Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina
The Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion (PPR) welcomes disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and post-disciplinary research proposals from those seeking to undertake MPhil or PhD research programme in International Relations.
Our MPhil variant culminates in the writing of a 40,000 word thesis, whereas our PhD programme culminates in an 80,000 word thesis. The PhD programme is formed of two parts:
- During the initial or ‘probationary’ period we encourage you to dedicate your time to research training and general preparation for the thesis. We offer you the opportunity to take research training modules covering research skills and key concepts, theories and approaches in the sub-field in which you intend to write your thesis. During this period you would also be expected to write a literature review and begin the process of writing your thesis.
- During the final phase, which is subject to confirmation by an Upgrade Panel, you will complete your research, write the remainder of your thesis, and prepare for submission and examination.
PPR has a lively research culture, including stimulating weekly research seminars. In addition, you are encouraged to participate in faculty-wide workshops and research programmes. We also encourage all researchers to make links with other departments across the university.
Bachelor’s degree: an upper second class honours degree (UK or equivalent) in a relevant background
Master’s degree: a good masters degree in a relevant subject.
We may also consider non-standard applicants, please contact us for information.
If you have studied outside of the UK, we would advise you to check our list of international qualifications before submitting your application.
As part of your application you will also need to provide a viable research proposal. Guidance for writing a research proposal can be found here.
English Language Requirements
We may ask you to provide a recognised English language qualification, dependent upon your nationality and where you have studied previously.
We normally require an IELTS (Academic) Test with an overall score of at least 6.5, and a minimum of 5.5 in each element of the test. We also consider other English language qualifications.
If your score is below our requirements, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language programmes.
Contact: Admissions Team +44 (0) 1524 592032 or email [email protected]
|Full Time (per year)
|Part Time (per year)
The University will not increase the Tuition Fee you are charged during the course of an academic year.
If you are studying on a programme of more than one year’s duration, the tuition fees for subsequent years of your programme are likely to increase each year. The way in which continuing students’ fee rates are determined varies according to an individual’s ‘fee status’ as set out on our fees webpages.
What are tuition fees for?
Studying at a UK University means that you need to pay an annual fee for your tuition, which covers the costs associated with teaching, examinations, assessment and graduation.
The fee that you will be charged depends on whether you are considered to be a UK, EU or overseas student. Visiting students will be charged a pro-rata fee for periods of study less than a year.
Our annual tuition fee is set for a 12 month session, which usually runs from October to September the following year.
How does Lancaster set overseas tuition fees?
Overseas fees, alongside all other sources of income, allow the University to maintain its abilities across the range of activities and services. Each year the University’s Finance Committee consider recommendations for increases to fees proposed for all categories of student and this takes into account a range of factors including projected cost inflation for the University, comparisons against other high-quality institutions and external financial factors such as projected exchange rate movements.
What support is available towards tuition fees?
Lancaster University’s priority is to support every student in making the most of their education. Many of our students each year will be entitled to bursaries or scholarships to help with the cost of fees and/or living expenses. You can find out more about financial support, studentships, and awards for postgraduate study on our website.
The Department is organised around four Research Clusters: International Institutions, Law and Ethics; International Theory; International Political Economy; and Statecraft and Security. You will belong to at least one of these clusters during your studies and attend its weekly events. You will also have the chance to participate in the editing of a student-run journal Millennium: Journal of International Studies, which has a major role in the discipline.
The Department has particular strengths in international relations theory, security studies, international political economy, and European studies. As well as Europe, its specialist areas cover Russia, Central, Northeast and Southeast Asia, the USA, South America, the Middle East and Africa. Other areas of research strength include foreign policy analysis, nationalism, religion, historical sociology, international environmental politics and strategic and war studies. Many individuals contribute to more than one of these subjects, and there is interdisciplinary work with colleagues in the Departments of Government and International History, as well as through the many research centres at the School.
Teaching and learning in Michaelmas Term 2020
Information on how LSE will deliver teaching and learning in Michaelmas term can be found here.
|28 September 2020
|10 January 2020
|Three to four years (minimum two) full-time
|UK/EU: £4,435 (for the first year) – provisional
Overseas: £19,368 (for the first year)
|LSE PhD Studentships (deadline 10 January 2020)
ESRC funding (deadline 10 January 2020)
|Minimum entry requirement
|High merit (65+) in Master’s degree in a relevant subject with high merit (65+) in the dissertation element or equivalent
|English language requirements
|Research (‘see Assessing your application’)
|Houghton Street, London
For more information about tuition fees and entry requirements, see the fees and funding and assessing your application sections.Entry requirements
Minimum entry requirements for MPhil/PhD International Relations
The minimum entry requirement for this programme is a high merit (65+) in a master’s degree in a subject relevant to the proposed research with high merit (65+) in the dissertation element, or equivalent. We will not consider applications which do not meet these criteria (or do not expect to do so on completion of any pending qualifications).
