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Postgraduate research in politics and international relations

Ready to start your research career? Explore our postgraduate research degrees in politics and international relations

If you're ready to take your knowledge and expertise in Politics and International Relations into a postgraduate research degree, Portsmouth is the ideal place to realise your ambitions.

We're working with organisations, governments and individuals to find solutions to pressing political challenges. We're finding new ways to reduce the impact of war and create a safer, more peaceful world. We're analysing how insecurity, conflict and political exclusion form in different regions. And we're looking at how to improve people's lives by better understanding the local, regional, national and transnational dimensions of their nation or region's politics.

Our research is collaborative and multidisciplinary, and as a postgraduate research degree student, you'll play your own part in turning our expertise into impactful research.

Research degrees

Find out about our PhD, MPhil, and PhD by Publication opportunities in Politics and International Relations below, including how to apply, entry requirements and funding your degree. For more detailed information about the application process, visit our How to Apply pages.

Politics & International Relations PhDs and MPhils

Explore our pre-approved funded and self-funded PhD projects in Politics and International Relations, or submit your own research idea. 

PhD and MPhil projects

Submit your own idea

If you already have a research idea, find a supervisor whose research interests match yours by searching our Find a PhD Supervisor page. Once you've identified someone suitable, contact them to discuss your idea.

PhD by Publication

A PhD by publication is a postgraduate research degree based on research you've already undertaken and had published (excluding self-publishing) before registering with us.

Eligible research outputs include peer-reviewed academic papers, complete books or chapters in anthologies, and other materials accepted for publication, exhibited or performed. You'll have to submit these materials for examination between 6–12 months after registering with us.

For more information, please visit our PhD by Publication page.

Duration, fees and funding 

What do my tuition fees cover?

If you're self-funding your PhD, you'll pay tuition fees to the University to cover course and university costs.

Your tuition fees cover:

  • The cost of your postgraduate research programme* at the University as well as charges for registration, tuition, supervision, and examinations
  • Bespoke training, professional development courses, networking, and research support through The Graduate School
  • Research seminars and workshops (university-wide and faculty-specific)
  • A contribution to funding to attend a conference or development activity in your research field
  • Tailor-made weekly and monthly events, including weekly, themed experienced researcher-led talks and workshops
  • Helping you become part of our thriving research community, including Research and Innovation services where 77% of our research is world leading and internationally excellent in REF 2021
  • Your graduation ceremony
  • Viva examination and administration costs
  • The facilities and equipment you need to complete your studies, such as computer rooms, access to laptops, the Library, and laboratories
  • Access to resources including electronic journals, alternative guide to funding, and thousands of hours of educational videos on LinkedIn Learning
  • University support services including academic, financial, careers and wellbeing support and personal tutors
  • Membership of the Students' Union (giving you the right to vote in elections, join clubs and societies, and get free independent advice)
  • Access to software such as Microsoft Office, SPSS and Adobe Creative Suite (this includes Photoshop, InDesign, and Adobe Premiere Pro)

*Please note that some research programmes may come with additional bench fees.

How long will my research degree take?

  • MPhil: 2 years full-time, 4 years part-time
  • PhD: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time
  • PhD by Publication: 1 year part-time

How much will my degree cost?

PhD and MPhil

UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students 

  • Full-time:  £4,596 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,298 per year (may be subject to annual increase)

EU students

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time:  £4,596 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,298 per year (may be subject to annual increase)

International students  

  • Full-time: £16,200 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £8,100 per year (may be subject to annual increase)

PhD by Publication 

External candidates: £4,596

Members of staff: £1,760 

All fees are subject to annual increase. If you are an EU student starting a programme in 20221/23 please visit this page.

PhD and MPhil

UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students 

  • Full-time:  £4,596 per year (may be subject to annual increase)*
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,298 per year (may be subject to annual increase)*

EU students

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time:  £4,596 per year (may be subject to annual increase)*
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,298 per year (may be subject to annual increase)*

International students  

  • Full-time: £17,200 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £8,600 per year (may be subject to annual increase)

PhD by Publication 

External candidates: £4,596*

Members of staff: £1,850

All fees are subject to annual increase. If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2023/24 please visit this page.

 

*This is the 2022/23 UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) maximum studentship fee; this fee will increase to the 2023/24 UKRI maximum studentship fee when UKRI announces this rate in Spring 2023.

 

Bench fees

Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.

Funding support

MPhil full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the Government Postgraduate Loan (UK/EU students only).

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the Government Doctoral Loan (UK/EU students only).

For information on other sources of funding, visit our funding your postgraduate research degree page.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for a PhD, or MPhil include a good honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject, or a master’s degree in an appropriate subject. Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications may be considered. All applicants are subject to interview.

If English is not your first language, you'll need English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Support and facilities

When you join us, you'll be supported by our Graduate School, alongside your assigned supervisory team, who'll help you get the most from our facilities. The Graduate School will help you become part of our thriving, collaborative research community, and help grow your skills as a researcher through the Graduate School Development Programme, which offers training, workshops and events.

What can a postgraduate research degree do for my career?

Once you complete your postgraduate research degree, you'll be a highly-skilled researcher with the knowledge and skills to make an impact in many different industries.

Your postgraduate research qualification demonstrates to potential employers that you're an intelligent, capable and motivated person, with provable abilities and experience in critical thinking, problem-solving, project management, communication, leadership and creativity.

After researching with us, our successful postgraduate research candidates have gone on to impressive positions in a variety of fields, as academic researchers, security and intelligence analysts, political advisers and officials in national and international governmental organisations.

Apply

Apply for a research degree in Politics and International Relations by completing our online form.

February (2023 start)

April (2023 start)

October (2023 start)

Current research

Explore the work we're doing across our 4 areas of research expertise in Politics and International Relations.

Citizenship and Civil Society

We're exploring aspects of citizenship, including identity politics, questions of sovereignty, and how they impact individuals. Explore our citizenship and society research.

Read more

Politics of States and Regions

We're working to foster citizen engagement in politics, improve the effectiveness & responsiveness of public institutions as well as the educational experience of students. Explore our politics of states and regions research.

Read more

Global governance

We're addressing the political challenges of the modern world, by analysing how insecurity, conflict and political exclusion form in different regions – and what impacts they make.

Read more

Security and Defence

We're exploring how we can reduce the impact of war, encourage peace, improve the lives of citizens around the world & create a safer, more peaceful world. Explore our security and defence research.

Read more