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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 see the FAQs section of our website. 

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.

 Cambridge hosts some of the world-leading research clusters at the cutting edge of theory, history and practice in Politics and International Studies. POLIS is an exceptional intellectual home for those whose research aspires to inform theoretical debates with rich insights from the field.    

Babak Mohammadzadeh, International Relations of the Middle East

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.

The large majority of applications are reviewed in January, after the deadline for applications that involve funding. All applicants should receive information about the outcome of their application by the end of February. The exceptions are from those who apply for the Gates (US) funding, who are considered in October. Shortlisted applicants are often invited to participate in an interview, usually with a prospective supervisor, and we may be in touch individually via your nominated email address if we seek an interview.