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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)


Entry Requirements

  • First class honours from UK university, GPA of 3.85/4 from the American system or other international First equivalent.
  • For those whose first language is not English and who have not previously studied for a degree in an English language university, evidence of proficiency in English: an IELTS score of 7.5 (with a minimum of 7.0 in each individual component) or a TOEFL score of 110 (with 25 in each element). 
  • A background in international relations, politics, law, economics, security or history is a definite asset but is not a requirement.
  • Candidates are asked not to contact potential supervisors before application. If you are successful in your application the Department will allocate an appropriate supervisor for you based on your research proposal.

Please Note: This course is very popular and a high volume of applications are received every year. If you have not or are not predicted to achieve these academic requirements it is very unlikely you will be offered a place on the course.  If you do not achieve the required English Language scores you will not be admitted.


Applications are made through the Postgraduate Admissions website. Further information about how to apply can be found on their How do I apply page, and they also have a very comprehensive FAQ page

To apply for this course see the information on the Postgraduate Admissions webpage.

When you have completed the necessary preparation and you are ready to begin your online application, you should take note of the following important information before you create your application.

  1. There is an application charge of (GBP Sterling) £70 per application. You can make the payment by providing your card details when you submit the online application.

  2. Your application is not complete without the required supporting documentation.

Please see our Postgraduate Application Guide for further information on the application process.

Upload Supporting Documentation

Applications will not be considered by the Department until all the documents are uploaded, as Postgraduate Admissions only send them to us once all the documents are present. Incomplete applications will not be considered for funding, even if you apply in time. We do not chase applicants for missing documents. 

Incomplete/inactive applications (i.e. those which have been missing documents for a considerable length of time) will be withdrawn by Postgraduate Admissions, and will therefore never reach the Department. 

Required Documentation

First Academic Reference
Second Academic Reference

Please see this website for information on who to nominate as your referees, and how they submit their references

Personal Reference
This is only required if you are applying for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship.


Please see this website for information on how to upload your transcripts

Evidence of Competence in English if English is not your first language

You do not have to have a language test certificate when you apply. Whilst this is preferable, this can be uploaded during any part of the application process - and if an offer is made, can be included as one of the conditions of admission. You can find the "No Current Language Test Form" on this website.

The same form should also be used when you wish to request a language test waiver - there is an option on the form for this purpose. 

Research Proposal with Title

This should be about 500-800 words, one-two pages, on any area of the syllabus and should indicate some familiarity with the context of the proposal and research methods to be employed.

This proposal should include:

  • A clear, well-thought-out title.
  • Explicit details to the methods of research to be used (e.g archival, discourse-analytical, empirical - whether quantitative, interview, or survey).
  • References to be relevant literature of which you are already aware, or which you expect to be able to consult.
  • Reasons why Cambridge is, in your view, a particularly appropriate research institution within which to carry out this research, including the presence of specific individual scholars with expertise in the field of your proposed dissertation, and whose supervision you would welcome.

Please note: We will search for and allocate appropriate supervisors.

  • Within the application form there is a section which asks you to either provide your reasons for applying for the course or a research proposal. We expect you to use this box to indicate your interest in the course as the research proposal is submitted separately.