Normally a Masters degree in a relevant discipline.
Months of entry
The Department of Politics and International Studies accepts students for research work leading to a PhD. The primary aim of the PhD programme is to train students to design, research and write a successful doctoral thesis. Those who have completed the doctorate will be familiar with the conceptual and methodological aspects of political research and qualified as experts in their field.
To be considered for entry into the PhD programme, applicants must possess a good advanced degree in Politics equivalent in level and content to the Department's MSc, although applications from individuals with related degrees in cognate disciplines will also be considered. Guidelines for Research Proposals can be found here.
Admission takes place on a rolling basis. The application cycle opens in November and closes on 30 June for entry in October. Applicants also wishing to be considered for a SOAS scholarship or an ESRC studentship should refer to the Scholarship information for the deadlines.
The primary building block of the PhD programme is the relationship between student and supervisor. Students are admitted on the basis of the expressed willingness of at least one member of staff to serve as the main supervisor for the student's project. Thus, from the student's entry in the programme, the supervisor assumes primary responsibility for monitoring and supporting the student’s progress towards the completion of the degree. Every research student also has an associate supervisor, another member of staff with a close interest in the student’s region and/or sub-field of the discipline. The Department’s research tutor oversees the PhD programme and is available for discussing general problems.
Furthermore, research students are embedded in a structured training programme during their first year, attending courses dealing with research design, theory and methods. In addition, they may attend an MSc course relevant to their research. Research students are also encouraged to participate in the Department seminars, where invited scholars from other institutions give presentations, and they have access to many other seminars and lectures held throughout SOAS. The School’s language training facilities are also available for students to develop or improve research-relevant language skills. Since 2012, research students have exclusive access to the facilities and services offered by SOAS’ Doctoral School.
Most PhD students spend some time doing fieldwork in the regions of their research. The Department and the School, through their various connections with individuals and institutions in the universities and governments of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, facilitate this work with personal contacts and introductions as well as (limited) funding.
The Department usually has around 60 research students (MPhil and PhD level) at any one time. Please visit these links for profiles of current research students and a list of recently completed PhD theses.
Identity and modernity; state and society; international politics and regional relations in Asia and Africa; politics and development.
Information for international students
For details, including English language requirements, please see SOAS website
Fees and funding
For details of postgraduate fees, please see SOAS website
Qualification and course duration
Course contact details
- Postgraduate Enquiries
- 020 7074 5117