Competition for places at the School is high. This means that even if you meet our minimum entry requirement, this does not guarantee you an offer of admission.
We welcome applications for research programmes that complement the academic interests of members of staff at the School, and we recommend that you investigate staff research interests before applying.
Please note: Prospective candidates are not expected to contact potential supervisors in advance of their application. Due to the high volume of enquiries, potential supervisors are unlikely to be able to provide feedback on enquiries and outline proposals. Individual academic members of staff are not able to make commitments to supervise prospective students outside of the formal application process.
We apply our entry criteria rigorously, so if you do not already meet or expect to meet them with any pending qualifications, you will not be successful. We carefully consider each application on an individual basis, taking into account all the information presented on your application form, including your:
– academic achievement (including existing and pending qualifications)
– statement of academic purpose
– outline research proposal as detailed on the Department MPhil/PhD webpage
– sample of written work.
You may also have to provide evidence of your English proficiency. You do not need to provide this at the time of your application to LSE, but we recommend that you do. See our English language requirements.
When to apply
The application and funding deadline for this programme is 10 January 2020. See the fees and funding section for more details.Programme structure and courses
In addition to progressing with your research, you will take courses in methods and research design. You may take courses in addition to those listed and should discuss this with your supervisor.
(* denotes half unit course)
Compulsory (not examined)
Methods in International Relations Research
Familiarises students with the principal approaches to contemporary research in the main branches of International Relations and to help students identify the appropriate methodology for their project.
Compulsory (not examined)
Research Cluster Workshops*
Compulsory (not examined)
International Relations Research Design Workshop
Compulsory (not examined)
Research Cluster Workshops*
Compulsory (not examined)
Research Cluster Workshops*
Compulsory (not examined)
Research Cluster Workshops*
Optional (examined/not examined)
Research Cluster Workshops to be selected from:
International Relations Theory
Security and Statecraft
International Institutions, Law and Ethics
International Political Economy
The subject workshops offered by the International Relations Department comprise international relations theory; security and statecraft; international institutions, law and ethics; international political economy. You are expected to attend one of the International Relations Research Cluster workshops.
Relevant courses provided by the Library, the Teaching and Learning Centre and the Methodology Department in agreement with your supervisor, which can include:
Bayesian Reasoning for Qualitative Social Science: A Modern Approach to Case Study Inference*
Fundamentals of Social Science Research Design
Introduces the broad range of design options and to foster an appreciation of these alternatives for particular research objectives.
Qualitative Research Methods
Prepares students to design, carry out, report, read and evaluate qualitative research projects.
Introduction to Quantitative Analysis*
The course is intended for students with no previous experience of quantitative methods or statistics. It covers the foundations of descriptive statistics and statistical estimation and inference.
Multivariate Analysis and Measurement
Introduces the application of modern multivariate methods used in the social sciences, with particular focus on latent variable models for continuous observed variables, and their application to questions of measurement in the social sciences.
Special Topics in Quantitative Analysis: Quantitative Text Analysis*
The course surveys methods for systematically extracting quantitative information from text for social scientific purposes, starting with classical content analysis and dictionary-based methods, to classification methods, and state-of-the-art scaling methods and topic models for estimating quantities from text using statistical techniques
Department of Methodology Seminar
Transferable skills courses:
Workshop in Information Literacy: Finding, managing and organising published research and data (Year One)
At the end of your second year, you will need to satisfy certain requirements and if you meet these, will be retroactively upgraded to PhD status.
For the most up-to-date list of optional courses please visit the relevant School Calendar page.
You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up to date and correct, a change of circumstances since publication may cause the School to change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will always notify the affected parties as early as practicably possible and propose any viable and relevant alternative options. Note that that the School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to events outside of its control, which includes but is not limited to a lack of demand for a course or programme of study, industrial action, fire, flood or other environmental or physical damage to premises.
You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee you a place. Please note that changes to programmes and courses can sometimes occur after you have accepted your offer of a place. These changes are normally made in light of developments in the discipline or path-breaking research, or on the basis of student feedback. Changes can take the form of altered course content, teaching formats or assessment modes. Any such changes are intended to enhance the student learning experience. You should visit the School’s Calendar, or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. Certain substantive changes will be listed on the updated graduate course and programme information page.Supervision, progression and assessment
You will be assigned a lead supervisor who has the necessary expertise to oversee your reseearch work. Lead supervisors guide you through your studies and are your main support contact during the PhD programme.
During your first year you will attend and contribute to the Methods in International Relations seminar, the Department Research Cluster workshops and research training courses. These are designed to strengthen your methodological skills, language skills or background knowledge of specific topics related to your research.
