Research Degrees in Politics

The School of History, Politics and International Relations at the University of Leicester is committed to achieving excellence in research and to providing relevant and well-taught postgraduate programmes for its students. We have a lively postgraduate community, including about 20 research students as well as 40 campus-based masters students, and 180 masters students studying by distance learning.

Members of the School have a wide range of theoretical and substantive interests and we are able to offer supervision on numerous topics including international relations, security studies, diplomacy, political theory, feminism, democratisation and regional studies. We are committed to research approaches that explore the relationships between political theory, empirical enquiry and policy interventions across a broadly defined range of political topics.

We are pleased to announce that we now offer a PhD via distance learning

Information about fees and funding

Supervision and Research Training

We welcome applications from suitably qualified home and international students for research leading to PhD.

Supervision can be provided on either a full or part-time basis. Students are nominated either one or two supervisors whom they meet regularly. Supervisors are responsible for helping students in developing a structured programme of work and for reading and commenting on work in progress at regular intervals.

As part of a flexible training programme, research students can take a departmental training course which covers the philosophy of social science, normative analysis and qualitative analysis, and is complemented by the provision of teaching in quantitative methods (including computer analysis). Subject-specific training allows you to choose between competing approaches to political research and to engage critically with the research process. Taught courses are complemented by your supervision programme, specifically tailored to his or her requirements.

Making an application


If you are interested in applying for a PhD with us, please contact Dr Robert Dover (  in the first instance for informal discussions about your research proposal.

Guidelines for producing a research proposal are available here: PhD Guidance. Please consult these guidelines before submitting your proposal.

You may also wish to look at our academic staff and their research areas.

Applying Online

All PhD applications must go through the formal process, outlined below.

You can submit your application electronically here.

Once you have submitted an application it will be assessed by the Head of PhD Admissions and the appropriate staff who might be involved in supervision.


Then feedback will be given in the following forms:

Accept subject to interview (see below). We think the proposal is a good one and we will arrange for an interview with you.

More information requested. We might ask you for some more information or clarification on your written proposal.

Decline proposal. Your application might be declined for the following reasons:

  • The application does not follow the guidelines above.
  • The quality of the application. For example:
    • The topic may not be sufficiently original
    • The topic may be too unfocused
    • The writing style and organisation of the proposal is not of the requisite standard

Interview. All PhD candidates are required to have an interview with the Admissions Tutor and/or the prospective supervisor before their proposals can be accepted. The interview may be conducted in person or by telephone. It will consist of questions about your proposal; for example, why it is important, what your main argument is, and the appropriateness of your methodology.


Following acceptance you will be registered with us for a PhD degree, and as well as receiving support from your first and second supervisors you will become a member of the research cluster in the Department most appropriate to your area of research.

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Contact Details

School of Politics and International Relations

University of Leicester
University Road
Leicester, LE1 7RH
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2702


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College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities Masters Excellence Scholarships

The Masters Excellence Studentships are available to new UK/EU applicants registering for a full- or part-time, campus-based Masters degree in our College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities starting in the 2017-18 academic year. Four nine-month Masters Excellence studentships are available, each providing a full fee waiver. The deadline for applications is 9 June 2017.

Follow this link for more information.

Contact Details

Postgraduate Office 
School of History, Politics and International Relations
University of Leicester
University Road
Leicester LE1 7RH, UK

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 5081