Research course

Politics and International Relations

University of Southampton · Politics and International Relations

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Entry requirements

A UK bachelor’s degree with upper second-class honours and a Master of Science at Merit* or higher in a relevant subject (*typically between 60% and 69% in the UK) plus satisfactory performance at interview

Months of entry


Course content

We offer PhD programmes in many areas of political science, political theory and international relations in a highly stimulating and supportive environment. Topics range from democratic engagement to local governance, from policy studies to political accountability, from global justice to theories of citizenship, from development to nuclear security,and from world government to globalisation.You will work with a supervisory team of at least two academic members of staff and consult with other members of staff as needed. We actively encourage doctoral student participation in academic conferences and submission of articles to scholarly journals. Our academics’ groundbreaking research projects impact on national and international politics and policy processes and the latest (2014) Research Excellence Framework ranked us fifth in the UK for research output.

All PAIR research students will be enrolled in PAIR's postgraduate training programme. This programme offers subject-specific training for doctoral research in political theory, political science and international relations, and examines some of the practical, theoretical and methodological concerns involved in planning and writing a thesis. It aims to assist students in thinking critically about their own research design and project and, by engaging intellectually with other research designs and projects, to reflect more generally on the nature of the PhD itself. It focuses, in particular, on the theoretical, analytical and methodological issues involved in producing doctoral research of a publishable quality and the practical issues that need to be negotiated if this is to be achieved within the specified timeframe. More broadly, the programme is designed not only to help students develop a critical awareness of the nature of the research process but also to develop other skills, such as those pertaining to teaching, funding, publishing and presenting at conferences. The programme runs over three years (or the equivalent for part-time study) and students are awarded 10 credits towards the successful completion at the end of each year. The postgraduate training programme is obligatory and its successful completion will enable research students to submit their dissertation and sit the viva at the end of the research period.

As part of the postgraduate training programme, research students who have not previously undertaken research training, or with only partial training, will also be required to attend and pass some of the following modules in year one, which are components of the relevant ESRC-recognised research training MSc programmes:

INTR6001: Global Politics and International Relations

POLI6003: Citizenship, Democracy and Political Theory

INTR6015: Philosophy, Methodology and Research Design

STAT6002: Survey Design Methods

STAT6005: Statistical Data Analysis

SOCI6022: Qualitative Methods

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    full time
    36-48 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    Up to 84 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details