Research course

Political Science and International Studies

University of Birmingham · School of Government

Entry requirements

For doctoral programmes you require a good Honours degree (UK high upper second; USA GPA 3.40), and a good research proposal.

Learn more about entry requirements and see our Guidance for applying for a PhD.

Months of entry


Course content

The Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS) offers a vibrant and inclusive research culture.

POLSIS has established itself as a centre of excellence in political science, political economy, comparative politics, political theory, international, international relations theory and security and conflict. Our research is concentrated around various research groups and research clusters which carry out a series of collaborative research activities.

Undertaking a PhD in Political Science and International Studies, you will have the opportunity to conduct original research under the guidance of academic supervisors within an active research environment, leading to an 80,000 word thesis. You will take a number of research training modules in your first year and may attend further courses offered by the Department or the University that enhance your personal discipline-specific and transferable skills.

POLSIS is part of the School of Government, one of the leading UK and international centres for governance, politics, international development, and public management. As one of the largest Schools of Government, in the United Kingdom, it is home to more than 80 full-time academic staff, more than 1,200 undergraduate and taught postgraduate students, and more than 70 doctoral researchers.

The School of Government offers much more than a degree. As a doctoral student here, you have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of research events with staff and other doctoral students, including a PGR Colloquium and departmental speaker series. In addition, an individual training plan is drawn up to meet the needs of each student, covering coursework and skills development. As such, completing this research degree will cultivate specialist knowledge in your field and professional skills for a range of career settings.

We are able to supervise a wide range of topics, in line with the research interests of our staff. We are particularly interested in receiving applications on themes that fit with our research groups:

  • Asian Politics
  • British Politics
  • European Studies
  • Gender and Feminist Theory
  • International Relations and Security Theory
  • Parties, Voters and Elections
  • Political Economy
  • Political Theory

Applications to study for a research degree on either a full- or part-time basis are welcomed.

Information for international students

ou can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

  • IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band
  • TOEFL: 88 overall with no less than 21 in Reading, 20 in Listening, 22 in Speaking and 21 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) including online: PTE Academic 67 with no less than 64 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced – minimum overall score of 176, with no less than 169 in any component

Fees and funding

UK students
£4,778 FT/£2,389 PT
International students

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    full time
    36 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    72 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details