutions; Accountability; Representation; Legislative politics and institutions; Elections; Political methodology

Dr Huw Macartney
International or Comparative Political Economy; Banking and financial market governance; Globalisation, and historical materialism. 

Dr Cerwyn Moore
Political violence; international relations theory; Post-Soviet and post-communist security; Interpretive approaches to global politics and Chechnya.

Dr Jeanne Morefield
Political theory (particularly history of political though and postcolonial and anti-colonial theory); Imperialism studies; Critical approaches to liberalism (both philosophical and International Relations).

Dr Natascha Neudorfer
Causes of corruption; Causes of civil conflict (specifically ethnic wars) and quantitative empirical research designs.

Dr Richard North
Any area of contemporary political philosophy, but particularly on justice and liberal and democratic political philosophy.  

Dr Julian Panke
European Union Politics; European Neighbourhood Policy; German foreign policy and Eastern European foreign policies (Poland, Slovakia).

Professor Patrick Porter
The interaction of power and ideas in the making of foreign and defence policy in the U.S. and U.K, and in shaping their conflicts, classical realism, strategic thought and great power diplomacy.

Dr Adam Quinn
US ‘grand strategy’; American national identity; American foreign and security policy; Ideological contest in American politics (contemporary and historical). 

Dr Richard Shorten
Totalitarian political thought; Political reactionaries; Cold War political thought; History of twentieth-century political ideas in Europe; Political ideology and rhetoric and Political religion.

Dr Asaf Siniver
International mediation and conflict resolution; The politics, diplomacy and history of the Arab-Israeli conflict; The Israeli-Palestinian peace process; Contemporary US foreign policy and Foreign Policy Analysis. 

Dr Nicola Smith
Gender and sexuality; Feminist political economy; Queer theory; Biopolitics; Body politics; Sex Work; Obesity; Austerity.

Dr Graham Timmins
Areas related to the external relations and foreign policy role of the European Union with specific reference to EU-Russia and German-Russian relations.

Dr Tsering Topgyal
Chinese foreign and security policy; Tibet and China’s Nationality Policy; Asia-Pacific security and politics; US-China relations; Sino-Indian relations and Security studies. 

Dr Sevasti-Eleni Vezirgiannidou
International Environmental Politics; Climate change politics; Environment and trade negotiations; Environmental Regime effectiveness and compliance and The trade-environment debate.

Dr Marco Vieira
Rising powers and global order; South-South political cooperation/identity/institutions, South American/Latin American politics; Brazilian foreign policy and International relations theory. 

Dr Robert Watt
Military History, power and networks. 

Professor Mark Webber
NATO; transatlantic relations; European security; American, Russian and British foreign policy; Theories and practices of security

Dr Mark Wenman
Continental philosophy; Contemporary political theory; The philosophy of the social sciences; The history of political thought.

Professor Nicholas Wheeler
Trust-building between adversaries, especially nuclear armed states; Nuclear weapons and proliferation. 

Professor Kataryna Wolczuk
Politics of Russia and post-Soviet countries; EU’s Eastern policy, Russia’s policy towards the post-Soviet states; Regional integration in the post-Soviet space; Nationalism and national identities (across Europe and Eurasia).

Professor Stefan Wolff
Ethnic conflict and conflict resolution, including post-conflict peacebuilding, state-building and international/humanitarian intervention; EU Common Security and Defence Policy and European security more generally and German history and politics, including former East Germany, reunification, and German relations with Eastern Europe. 

Dr Christalla Yakinthou
Conflict transformation, particularly post-settlement; Transitional justice both in theory and practice, and transitions in the MENA region; The relationship between constitutional design and transitional justice; Power sharing, Cypriot, Lebanese, and Tunisian politics and conflicts and the right to truth in international law and practice, and issues around enforced disappearance and missing people during conflict.

Dr Sotirios Zartaloudis
European Union politics and policies; Migration in Europe; European politics; Discourse

The International Development Department (IDD)

Study for a PhD in IDD

Dr Philip Amis
Urbanisation; Urban policy; Poverty and housing.

