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PhD in Politics and International Studies

Welcome to the pages for prospective PhD applicants in POLIS.

The PhD programme here offers the opportunity for detailed research on a specific topic, within the broad field of Politics and International Studies, fostered under the supervision of leading experts. The pages here give you further information about the PhD programme, how to apply, and information on obtaining funding for the PhD. If you have questions that are not covered in the material here, please feel free to contact our PhD administrator on enquiries@polis.cam.ac.uk 

The range of topics for which we take PhD students is broad, but is dependent on our ability to appoint a suitable supervisor. A list of POLIS academics with their research profiles can be found here.

The PhD programme enables you, first and foremost, to develop your detailed knowledge of one specific field of knowledge, and through your original research to contribute to this field. But it also gives you training in a broad variety of academic skills, engagement through seminars with scholars and practitioners working in a wide variety of other fields, opportunities to be involved in lecturing and teaching, and preparation for the job market.

Many of our PhD students also engage through the university in training in learning new languages or developing existing non-native language skills; presenting their work to non-academic audiences such as policy-makers, NGOs or commercial organisations; and writing for and editing POLIS’s series of publications.

What our students say

Tobias Mueller

PhD topic: Localising secular power. The government of Muslim life worlds in diverse urban neighbourhoods in the Germany and the UK.

"The PhD program in Politics and IR at Cambridge has provided me with the possibility to successfully conduct a truly interdisciplinary research project. In particular the opportunity to win grants for field research, reading groups and international workshops has proven very useful for shaping my intellectual development. Moreover, the large number of research centres such as the Cambridge Institute on Religion and International Studies (CIRIS), and the regional institutes provide unique platforms for high level academic engagement."

Marietta van der Tol

PhD topic: Tolerance and visibility of deviant religion in the public domain. 

"POLIS offers a tremendous environment for genuine interdisciplinary
research and creates an open and friendly atmosphere for students,
scholars, and staff. The international character of the research done in
the department is reflected in the many nationalities present, which
greatly enriches the conversations inside and outside the classroom."