School of Politics and International Relations

Choosing a Project and Supervisor

PhDs in the School of Politics and International Relations fall into two categories:

  1. projects initiated and developed by the applicant, in consultation with a supervisor in the School
  2. projects on a specific topic chosen by the School (these often have funding attached

1) Self-initiated projects: this could be on any topic within politics and/or international relations, broadly defined. However, please note that we can only provide supervision on subject areas in which we have specific expertise. Therefore, you should carefully consider whether your project fits with the research interests of the School. The School’s research interests fall broadly into the areas indicated below. Individual staff profiles can be accessed by clicking on the names under each heading and on the School staff pages:

European Politics

Staff active in the European Politics research group: Professor Tim Bale; Dr Paul Copeland; Professor Philip Cowley; Dr Patrick Diamond; Prof Adam Fagan; Prof Rainbow Murray; Dr Brendan O’Duffy; Dr Javier Sajuria; Dr James Strong; Dr Stijn van Kessel; Dr Sarah Wolff.

International Relations

Staff active in the International Relations research group: Dr Peter Brett; Dr Jean-Francois Drolet; Prof James Dunkerley; Dr James Eastwood; Dr Clive Gabay; Dr Sophie Harman; Prof Kimberly Hutchings; Prof Jef Huysmans; Dr Lee Jones; Prof Ray Kiely; Dr Bryan Mabee; Dr Nivi Manchanda; Dr Christopher Phillips; Dr Richard Saull; Dr Robbie Shilliam; Dr James Strong; Dr Jeffery Webber; Dr David Williams.

Political Theory

Staff active in the Political Theory research group: Dr Madeleine Davis; ; Dr Joe Hoover; ; Prof Engin Isin; Dr Daniel Kato; Dr Lasse Thomassen; Dr Caroline Williams; .

Once you have identified a potential supervisor, you should make contact via email to establish whether your research is something they can supervise. When contacting a potential supervisor, please ensure you include:

  • A short-version research proposal. The short-version research proposal sets out what you intend to do during your degree and establishes your research in relation to other work in the field. The proposal should be maximum 1,000 words long and include an indicative bibliography (not included in the word count).
  • Your CV.

More information about the structure of your research proposal can be found in the ‘How to draft a research proposal’ section below.

If the supervisor is able to take your project on and is happy with your proposal they will encourage you to make a formal application (please note that this recognition from a supervisor does not guarantee that your application will be successful) including a full-length research proposal between 2,000 and 3,000 words long.

2) Specific projects: from time to time, we advertise places for PhDs on a specific topic. These usually have funding attached and are sometimes connected to larger research projects being undertaken in the School by one or more members of staff. Funding can come from a number of sources, but is normally from one of the UK Research Councils or through Queen Mary’s own Principal’s Studentships scheme. Funding usually covers tuition fees and provides a generous living allowance for up to three years. When applying for these places, applicants are asked to create a research proposal based on a project or topic description, and to contact the member of members of staff named in the project description.

Details of specific projects currently available in the School are here. Funded places are also advertised nationally.