Research course

Politics and International Studies

Institution
University of Cambridge · Department of Politics and International Studies
Qualifications
PhD

Entry requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK Masters (Distinction).

Months of entry

October

Course content

The first year of the PhD is spent in Cambridge, with two major activities: firstly, developing a research topic, with the guidance of a supervisor; and secondly, on training in research methods. The development of the topic often involves extensive reading into relevant literatures, discovery of relevant information sources (such as archives or databases), and formulating plans for primary research, such as through making plans for fieldwork. This is done in combination with your primary supervisor. The first year culminates in the production of a report, which serves as the basis for the registration exercise at the end of the year. This registration exercise is required to move on to official registration for the PhD degree, and is conducted through a meeting with your second supervisor and an independent assessor. Its purpose is to ensure that your research project is viable, that an appropriate methodology is being applied and that relevant literatures are being drawn upon.

The second major focus of the first year is research training. There is a weekly seminar on the methodological and philosophical questions that underpin research in the contemporary social sciences which all first-year PhD students attend. Alongside this, PhD students choose two further courses to attend from a range of options, such as statistics, qualitative methods and languages.

The content of the second and third years varies considerably depending on the type of research being conducted. Many students spend a considerable portion of the second year of their PhD out of Cambridge on fieldwork, while others are resident throughout. To assist you in the development of your research, we schedule an annual meeting with your primary and second supervisor, for which you produce a report for discussion

Learning outcomes

The PhD programme enables you, first and foremost, to develop your detailed knowledge of one specific field of knowledge, and through your original research to contribute to this field. But it also gives you training in a broad variety of academic skills, engagement through seminars with scholars and practitioners working in a wide variety of other fields, opportunities to be involved in lecturing and teaching, and preparation for the job market.

Many of our PhD students also engage through the university in training in learning new languages or developing existing non-native language skills; presenting their work to non-academic audiences such as policy-makers, NGOs or commercial organisations; and writing for and editing POLIS’s series of publications.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    full time
    36 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    60 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Name
Enquiries
Email
enquiries@polis.cam.ac.uk