Doctoral research degrees

With an innovative and ambitious research agenda, informing government and governance at all levels, the School of Government offers a vibrant environment for postgraduate research. In undertaking a postgraduate research degree with us, you will have a unique opportunity to make a valuable contribution to new knowledge as an integral part of our research community.

Made up of three constituent departments, International Development (IDD), Public Administration and Policy (DPAP) and Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS), the School of Government has staff with a wide array of research interests and the expertise to supervise PhD projects in a variety of fields, including conflict and security, participation and governance and, local government and public policy. In addition to the departments, the School also hosts several institutes and centres renowned for their excellence in research and scholarship. These include the Institute for German and European Studies (IGES) and the Centre for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies (CREES).  Beyond the School, our postgraduate researchers often work with and alongside other research units, such as the Graduate Centre for Europe (GCfE) and the Institute for Global Innovation (IGI).

By completing a postgraduate research degree, you will develop specialist knowledge in your field and professional skills for a range of business settings. Whether you are interested in a career in academia or in the private or government sectors, you will be equipped with valuable research, communication and networking skills that will make you competitive, no matter your chosen career path.

Equality and Diversity

In the School of Government, we are committed to creating a caring, accessible and inclusive environment in which everyone feels they belong, fit, and may thrive. We welcome, value, and embrace diversity in our staff and student body, such as differences in nationality, cultural backgrounds, race, ethnicity, disability, age, class, religion or belief, sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation. 

We aim to embed this commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion in our teaching and learning practices, our tutorials, our extensive module choices, our curriculum, student representatives and groups, welfare services, research, and the wide range of events and seminars organised. The School of Government will not tolerate any form of bullying, harassment or discrimination.

The University of Birmingham currently holds a Bronze Athena SWAN Charter Award. Its Equality Scheme ‘Advancing Equality, Valuing Diversity’ document sets out the equality objectives and actions for 2016-20. The latest Equality and Diversity Annual Report (2020) details work undertaken over the last year to meet our equality objectives.

Research degrees PhD

Doctorate (PhD)

The period of registration is 36 months (72 months part-time). The maximum length of the thesis is 80,000 words.

PhD by Distance Learning

Our distance learning PhD degrees offer a flexible option for those students unable to live and work on campus. With a PhD by Distance Learning, students get all the benefits of pursuing original research under the guidance of an academic supervisor with the convenience of remote working. Applications to study for research degrees on a part-time basis are welcomed.

Further information

Doctoral Research Student Administration
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 3497, Email: