Research course

Defence Studies

King's College London · Defence Studies Department

Entry requirements

  • Master's degree with high merit, and a 2:1 honours degree at the bachelor's level. It is highly desirable (but not essential) to have taken courses in this field at postgraduate level before undertaking research work in the Defence Studies Department.
  • Extensive practical experience in a relevant field (eg military, diplomatic, humanitarian or developmental) may be taken into account when evaluating an application.

Months of entry

January, September

Course content

The Defence Studies Department’s unique position as an academic department based at the Defence Academy heavily influences its research. Sitting at the heart of security and defence education in the United Kingdom, it is able to draw on the experiences and knowledge of not only UK military officers, but officers from a wide range of allied nations. The Department’s research is therefore able to benefit from and influence defence thinking and policymaking not just in the UK, but across the world.

Research in the Department is reflective of the diverse interests of our staff members and postgraduate students. It covers military, naval, diplomatic and imperial history, international relations, defence and regional security policy studies, strategic studies, and the ethics of conflict. This wide range of topics is united by their relation and relevance to contemporary security and defence issues. Researchers from the Department have played an important role in past UK security and defence reviews and continue to influence future reviews. Staff members are regularly consulted by national and international media on contemporary and past events, and they are actively engaged in public engagement with the heritage sector. Research projects in the Department has been supported by a variety of funding bodies, including the Leverhulme Trust, the British Academy, the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC), the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the MacArthur Foundation, the British Council, the European Commission, the US Army War College, the UK Ministry of Defence, and the US Department of Defense.

Since 2011, the Department has run its own postgraduate research programme. We attract studentships from a variety of sources, including the ESRC and the AHRC. We also offer studentships funded directly by the Department. Nearly 120 students are currently undertaking doctoral research. Every year, 40 students join the programme. The Department is especially interested in receiving applications from students planning research projects in fields that enhance the strength of the Department’s research themes and groups, and enriching its broader research culture.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MPhil
    part time
    48 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
  • PhD
    part time
    72 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    36 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Dr Andrew Stewart