During your second and third years you will also attend and contribute to the the Department Research Cluster workshops.
You will also be assigned an adviser, a member of the International Relations faculty who will be familiar with your progress but will not necessarily be an expert in your research area. Your adviser will be involved in the review and upgrade process.
Progression and assessment
Each PhD thesis is unique, but the time frame everyone has to complete their thesis is four years.
All MPhil/PhD students at LSE are initially registered with MPhil status. Continued re-registration and upgrade are dependent on satisfactory progress being made.
Progress will be reviewed annually by a Research Panel made up of members of academic staff other than the supervisor. Students are normally upgraded to PhD status by the end of the second year. The Annual Progress review may result in a decision allowing progression to the next academic session, conditional progression to the next academic session, or a recommendation of de-registration.
By the end of your first year, you will be required to submit a statement of research including a research outline and one draft chapter of no more than 10,000 words. The proposal, which should illustrate your command of the theoretical and empirical literature related to your topic, will be a clear statement of the theoretical and methodological approach you will take. This should demonstrate the coherence and feasibility of the proposed research and thesis. The submission will also include a timetable to completion, which should identify any periods of fieldwork necessary to your research. Panels will normally take place in week 2-4 of the Summer Term.
For the second Panel, normally scheduled in week 2-4 of the Summer Term, which will decide on the question of upgrading from MPhil to PhD, you will be expected to submit two additional draft chapters. The two chapters should be substantially new work, but may include revised material from year one. If you have not made sufficient progress to be converted from MPhil to PhD registration by the end of your second year, you will normally have re-registration made conditional on further progress (details to be decided by the Panel) or may, exceptionally, not be authorised to re-register.
Students in their third year of registration will be required to submit an annual progress report at the end of June, including a timetable to completion clearly setting out the work completed and remaining on the student’s research. These will need to be approved by the supervisor and reviewed by the Doctoral Programme Director. Preliminary reading
- The Professor Is In: The Essential Guide to Turning your PhD into a Job. Karen Kelsky (Three Rivers Press, 2015)
- How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing. Paul J. Silvia (American Psychological Association, 2007)
Students who successfully complete the programme often embark on an academic career. Recent doctoral graduates have also gone into careers in consultancy, education and teaching, NGOs and charities, international organisations and to roles within the public sector and government.
Graduate destinations for this programme
Hear from some recent graduates
Heidi Ning Kang Wang-Kaeding
Assistant Professor in Asian Politics, Department of Political Science, Trinity College Dublin
Research Fellow, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto; Director of Research, Wayamo Foundation
Lecturer in International Relations, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster
Support for your career
Many leading organisations give careers presentations at the School during the year, and LSE Careers has a wide range of resources available to assist students in their job search. Find out more about the support available to students through LSE CareersStudent stories
Every research student is charged a fee in line with the fee structure for their programme. The fee covers registration and examination fees payable to the School, lectures, classes and individual supervision, lectures given at other colleges under intercollegiate arrangements and, under current arrangements, membership of the Students’ Union. It does not cover living costs or travel or fieldwork.
Tuition fees 2020/21 for MPhil/PhD International Relations
UK/EU students: £4,435 for the first year (provisional)
Overseas students: £19,368 for the first year
The fee is likely to rise over subsequent years of the programme. The School charges UK/EU research students in line with the level of fee that the Research Councils recommend. The fees for overseas students are likely to rise in line with the assumed percentage increase in pay costs (ie, 4 per cent per annum).
The amount of tuition fees you will need to pay, and any financial support you are eligible for, will depend on whether you are classified as a home (UK/EU) or overseas student, otherwise known as your fee status. LSE assesses your fee status based on guidelines provided by the Department of Education.
Scholarships, studentships and other funding
The School recognises that the cost of living in London may be higher than in your home town or country, and we provide over £13 million in scholarships each year to graduate students from the UK, the EU and outside the EU.
This programme is eligible for LSE PhD Studentships, and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funding. Selection for the PhD Studentships and ESRC funding is based on receipt of an application for a place – including all ancillary documents, before the funding deadline.
Funding deadline for LSE PhD Studentships and ESRC funding: 10 January 2020.
In addition to our needs-based awards, LSE also makes available scholarships for students from specific regions of the world and awards for students studying specific subject areas.
There may be other funding opportunities available through other organisations or governments and we recommend you investigate these options as well.
Our research programmes provide a combination of formal research training and individual supervision within a supportive environment, with regular interaction between staff and students. For example, the School runs a weekly Graduate Research Training Seminar, where students are encouraged to present their work and receive feedback from peers and staff. Students enjoy regular meetings with a supervisor and supervisory team, and are also given opportunities to collaborate with other members of staff through the staff research seminar and the activities of the four research centres.