Dr Danielle Beswick
UK development policy, including parliamentary scrutiny and public engagement in this; UK Africa relations; The UK Conservative Party and development; Politics, identity and security in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly Rwanda; Knowledge exchange between universities and legislatures.

Dr Brock Bersaglio
Political ecology; Conservation, infrastructure, and natural resources; Neo-/post- colonialism and coloniality 

Dr Adrian Campbell
Public and local government reform, especially in transitional states. 

Professor Nic Cheeseman 
Elections and democratization; The formation of a social contract in new democracies; Power-sharing and the politics of inclusion; Populism and strategies of political mobilization. 

Dr Niheer Dasandi
Politics of international development and foreign aid; development and human rights; politics of climate change and health; foreign policy and development 

Dr Johnathan Fisher
Donors and the international politics of aid; Security and conflict in the developing world; African foreign relations and diplomacy (Particularly in Uganda, Rwanda, Congo, the Great Lakes region, Somalia, South Sudan and the Horn of Africa).

Professor David Hudson
Politics of leadership and coalitions; public opinion, survey analysis, and experiments; migration decision making; network analysis.

Professor Paul Jackson
Conflict and post-conflict reconstruction; Industrial development; Information management and finance. 

Professor Heather Marquette
The politics of development and foreign policy; Corruption, kleptocracy and organised crime; Anti-corruption/counter-organised crime strategies and interventions

Dr Claire McLoughlin
State-building; sources of state legitimacy; The politics of public service delivery; Governance beyond the state. 

Professor Fiona Nunan
Renewable natural resource governance, management and livelihoods in low- and middle-income countries, especially fisheries and coastal ecosystems and community-based or collaborative governance.

Dr Martin Ottmann
Political economy of civil war and development, including peace processes and negotiated settlements; Power-sharing, resource redistribution, elections, and political trust after war. PhD applications relying on advanced statistical research methods, mixed-methods designs, and modern methods of causal inference are particularly welcome. 

Dr Merissa Thompson
Gender, politics and power; feminist international political economy; food, agriculture and the environment; human and nonhuman actors; feminist epistemologies and methodologies.

The Institute of Local Government Studies (INLOGOV)

Study for a PhD in INLOGOV

Dr Koen Bartels
Social innovation; Democratic innovation; Public encounters; Urban governance; Action research; Interpretive policy analysis; Communication; Practice theory; Relational public policy and administration.

Dr Karin Bottom 
The role of small parties; Comparative politics; Policy analysis; Elections and quantitative methodologies.

Dr Catherine Durose
Governance; Public policy; Participation; Social and democratic innovation; Co-production

Dr Stephen Jeffares
Projects that draw on social media data to understand change or controversies in public policy. 

Dr Louise Reardon
Multi-level governance; Policy networks; Agenda setting; Policy change; Policy implementation; Transport policy; Wellbeing and quality of life; Smart cities. 

Dr Philip Whiteman
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. 

You will contact your supervisor approximately monthly (every 2 months for part-time students) over the course of your study. Supervisors are experienced in managing the research process and are chosen to complement your area of interest. You will discuss your research with a panel annually. The panel is chaired by an experienced researcher from the department, and includes your supervisor and another member of staff. It provides an important opportunity to present progress on your research and to have a wider discussion about your work.

Your supervisor will read and comment on drafts of your thesis before it is finally submitted. An external and an internal examiner (who will not be your supervisor) will then examine it, and will meet with you for a viva. They will judge whether your thesis demonstrates:

  • Knowledge of the relevant academic literature
  • Skill in use of research methods
  • Independent investigation
  • Clear presentation of information
  • Arguments presented in a coherent and appropriate form

The requirement for PhDs is that the work is an original contribution to knowledge that is worthy of publication.

If I gain a postgraduate research degree in this area, what are my career prospects?

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.

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