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Graduate Admissions

Teaching

First-year students are expected to attend a mandatory methods and approaches course in their first term, as well as a presentation workshop in Lent term.

One to one supervision

All POLIS PhD students are supervised by a permanent member of academic staff who is an expert in the field. The principal supervisor and the student meet at regular intervals throughout the PhD. Typically, the principal supervisor and student meet fortnightly during the first year and more intermittently afterwards. Supervisions consist of discussions on the student’s topic, their training, their research plans and findings, and comes to involve feedback on drafts of dissertation chapters and a general discussion of the field of research.

Students are also appointed an advisor who can be drawn upon for additional advice.

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

Seminars & classes

POLIS runs a wide array of research seminars, workshops and classes, and these are advertised to PhD students as well as on the Department website.

For first year PhD students, there is a weekly seminar on the methodological and philosophical questions that underpin research in the contemporary social sciences. Alongside this, PhD students choose two further courses to attend from a range of options, such as statistics, qualitative methods and languages.

Lectures

Students are welcome to attend any relevant masters and undergraduate lectures that relate to their research and subject interests.

Feedback

Students will receive regular constructive feedback throughout the course of their PhD.

Students can expect to receive:

  • Regular oral feedback from their principal supervisor, as well as yearly online feedback reports;
  • Written feedback from their advisor and first year assessor after the first year registration exercise
  • Written and oral feedback from their principal supervisor and advisor with each subsequent annual meeting

Assessment

Thesis

The primary purpose of PhD study is the preparation and presentation of a substantial piece of original research in the form of a thesis.  A successful thesis must:

  • represent a significant contribution to learning through the discovery of new knowledge, the connection of previously unrelated facts, the development of a new theory or the revision of older views.
  • take due account of previously published work on the subject.
  • be clearly and concisely written and must not exceed a maximum of 80,000 words (excluding the bibliography).

All students will defend their PhD thesis in a viva voce examination.

Written examination

First year students must complete their first-year registration exercise in order to progress to the status of PhD. They must submit 10,000 words of their research, alongside, if applicable, a 2,000–3,000-word essay relating to one of the core modules taken during the first year. They should also submit a progress log outlining what modules and training have been taken. 

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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:

Michaelmas 2020

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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