Research course

Politics and International Studies

University of Warwick · Department of Politics and International Studies

Entry requirements

The research proposal is the most important part of the PhD application; all candidates must read the guidelines for writing research proposals provided on the PAIS website before applying. In addition to a solid research proposal and the support of a supervisor, you must have a good Masters degree in political science or a closely related subject from the social sciences. For exceptional candidates, a good Masters degree in an unrelated subject or an undergraduate degree with a 2.1 classification or higher in a relevant subject may be considered. You must also provide two good academic references.

Months of entry

January, October, September

Course content

The structure of the PhD programme is not as concrete as that of a taught course. However, in addition to regular meetings with your supervisor, you will experience the following milestones during your course of study:

Year 1
-Terms 1 and 2: Explanation and Methodology in PAIS. This module consists of one 2-hour seminar per week during term time.
-Term 3: First Year Review. At this point you will present your progress to date in order to upgrade from your initial registration as an MPhil to the full PhD registration.

Year 2
-Fieldwork traditionally takes place in this year, if applicable.
-Second Year Review.

Year 3
-Fieldwork finishes, if applicable.
-Writing up commences.

Year 4
Although you should aim to finish in Year 3, realistically most students submit their thesis on an extension beyond this. The Department will support all reasonable extension requests into Year 4; for most students this is either 3 or 6 months. The University does not allow an extension beyond Year 4.

Year 3/4
-Submission of thesis.
-Submission of major/minor corrections, according to the viva outcome.

Other Activities
In addition to your research and seminars, you will have the opportunity to participate in a series of skills workshops throughout the year on everything from how to get the most out of the library to jobhunting. You will be able to join the Critical International and Political Studies (CRIPS) Graduate Working Group, a student led initiative which aims to facilitate a lively research environment open to postgraduate students and staff. CRIPS holds its own seminar series, and you will also have the opportunity to attend the PAIS seminar series, guest lectures, and other workshops held in the department. You will be able to apply to teach at the undergraduate level during your second year. And of course you will have the opportunity to join the many societies and clubs at Warwick, whether related to your degree or just for fun!

Department specialisms

Political Theory and Philosophy; International Political Economy; Globalisation and Development; International Relations; International Security; Public Policy; Comparative Politics; Environmental Policy; Democratisation; area specialism in East Asia, UK, US, Europe and the Middle East.

Information for international students

Minimum English language requirements: IELTS 7, TOEFL iBT 100. For further information, see the Warwick Admissions website.

Fees and funding

The PAIS department and University of Warwick offer a range of funding opportunities, which are advertised with full application details on the PAIS website.

PAIS is also a consortium partner in the EU-funded Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctoral Programme 'GEM.'

Qualification and course duration


part time
60 months
full time
36 months


full time
24 months
part time
36 months

Course contact details

PAIS Postgraduate Office
024 7652 3486
024 7652 4221