Self-funded PhD students (UK and EU only)

Project code



School of Area Studies, History, Politics and Literature

Start dates

October and February

Closing date

Applications accepted all year round

Applications are invited for a self-funded, 3 year full-time or 6 year part-time PhD project, to commence in October or February.

This split-site PhD will be based in the School of Area Studies, History, Politics and Literature at the University of Portsmouth and the Humanities Academy at Halmstad University. It will be supervised by Dr Brigitte Leucht and Professor Wolfram Kaiser (University of Portsmouth), and Dr Sara Svensson (University of Halmstad).

The work will include:

  • On-site supervision at the University of Portsmouth (where you will be based for the bulk of your PhD) and Halmstad University (where you will spend around 8-months);
  • Comprehensive research skills training; participation at postgraduate conferences; and an internship with a UK-based non-state actor;Data collection in both the UK and Scandinavia with a view to:
  • (1). Analyzing how UK non-state actors and their Scandinavian partners assess the impact of Brexit on representing their members’ interests and on influencing national, European and global governance;
  • (2). and Exploring ways in which UK non-state actors and their Scandinavian partners can mobilise resources to facilitate transnational policy learning and transfer in the future.
  • Preparation of at least one journal article for publication alongside the completion of the PhD thesis.

Brexit constitutes a huge rupture for UK politics and poses major challenges for UK non-state actors including political parties, trade unions, business groups and civil society organisations. Until now, these organised societal groups have operated in a European policy-making context with multiple transnational ties with like-minded organisations structured in large measure by the EU as a highly institutionalised site for resources (funding, knowledge, networks) and policy-making. These ties have also fostered other important functions such as the exchange and circulation of policy ideas. Crucially, strong bilateral and regional ties, which many UK non-state actors and Scandinavian partners have traditionally maintained, are embedded in multilateral EU-centred structures and practices. Such ties could now fragment as neither UK nor Scandinavian partners have the same immediate incentives to cooperate.

Against this backdrop, your PhD project will: analyse existing transnational ties of UK non-state actors with their Scandinavian counterparts; examine how formal ties and informal exchange relations are changing under the impact of Brexit; and help affected non-state actors identify how to retain meaningful links and draw on them for input into UK, European and global governance.

You will be fully embedded within the ‘Transnational Civil Society’ strategic research group at the University of Portsmouth, which has an impressive track-record of research, publications, outreach events, impact and PhD completions.

You will also have the opportunity to contribute to the planning of our international conference on 'Global interdisciplinary perspectives on democracy and citizenship' (2021).

Fees and funding

Funding availability: Self-funded PhD students only. 

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

2021/2022 fees (applicable for October 2021 and February 2022 start) 

PhD and MPhil

Home/EU/CI full-time students: £4,407 p/a*

Home/EU/CI part-time students: £2,204 p/a*

International full-time students: ££15,500 p/a

International part-time students: £7,750 p/a 

PhD by Publication 

External candidates: £4,407*

Members of staff: £1,720  

All fees are subject to annual increase. If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2021/22 please visit this page.

*This is the 2020/21 UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) maximum studentship fee; this fee will increase to the 2021/22 UKRI maximum studentship fee when UKRI announces this rate in Spring 2021. 

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.

Entry requirements

You'll need a good first degree from an accredited university (the equivalent of first-class or 2:1 if you are applying from outside the UK) or a Master’s degree in a relevant Social Science discipline or European Studies. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

  • A demonstrated interest in European Union Politics is desirable but not a pre-requisite;
  • Fluency in English and ideally, reading skills in one Scandinavian language.

How to apply

We’d encourage you to contact Dr Brigitte Leucht ( to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, you can go to the ‘Apply Now’ link on our Politics and IR Postgraduate Research Degrees webpage. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV.  Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process. 

When applying please quote project code: SASH4430920

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