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Graduate Admissions

Course closed:

Development Studies is no longer accepting new applications.


Typically, the taught Research Methods course covers the following subjects:

  • Interdisciplinary research in Development Studies
  • Research paradigms and strategies of inquiry
  • Research design
  • Survey design
  • Case studies
  • Questionnaires and interviews
  • Comparative research
  • Participatory and action-based research
  • Mixed methods
  • Online research tools
  • Regression analysis
  • Quantitative and qualitative methods with additional support for learning software packages
One to one supervision

PhD students will work alongside their supervisor which is specified at the application stage. Typically, students will meet with their primary supervisor at least once a term, to review their research, ensure their submission timeline is on track as well as discussing any issues the student may have during the course of their programme. Students will also be assigned a secondary supervisor, to assist in the primary supervisor's absence. 

Students are encouraged to complete a self assessment once a term, via their self service account. Supervisors will also write a report on the progress of their student once a term. 

The University of Cambridge publishes an annual Code of Practice which sets out the University’s expectations regarding supervision.

Seminars & classes

The Centre runs weekly seminars and every 3rd and 7th sessions of the teaching term will be reserved for PhD students' presentations.  All PhD students are expected to present at least once each year over the duration of their course. This is a great opportunity to develop presentation skills and receive valuable feedback from both senior academics and peers relating to their thesis.


The mandatory Research Methods course held during the first year has weekly classes throughout term time . Students are also invited to attend open lectures held in the Centre, the department, as well as across the University. Details of these will be provide via email, or via advertising across the campus.


Students can expect to receive verbal feedback, as well as an online feedback report each term from their primary supervisor. Feedback will also be given on their presentations during the Development Studies seminar series. 



A PhD thesis for the Department of Politics and International Studies must not exceed 80,000 words, and will normally be near that length. The word limit includes appendices but excludes footnotes, references and bibliography. Footnotes should not exceed 20% of the thesis.  For more details, please visit the Graduate Exams Information page. 

PhD vivas (oral examinations) are usually held in the Centre and are conducted by two examiners, one internal and the other external, according to University regulations.

Practical assessment

Two assignments need to be completed as part of the taught Research Methods course conducting in the first year of the programme.

Key Information

3-4 years full-time

Doctor of Philosophy

This course is advertised in multiple departments. Please see the Overview tab for more details.


Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 2, 2019
Application deadline
Jan. 7, 2020
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2020

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 7, 2020
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 9, 2019

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