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Postgraduate Research in Politics & International Studies (POLIS)

Politics has a lively postgraduate student community that forms an important part of our research culture. Students are regarded as valued members of the department, able to interact with research-active academic staff and post-doctoral fellows based on campus in Milton Keynes, as well as with other staff and students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and its associated research centres. Doctoral students in POLIS are also part of the wider graduate community of the School and the Faculty, as well as the University as a whole. There are a range of funding opportunities available for doctoral study, including the Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership, in collaboration with Oxford and Brunel Universities and the Open-Oxford-Cambridge DTP in collaboration with Oxford and Cambridge universities. The Citizenship Studies pathway of the Grand Union DTP is hosted within the Department.

Below you will find key information about doing a PhD with POLIS how to apply and areas of supervision.

Key Information

Please note: The next earliest available start date for PhD study with us is October 2025.

The PhD programme in POLIS now has only one start date per year for self-funded students, commencing in October. To apply, the deadline is 31st March. For funded studentships part of the above mentioned funding schemes, please check the relevant calls.

More information on the PhD Programme in POLIS can be found by following the links below.

Most of your time doing a PhD will be spent undertaking your own research project, under the supervision of experts in your chosen area. You will be expected to undertake training designed to support you through the transition into becoming an independent researcher and develop academic and professional skills.

All postgraduate students are provided with two supervisors for the duration of their studies. Supervisors meet regularly with students, acting as academic advisors, providing guidance on research topics, the skills needed to successfully complete a research degree, planning research and on writing a thesis. They read and discuss students' work, helping to develop ideas and to encourage critical and independent thinking. In a recent survey of former PhD students,100% of our respondents rated the supervision experience in POLIS as “excellent”.

You are encouraged to approach potential supervisors, or to contact the postgraduate convenor Dr Dan Taylor for suggestions regarding potential supervisors. This is not essential, but it will enable you to develop a stronger proposal.

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