Politics and International Relations PhD and MPhil

Apply for a PhD or MPhil in Politics and International Relations
How to Apply

If you have any questions that are not answered below, please feel free to get in touch with Dr Tara McCormack, Postgraduate Research Tutor for Politics and International Relations: tm155@le.ac.uk

1. Before you apply, please search our staff research interests.to see if we have staff who can supervise your research.

2. Once you have done this, please get in touch with the relevant person to ask them if your research would be something they could undertake and if the proposal sounds viable. Please note: it is not the role of the lecturer to comment in depth upon a proposal.

3.Research Proposal: Download and save the Research Proposal Form, complete all sections using the guidance below and on the form. When you are ready to apply for your place you will need to upload the form to the Research Proposal section of your online application form.

Draft a research proposal. A research proposal needs to be substantive and in depth. It is on the basis of the proposal that we (mostly) make the final decision. 

Some general points to think about:

  • A PhD proposal needs to be in-depth and focused.
  • Begin with your ‘research puzzle’. What is your starting point for the research?
  • What is the main literature (academic and/or policy) in your field?  A PhD must make an ‘original contribution to knowledge’ as broadly understood. In order to do this, you must to situate your research proposal in an academic and/or policy field and explain how your work corrects/contributes to/builds upon  the field.  This means that there must be some substantive discussion of the main literature in the field.
  • Think about your research question/s. They need to be focused and specific.
  • How will your chapters work towards answering your question/s?

You might be interested in signing up for our 5 week online course 'Discovering Your PhD Potential: Writing a Research Proposal. The course is offered through FutureLearn where you can register your interest for the next available course.

4. Prepare your supporting documents - with your application you need to include proof that you meet the academic entry requirements and the English language entry requirements:

  • include all relevant certificates/diplomas and transcripts
  • international applicants must provide official copies of their entire course transcripts including explanations of the mark schemes used and, where possible, an indication of their class ranking/position in class
  • supporting documents not in English must be provided with a certified English translation

You must also provide contact details for two academic (not personal) referees who can comment on your suitability for the research degree programme

5. Submit your online application

The Department of Politics and International Relations has established a high reputation for postgraduate training and producing internationally renowned, cutting edge research.

Our Research Degrees

The Department of Politics and International Relations offers supervision for the degrees of:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - Full-Time and Part-Time
  • Master of Philosophy (MPhil) - Full-Time and Part-Time

We also offer a distance learning PhD - allowing you to gain a University of Leicester research degree wherever you are in the world.

Supervision and Research Areas

We offer PhD and MPhil supervision in areas compatible with the research interests of our academic staff including:

Interested in a different research area?

It is important that the area you want to work in is broadly compatible with our research interests - otherwise we may not be able to accept your application.

However, please do not feel we will not be interested if there is not an exact match. It is sometimes possible to be flexible, so please contact us.

Entry Requirements and Fees

Applicants must hold a UK undergraduate (Bachelors) degree with at least first class or upper second class honours or an equivalent qualification from a recognised overseas institution.

See academic entry requirements and the English language entry requirements

Tuition fees vary according to the applicant's fee status (UK, EU, or international) and the mode of study (full-time, part-time or distance learning).

See current course fees

Studentships and Funding

Funded PhD studentships and other funding opportunities are advertised as they become available.

See current studentships and funding

PhD Description

PhD students complete an independent research project under the guidance of a supervisory team. The research is normally completed over a maximum period of 3.0-3.5 years (full-time) or 6.0-6.5 years (part-time/distance learning).

A fourth year (full-time) or seventh year (part-time/distance learning) or the remaining part of this can be used to prepare the thesis for examination. The thesis should not normally exceed 80,000 words and must make an original contribution to knowledge and contain work of publishable quality. The thesis must then be defended in a viva voce (oral) examination before a degree can be awarded.

PhDs Explained - Description and Requirements

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