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For entry onto our PhD programme we require the following:

Qualifications in the field of Social Sciences is preferable but we do take into account other facilitating factors such as relevant experience in lieu of this.


Proposals and Applications

The research proposal is an integral part of your application as it informs us of your research plans and enables us to identify supervisors who have an interest in the proposed area.

The research proposal will be evaluated to determine whether you have the key skills to carry out the work, the academic reasons why you have chosen the School of Government and International Affairs, the clarity of your research questions, and the importance of the topic.

Writing a proposal

Your research proposal of 1,500 to 2,000 words should include a working title of the topic area which conveys the keywords associated with the proposed research.

Plus, a general overview of area, by way of introduction this should take the form of a relatively brief abstract of the general area of study and identify the discipline(s) within which it falls. You might also use this section to provide some context into how your background gives you competences in your chosen area.



Literature and bibliography

Develop your proposal to demonstrate awareness of the debates and issues raised in relevant bodies of literature. References to key articles and texts should be made to show that you appreciate their relevance to your research area. A PhD is an original piece of research and so you should demonstrate that your proposed area has not been studied before. Here you can identify your niche, which will lead on to the thesis preparation. Plus, a shortlist of references to key articles and texts included in the application as your bibliography.


Key questions

In order to demonstrate that the topic can be completed within the normal time period allowed, you need to demonstrate that it is manageable. Therefore, focus on key questions within your niche area.



Demonstrate awareness of the methodological tools available to you and show understanding of which would be suitable for your research. It may be that qualitative methods, including the analysis of interviews and data collection, are appropriate. In other cases, you may be combining methodologies. You need to specify the approach you feel will be most appropriate.



Demonstrate awareness of the need for planning and the timescale of the research.