Students are encouraged to participate in the annual postgraduate research conference, during which various staff members discuss the work of research students, and outside speakers offer plenary lectures. Research students will also be able to benefit from the skills training offered by the University’s Graduate School.
The breadth of expertise within the School enables us to provide research supervision on a very wide range of topics across the area of International Relations.
Current projects of students studying in this area include: Evolving Sino-South Korean Relations: Interplay between National Identity and Interests, NAFTA-Land Security: The Mérida Initiative, Transnational Threats, and U.S. Security Projection in Mexico, Mediation as a Preventive Diplomacy Instrument: A Comparative Study of International Mediation in Cyprus and Northern Ireland, Readdressing the relationship between political philosophy and International Organisations , The Land of Maybe: Faroese Foreign Policy Decision-Making at the European Crossroads and A Phronetic Approach to the Theory and Practice of Humanitarian Intervention.
Fees for this and other Kent Postgraduate Politics programmes can be found on the Student Finance page.
Find out more
A first or upper-second class honours degree in a relevant subject or equivalent. If applying for the PhD a Master’s degree in a relevant subject is preferable.
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and relevant experience may also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information. Due to visa restrictions, international fee-paying students cannot study part-time unless undertaking a distance or blended-learning programme with no on-campus provision.
English language entry requirements
The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Need help with English?
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
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Duration: MA 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
PhD 3 to 4 years full-time, 5 to 6 years part-time
General additional costs
Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.
Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both:
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The Complete University Guide
In The Complete University Guide 2020, the University of Kent was ranked in the top 10 for research intensity. This is a measure of the proportion of staff involved in high-quality research in the university.
Please see the University League Tables 2020 for more information.
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Politics and International Relations was ranked 15th for research power and in the top 20 in the UK for research impact.
An impressive 96% of our research was judged to be of international quality and the School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of research of international excellence.
Our research interests span a broad spectrum of the discipline, with particular strengths in the fields of conflict analysis and resolution, political theory and European politics. The strength of the School’s research culture is reflected in the numerous books and articles published and in the existence of its three University-recognised research centres: the Conflict Analysis Research Centre (CARC), the Global Europe Centre (GEC) and the Centre for Critical Thought (CCT).
In 2011, the University successfully applied for ESRC recognition as a provider of doctoral training in political science and international studies (and other areas of the social sciences) as part of a consortium. As a result, we are now part of the South East ESRC Doctoral Training Centre, making us one of the key training outlets in our subject in the UK. Further details can be found on the South East DTC website.
Conflict Analysis Research Centre (CARC)
Kent has been at the forefront of conflict negotiation and resolution for almost 50 years. The Conflict Analysis Research Centre brings together academics working on different aspects of conflict and security as well as PhD and Master’s students studying International Conflict Analysis, International Law and International Relations. Current research includes an investigation into how migrant communities can support peacebuilding in their home society and how South Africa and the UK treat refugees and security. The Centre is also at the forefront of trying to resolve actual conflicts – for example, it played a role in the Moldova-Transnistria peace process and has supported reconciliation efforts in Africa.
Global Europe Centre (GEC)
The Global Europe Centre is a pioneering research-led learning centre focusing on the study of Europe and its relations with the outside world. The GEC’s research focus is on contemporary policy challenges to Europe and its nation states, the engagement with policy-makers and policy-shapers is at the core of its activities. The GEC mission is to promote excellence, through innovative research and knowledge exchange and to facilitate research-driven impact through its learning and teaching activities. The GEC’s activities include dissemination of policy-relevant research via publications, research-led knowledge transfer workshops, conferences and public lectures, and keynote addresses by leading public figures. The Centre has a strong commitment to the creation of the next generation of ideas innovators and policymakers and pursues these through its learning, teaching and knowledge exchange activities and via the Global Europe Student Forum. GEC is an interdisciplinary research centre aiming to develop synergies across Politics and International Relations, Economics, Law, Business, History, and European Languages and Culture.
Centre for Critical Thought (CCT)
The Centre for Critical Thought is an exciting multidisciplinary initiative across both the Social Sciences and Humanities Faculties, co-ordinated by staff in Politics and International Relations, Law and Italian Studies. It enables staff and students interested in cutting-edge critical thought to discuss their work together and to explore the insights of interdisciplinary collaboration. In addition, it serves as a forum for distinguished lectures, seminars and an annual workshop. The Annual Kent Lecture in Political and Social Thought is the headline lecture series and recent speakers have included Professor Bernard Stiegler, Professor Chantal Mouffe and Professor William Outhwaite. All students interested in contemporary critical thought are encouraged to become members while at Kent.