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Postgraduate Admissions

The MPhil in International Relations and Politics was an intensely challenging and rewarding experience—intellectually, professionally and personally.

First, the student cohort was impressive—drawn from all over the world, many with political, legal or civil service backgrounds, and much else besides. Discussions on peace keeping or terrorism took on immediate applied significance through the presence of current members of the British Armed Forces also undertaking the degree. The coursework in the early stages provided theoretical and methodological rigour, and there was a broad range of courses on offer—something for the historically-minded, or those interested in international relations, law, or comparative politics.

When it came time to focus on my own research, I had the opportunity to be supervised by and work with one of my academic idols. I developed a really substantial project that I have now carried through into a PhD at the LSE, and am looking to publish in a journal as soon as possible. Further inspiration was never far away, either: there were so many talks and events at POLIS and all over town that you could forget to get anything done if you weren’t careful.

In short, Cambridge and POLIS combine to produce a perfect environment for study. For the bookish, the University Library is a wonderful place, and Cambridge itself is a beautiful town. Despite the mess of the COVID-19 pandemic, which changed the second half of the academic year dramatically, I’ll continue to look back fondly on the MPhil at POLIS and Cambridge.

David Threlfall (July 2020)

I fully expected my year in Cambridge to be the most exciting and enriching experience in my educational career, so when I say it was beyond anything I could have imagined, know that I say this having imagined quite a lot. The MPhil program itself is structured in a way that allows an impressive amount of freedom in terms of areas of study within the incredibly broad field of International Relations. For the taught portion, the professors are excellent and are given the opportunity to teach in their respective areas of expertise--in which many of them are among the world's leading authorities. For the research portion, being advised on a subject of independent research by such a formative member of the field (in my case, Public International Law) yielded both the incredibly fulfilling experience of crafting a graduate research project of which I am very proud, and the fostering of a mentoring relationship, the guidance of which I will value throughout my career.

My classmates were a central part this journey. Students from various disciplines and life experiences came together in the same space to create dynamic and challenging classroom discussions, pushing each other to question assumptions, broaden understandings, and create new paradigms for viewing the world we study. They not only are comrades I anticipate having as future colleagues, but people who I feel so fortunate to count as some of my dearest friends. There is truly no way to capture this remarkable year in so few words, but let me end by saying the MPhil brought me memories I will cherish for the rest of my life and is an experience for which I will eternally be so very thankful.

Christine Carpenter (July 2018)

I was attracted to the program at Cambridge due to the wide range of faculty expertise that seemed available, ranging across topics in international relations, political theory, and comparative politics.

Upon arriving in Cambridge, my impression was affirmed. Alongside a vast offering of lectures and seminars, the experience at Cambridge offers a never-ending stream of workshops and talks from local and visiting scholars. As a student at the university, I had access to experts in every field. Professors were exceptionally helpful and welcoming, and my supervisor went out of her way to provide me with sustained feedback.

Collectively, these factors contributed to my year in Cambridge being a memorable intellectual journey, an ongoing conversation that culminated in a significant intellectual project and with many ideas for future research.

Having graduated from Cambridge, I am now pursuing a PhD in political theory at the University of Chicago. When I think about my current academic interests and my long-term goals, I find that many of them were shaped during my year at Cambridge. When I communicate with my fellow recent graduates of the MPhil program, I discover that they, too, continue to carry and implement the ideas born during the stimulating months at POLIS.

Ibrahim Khan (July 2018)

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Key Information


9 months full-time

Master of Philosophy

Department of Politics and International Studies

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Michaelmas 2022

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2021
Application deadline
Jan. 6, 2022
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2022

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Graduate Funding Competition
Dec. 2, 2021
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 13, 2021

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2022, Lent 2023 and Easter 2023.


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