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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)

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The risk assessment procedure is designed to ensure there is appropriate risk management in place for the activities of students and staff.  The Department works with a broad notion of risk and as such, risk assessments are required for all research outside of Cambridge for more than one day at a time. There may also be research that does not involve travel outside of Cambridge, but may still involve risk and therefore require a risk assessment, for example, participation in internet forums or conducting online interviews. 

The University distinguishes between three levels of risk: low, medium and high.  For further guidance, on what constitutes risk at each level please view the risk rating table.

As indicated in the table, the risk is primarily based on the travel advice given by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).  In order to establish the risk rating to the area you are travelling to, please visit their website for foreign travel advice.  If it is unclear which level of risk applies to your case, please discuss with your supervisor (for students) or the Chair of the ERF Committee - (for staff).

Different levels of risk require different forms to be completed.  Please select the relevant form from the link below:

Travel Risk Assessment Forms | Safeguarding Work Away (

If you are not sure if your research requires a risk assessment, please consult your supervisor (for students) or the Chair of the ERF Committee - (for staff). 

No research should be undertaken unless approval has been granted by the Ethics, Risk and Fieldwork committee.

Risk Assessment Training and Procedure

The training provided in the link below is aimed at students to help them produce a comprehensive risk assessment which will then be reviewed by the ERF Committee.

N.B First year PhD students are required to do this training as part of their programme.  This must be completed prior to the First Year Registration exercise and confirmation of completion must be added to your Student Progress Log.

There is also a guidance document with lots of information and links to also assist in this process.


Please see the relevant deadlines by which to submit your risk assessments to your programme administrators.  Failure to adhere to these deadlines may result in your application not being considered by the committee in time for you to conduct your research.


Students doing dissertation in 2022-23:

  • Wednesday 9th November, 9 am

Students doing dissertation in 2023-24:

  • 19th June 2023
  • 14th October 2023

You can only do your research once you have approval so please consider which deadline would be most appropriate for your schedule


  • MSt in International Relations = 14th October 2022
  • All other MPhil Programmes =  18th November 2022 and 20th January 2023


  • 23rd February 2023
  • 1st June 2023


Can submit at any time and will be considered on a rolling basis.

Masters and PhD students (with the exception of MSt students) who wish to carry out research that requires travel away from Cambridge for more than two weeks at a time, will also have to do a Leave to Work Away application.