PhD/MPhil Russian and East European 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/EU students:
Full time: £4,407*
Part time: £2,204
Overseas students (Band D):
Full time: £17,580
More Fees and funding details.

The School is one of the leading UK and international centres for Politics, International Relations, International Development, Sociology and European Studies.


Please rest assured that we will make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption, for example in response to COVID-19.

Information for future students and applicants

Although students wishing to undertake postgraduate research in Russian and East European Studies need to register for a PhD or MPhil in Politics / IR the research undertaken will be focused on Russia and Eastern Europe and will be supervised by a member of CREES. Learn more about the research interests of our staff and how to contact them.

The School of Government 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.

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

We offer postgraduate research supervision in the following fields:

  • Russian and Soviet History
  • Russian, Ukrainian and Central and East European Politics
  • Central and Eastern Europe and European integration
  • Nationalism, identities and ethnic conflicts
  • Economics of transformation, economic policy and regional economics of Russia
  • Contemporary East European culture, media and society
  • Caucasus and Central Asia: politics, international relations, society and religion

Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest updates and FAQs for future students and offer-holders

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Standard fees apply.
Learn more about fees and funding.

Research degree fees 2020-21
Fee band Full time Part time
Home/EU students £4,407* £2,204
Overseas students (Band D) £17,580 -
*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.

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

Postgraduate scholarship and funding database

For more information visit

We can confirm that EU students who are already studying at the University of Birmingham or who intend to start their studies in 2018 or 2019 will continue to be charged the UK fee rate applicable at the time (may be subject to annual increases for inflation) for the duration of their course. The Postgraduate Masters or Doctoral loan will also be available to eligible EU students for the duration of their course. Visit our EU Referendum information page for more information.


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

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Our Standard Requirements

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

Contemporary politics of Russia, Ukraine and Central and Eastern Europe

Dr Tim Haughton

  • Contemporary politics and political and international relations of Russia, Ukrainian, East-Central Europe and Eurasia Contemporary politics and political parties of Central and Eastern Europe
  • inter-relationships between political change and nationalism, minority rights, etc
  • the economics of transformation and the integration of this region into the European Union

Dr David White

  • Contemporary Russian politics

Dr Derek Averre

  • Russian foreign and security policy
  • Political relations between Russia and Europe
  • Security and arms control/non-proliferation issues in USSR successor states.

Dr Kataryna Wolczuk

  • Relations between the EU and the post-Soviet states in Europe in the context of the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Eastern Partnership
  • Impact of the EU on domestic change in the eastern partner countries
  • Regional integration in the post-Soviet space (with particular reference to the Customs Union/Eurasian Economic Union)
  • Institutional framework, constitutional politics and executive-legislative relations in the post-Soviet states 

Economics of transformation and economic policy

Richard Connolly

  • The economics of Russia and other ex-socialist countries, including current reforms and policies, issues of knowledge-based economic development, trade and investment, and the economics of the military and defence industry

Deema Kaneff

  • Developing markets, economic reforms and political resistance
  • The informal economy in former socialist states

Dr Derek Averre

  • Economics of the Russian defence industry and its relations with the civilian economy

Contemporary Russian and Central and Eastern European culture and society

Deema Kaneff

  • Political, social and economic exclusion
  • Forms of European transnational migration
  • The anthopology of post-socialist states

Interdisciplinary collaboration

Adjunct staff in the College of Arts and Law – Arfon Rees, Natasha Rulyova and Jeremy Morris – are also available for research supervision within CREES on the following topics:

Russian and Soviet history 16th–20th centuries

Dr Arfon Rees

  • Political and economic history of the Soviet Union and Russian Political Thought

Contemporary Russian and Central and Eastern European culture and society 

Dr Natasha Rulyova

  • New media, gender and sexuality, fieldwork methods
  • Russian language media, literature and society.

If I gain a postgraduate research degree in Russian and East European Studies, what are my career prospects

Graduates from Birmingham’s Centre for Russian and East European Studies develop a broad range of transferable skills including: 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; the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines; critical and analytical ability; the capacity for argument, debate and speculation; and the ability to base conclusions on statistical research.

Due to the non-vocational nature of a postgraduate degree in Russian and East European Studies, many graduates choose jobs unrelated to their course of study, and have made their mark in a wide range of careers. A number of our PhD graduates stay in academia and forge successful teaching and research careers.

What type of career assistance is available to doctoral researchers in Russian and East European Studies?

The College of Social Sciences, to which the Centre for Russian and East European 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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