Research course

Politics and International Studies

University of Warwick · Department of Politics and International Studies

Entry requirements

  • A strong, viable research proposal and in-principle support from your supervisor(s). When you submit your application, do not forget to include the name of your potential supervisor(s).
  • A Masters-level degree in Politics or a closely related subject; however, applicants with an unrelated Master’s degree and academic experience relevant to their research proposal will be considered.

Months of entry

October, September

Course content

Undertaking a research project that spans at least three years can be a daunting task. While not as structured as a taught postgraduate programme, the PhD is segmented into four stages, each with distinct milestones to help you monitor your progress and pursue your research at the best pace.

Year 1

Your first year, during which you will register as an MPhil candidate initially, lays the foundation for your research. On the bespoke year 1 training module, Doctoral Thesis Writing in Politics and International Studies, you will develop doctoral researching skills and collaborate with your peers to overcome the challenges of PhD research. This seminar will also prepare you for the first year review, which takes place each May. This review, involving both written and presentational elements, is used to determine whether you are ready to upgrade from MPhil student to a full PhD.

Year 2

During your second year, you will continue to attend advanced training seminars in the department on subjects ranging from interviews to academic writing for publication while you dig into the heart of your research. Many candidates use part or all of the second year to conduct fieldwork elsewhere in the UK or abroad. The second year culminates in a review consisting of a written report on your progress and a ‘Pitch to Peers’ workshop in which you’ll have 15 minutes to present and pitch your thesis to your peers and a core panel of staff, followed by a short Q&A.

Year 3

While you should be in the habit of writing from day one, the process of tying your thesis together and finalising it for submission begins in earnest during year 3 and normally continues into the first part of year 4. A final progress check is conducted at the end of this year.

Year 4

Although you should aim to finish in year 3, realistically most students submit their thesis in year 4. All full-time students are initially registered for 4 years, and the fourth year does not incur a fee. The University does not normally allow an extension beyond year 4.

Submission and the viva

You should aim to submit your finished thesis in the first six months of your fourth year. After you submit, you will defend your thesis in front of internal and external examiners as your final assessment for the degree (the viva).

Information for international students

If English is not your first language, you must have an IELTS score of 7.0 with no more than two components at 6.5 or 6.0, or other accepted language test.

Fees and funding

UK students
Estimated 2018/19 fee: £4,270
International students
Estimated 2018/19 fee: £17,050

There are many funding opportunities for postgraduate students at the University of Warwick. For more information, please visit:

Qualification and course duration


part time
60 months
full time
36 months

Course contact details

Postgraduate Office
+44 (0)24761 50145