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Research degrees in Politics



The School of Politics and International Relations welcomes postgraduate research students and visiting research fellows to undertake research in the following areas: European Politics, International Politics, and Political Theory (for more details on these research areas see below).

Research students are registered for University of London degrees (MPhil/PhD) and work under the supervision of members of academic staff. The School offers a limited number of generous College and ESRC studentships. The deadline for applications for funded research degrees is 31 January 2017. Applications for non-funded places are taken throughout the year.

See also:

European politics

The School has long-established strengths in regional and country studies (central and eastern Europe, French politics, southern Europe and Iberian politics) and sectoral analysis (media, environment, financial services and welfare). This has led to two distinct research strands on Europe:

  1. multi-level governance and regulation;
  2. representation and identity (including parties, movements and elections). Reflecting the overriding intellectual culture of the School, research outputs on Europe typically combine comparative political science methods with conceptual and research approaches from International Relations, International Political Economy (IPE) and development politics.

The Centre for European Research (CER) was established in September 2011 to develop and support these research strands. The CER functions as both a conventional research centre (hosting seminars, lectures and a visiting speaker programme) as well as a hub for public and private sector consultancy and research. The CER also hosts the journal East European Politics (Taylor and Francis) and the European Journal of Political Research Data Yearbook (co-edited by Dr Rainbow Murray). Recently the CER co-hosted the UACES 46th Annual Conference, a three day event which hosted a multitude of panels and research papers on contemporary European Studies.

Subject areas covered by the CER include: Europeanisation and enlargement; sectoral analysis (welfare, media and communication, environment); public policy; representation and identity; movements, parties and elections (Britain and France); governance and regulation; conflict and (post) conflict regulation; nationalism and cosmopolitanism.

Staff active in the CER:

International politics

The school’s distinctive approach to international politics is based on:

  • Its interdisciplinarity, as reflected in its collaboration with the Schools of Geography and Business and Management at QMUL, specifically with the Centre for the Study of Global Security and Development (CGSD). The CGSD, will relaunch in 2016 as a space for research and dialogue on development and security-related issues.
  • Its critical approach, specifically in relation to a historical sociology of the international, an approach to international political economy rooted in radical political economy, and an approach to international political theory rooted in critical theory. These approaches have led to the development of a distinctive critique of US hegemony and foreign policy rooted in historical sociology, international political theory and radical political economy.
  • Its empirical focus, specifically how the international manifests itself in terms of security and development issues, including a focus on nationalism and ethnic conflict, and which thus embraces a comparative politics of (parts of) the developing world, particularly Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and south-east Asia.

Subject areas covered: conflict and (post) conflict regulation; nationalism and cosmopolitanism; US foreign policy; imperialism; globalisation and global governance; comparative politics of the developing world (especially Africa, the Balkans; Latin America, Middle East, south-east Asia); security; social movements; international political economy; international political theory.

Staff active in the International Politics research group:

Political theory

The School has established strengths in the adjacent fields of the history of modern political thought, and continental political philosophy, in particular through the Centre for the Study of the History of Political Thought. Founded by Professor Jeremy Jennings in 2007, this is one of the leading centres in this area of scholarship within Europe, and collaborates with the School of History. The fruits of this close collaboration include a regular speakers programme showcasing the leading international scholars in this area, and the hosting of major international conferences on, among others, Adam Smith, and the Italian Risorgimento.

Staff working in this area have recently published major studies of: the history of modern French political thought, and the study of particular thinkers, notably Tocqueville; the history of political thinking about universities; the applicability of the political theory of recognition to the cultural denigration of the ‘white working class’; the political philosophy of Habermas; and the relationship between discourses of toleration and identity politics.

The group has close connections with other core research areas in the School (notably the International Politics research group and Public Policy theme in European Politics). Publications bridging political theory and public policy or international politics include: studies of the role of neo-conservative thought in US politics; the role played by ideas of English nationhood in contemporary debates about constitutional policy; and the influence of international uneven development in the formation of political ideas.

The School is also home to the TheoryLAB. Established in 2013, the TheoryLAB explores the points of convergence and connection between different kinds of critical theory within, and beyond, the study of Politics.

Subject areas covered: international political economy; international political theory; the history of modern political thought; continental political philosophy; political ideologies; toleration; the New Left

Staff active in the Political Theory research group:

Entry requirements

Prospective research students are encouraged to visit the web pages of School of Politics and International Relations for further details of how to apply.

International students, please refer to the international students section.

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