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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

Politics and International Studies is no longer accepting new applications.

Apply using the Applicant Portal

The Apply Now button on the right will take you to the Applicant Portal. There, you can create and submit your application and supporting documents, and you can also request your references.

An application is only complete when:

  1. you have submitted your application and supporting documents via the Applicant Portal
  2. you have paid the application fee if applicable. For further information on application fees, and which courses require an application fee, see here.
  3. your referees have provided their references.

If you miss the deadlines specified in this section, you will not be able to submit your application.

Your application must include a detailed research proposal. It should be no more than 2,500 words (including footnotes and titles, but not including a bibliography). It should outline the subject of the intended research and thesis. It can indicate the methodology to be adopted and the sources to be used, and give a sense of how it is intended to make a contribution to existing knowledge. It should include a working title.

Applications without a research proposal cannot be considered. Please disregard the option given in the application form of replacing the research proposal with a personal statement.

Your ranking within the year for your undergraduate and masters courses should be included with your transcript. If this is not available as a separate document, it can be included by referees. Your main references are to be provided by the nominated persons themselves; you may not upload these references directly. You may also include a CV, sample of recent work, and further references.

We welcome applications from those wishing to study part-time. Part-time applicants from outside the UK should note that visa restrictions may apply, and that not all sources of funding are available to part-time students. Please contact the Department for further details. 

Selection Process

The large majority of applications are reviewed in January, after the December deadline for applications and funding.  Those who apply for the Gates (US) funding will be considered in October.  Shortlisted applicants are normally invited to participate in an interview, usually with a prospective supervisor, and we may be in touch individually via your nominated email address if we seek an interview. Interviews will be held between 15th to 19th January 2024, please ensure that you are available. Alternative dates outside of this week will not be offered. 

For further information on how to apply visit the course page on the course website.

Further information on How To Apply

Things You'll Need

In order to apply for this course you'll need to think about getting a few things ready before you apply.

  • Two academic references  
  • Transcript  
  • CV/resume
  • Evidence of competence in English  
    If required - you can check using our tool
  • Research proposal (M)
    The research proposal should be a concise outline of the subject of the thesis, with a working title, and include an indication of the methodology to be adopted and the sources to be used. It should be no more 2,500 words, so be selective, consider the focus of your research, and explain the main outline of your thinking. A bibliography at this stage can and should only be limited, but we want to see reference to the relevant literature of which you are already aware, and some sense of that which you expect to be able to consult.
  • Language attainments certificates (O)

Gates Cambridge Scholarships

If you wish to be considered for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship you will also need to provide the following:

  • Gates Cambridge Reference  
  • Research Proposal (PhD applicants only)

See Gates Cambridge for more information.

How to Find a Supervisor

If your application is successful we will search for an appropriate supervisor. You may, however, consider, in your research proposal, who you think would be a possible academic supervisor for your work, and provide a name in the relevant section of the application form. This does not increase the likelihood of the acceptance of your application, but it may be useful in steering us in thinking which specialty of the supervisor would best complement your academic interests (for example, for those proposing multi-disciplinary or cross-regional research projects). The range of topics for which we take PhD students is broad, but is dependent on our ability to appoint a suitable supervisor. A list of POLIS academics with their research profiles can be found on the department website.

Key Information

3-4 years full-time

4-7 years part-time

Study Mode : Research

Doctor of Philosophy

Department of Politics and International Studies

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
Dec. 5, 2023
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2024

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

Course Funding Deadline
Dec. 5, 2023
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2023

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.

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