PhD/MPhil Political Science and International Studies

Start date
PhD – 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time; MPhil – 2 years full-time, 4 years part-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Doctoral research

Home students:
Full time: £4,500*
Part time: £2,250
International students (Band D):
Full time: £18,450
More Fees and funding details.

We offer MA, MPhil and PhD research degrees on a full- and part-time basis. The School is one of the leading UK and international centres for Politics, International Relations, International Development, Sociology and European Studies.

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. 

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

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

The School of Government and Society brings together academic staff, research fellows and doctoral researchers across the Social Sciences. 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.

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Standard fees apply.
Learn more about fees and funding.

Research degree fees 2021-22
Fee band Full time Part time
Home students £4,500* £2,250
International students (Band D) £19,440 -
*Research fees also apply to combined research and taught programmes unless otherwise indicated.

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships may be available, please contact the Department directly.

College and School opportunities are advertised on and some supervisors use 'Find a PhD' which provides information about opportunities to conduct doctoral research. We also nominate our strongest applicants for studentships supported by the ESRC-funded Midlands Doctoral Training Partnership, of which we are one of the principal institutional partners.

Find out more about postgraduate research scholarships

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

Postgraduate scholarship and funding database

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

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 Guidance for applying for a PhD.

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 59 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced – minimum overall score of 176, with no less than 169 in any component


Dr Daniele Albertazzi

European populism and neo-nationalism in comparative perspective, party organisation, Italian politics, and political communication.

Dr Derek Averre

Russian foreign and security policy, Russia-Europe relations and arms control/non-proliferation issues in the USSR successor states.

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

Power and political agency, the politics of the body, Prime Minister's Questions and parliamentary agenda-setting and select committees

Professor Peter Burnham

British politics (especially economic policy using National Archives material), radical approaches to IPE and state theory and Marxism

Dr Tereza Capelos

Political emotions in international crises and political decision making, political accountability and trust, reputation management in institutional impression formation, political radicalization, engagement and political values and political tolerance and perceptions of minority groups

Dr Richard Connolly

Political economy of Russia, Russia's role in the global economy and political economy of energy & energy producing states

Professor David Cutts

Political and electoral behaviour, party campaigning turnout, civic engagement, populist parties, social media and politics. 

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.

Dr Emma Foster

Environmental politics, gender and international development, sexuality and international development, gender and representation and queer theory.


Dr Charlotte Galpin

European identities, European public sphere, Euroscepticism, the role of Germany or Britain in Europe, and Brexit

Dr Jamie Gaskarth

Foreign policy, security, international ethics and the implications for international society of the rise of new powers.

Dr Julie Gilson

Japanese foreign policy, East Asian regionalism, Inter-regionalism, Asia-Europe relations, civil society in Asia, transnational advocacy and rising powers and the BRICS

Dr Tim Haughton

The domestic politics of East-Central Europe, party politics and political campaigning. 

Dr Laura Jenkins

Feminist political theory, contemporary political theory and British politics.

Dr Deema Kaneff

Local politics and state building, property relations, postsocialist transformations and global capitalism, markets and moralities, transnational migration, and social exclusion and inequalities. (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, especially with reference to unrecognised states and the role of international organisations, European Union and Sovereignty

Dr Richard Lock-Pullan

Strategic studies, especially in the areas of: Strategic theory, Military innovation, Strategic culture, conventional warfare, Counter insurgency, US military, US defence policy, the Vietnam War. International history, especially US foreign policy.


Professor Scott Lucas

US Foreign Policy from 1945 to the Present; US-Iranian Relations; US and the Middle East; British Foreign Policy; Politics, Film, and Television.

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 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

American foreign policy, American history, Ideology, International relations and security.


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, The international relations of the Middle East, Contemporary US foreign policy and Foreign Policy Analysis.


Dr Nicola Smith

Gender & Sexuality, Queer & Trans* Politics, Crip Theory, Postcolonial Theory, Biopolitics, Neoliberal Discourse & Governmentality and Commercial Sex.

Dr Jill Steans

Gender in International Relations and International Politics; Gender and Human Rights (both women’s rights and LGBT rights); Global Governance, especially in relation to gender issues in conflict and humanitarian crises; International Relations Theory.

Professor Colin Thain

Economic policymaking in the United Kingdom, The role of the Treasury, The role and power of the Bank of England, Comparative economic policy making, Comparative Central Banks, British Politics in general (ie role of PM, Parliament, devolution), The political economy of the G7 and Fiscal policymaking.

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 Gerasimos Tsourapas

Migration, refugee, and diaspora politics, International relations and comparative politics of the Middle East and North Africa and Authoritarian regimes.


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. 

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. 

Dr David White

Power and opposition in electoral authoritarian systems, State capacity and regime consolidation in electoral authoritarian systems, Post-communist political parties and party systems, Democracy and authoritarianism, Putin's 'fellow travellers' – the relationship between the Kremlin and right- and left-wing political forces in Europe and beyond. Russian political opposition in exile, Humour and social protest and popular music and protest.

Professor Kataryna Wolczuk

Domestic politics and international relations of the post-Soviet countries, especially with regard to the EU and/or Eurasian integration.

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

 Europeanization, comparative welfare states and public policy and EU politics and policy.

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.

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.

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