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Graduate Admissions

Course closed:

Politics and International Studies is no longer accepting new applications.

The first year of the PhD is spent in Cambridge, with two major activities: firstly, developing a research topic, with the guidance of a supervisor; and secondly, on training in research methods. The development of the topic often involves extensive reading into relevant literatures, discovery of relevant information sources (such as archives or databases), and formulating plans for primary research, such as through making plans for fieldwork. This is done in combination with your primary supervisor. The first year culminates in the production of a report, which serves as the basis for the registration exercise at the end of the year. This registration exercise is required to move on to official registration for the PhD degree, and is conducted through a meeting with your second supervisor and an independent assessor. Its purpose is to ensure that your research project is viable, that an appropriate methodology is being applied and that relevant literatures are being drawn upon.

The second major focus of the first year is research training. There is a weekly seminar on the methodological and philosophical questions that underpin research in the contemporary social sciences which all first-year PhD students attend. Alongside this, PhD students choose two further courses to attend from a range of options, such as statistics, qualitative methods and languages.

The content of the second and third years varies considerably depending on the type of research being conducted. Many students spend a considerable portion of the second year of their PhD out of Cambridge on fieldwork, while others are resident throughout. To assist you in the development of your research, we schedule an annual meeting with your primary and secondary supervisor, for which you produce a report for discussion

Learning Outcomes

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.


Continuing

MPhil applicants will need to achieve the required mark of distinction on their current programme. An early transcript revealing their current progress is not mandatory, but helpful. Should the committee extend an offer, this would be on condition of meeting the academic requirements. Should the condition not be met at the end of the MPhil programme, the offer will be withdrawn. 

Key Information


3 years full-time

5 years part-time

Doctor of Philosophy

Department of Politics and International Studies

Enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 3, 2018
Application deadline
Jan. 3, 2019
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2019

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

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 3, 2019
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 10, 2018

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