Politics PhD

Why choose this course?

The Department of Politics at the University of Surrey is a thriving space for research and public engagement on a range of political areas. We’re home to roughly a dozen researchers working across politics and international relations.

We have a growing profile as a provider of outstanding practitioner and researcher training. There are frequent opportunities for discussion of ideas, presentation of work, and participation in the events organised within the Faculty and University. These events include research seminars, visits from regular external speakers, and opportunities to meet policy-makers and politicians. PhD students also benefit from a dedicated room for all research students with excellent IT facilities.

The Department has a strong focus on applied politics, and we are globally recognised for our work in European politics and on international intervention. This excellence is reflected in our two research centres: the Centre for Research on the European Matrix (CRonEM) and the Centre for International Intervention (Cii). We have a strong track record of securing funding from research councils and European funders.

Our doctoral programme promotes high-quality research in politics, international relations and policy studies. We encourage and support innovative thinking, and our postgraduate researchers play an important role at the heart of our thriving research environment.

What you will study

We welcome applications from students who would like to conduct research (leading to an MPhil or PhD degree) in any of our areas of expertise.

However, we are also interested in hearing about other areas in which you would like to conduct research, if they are broadly in line with the School’s areas of research.

Research students within the Department are well supported, with training opportunities and regular supervision sessions.

Your supervisor will meet with you regularly for meetings and to provide feedback on your work. using their specialist knowledge of the subject area. They will also guide you on how to access the University’s support services and help prepare you for your post-study career.

You will also attend group sessions with the postgraduate research programme director to discuss your progress and develop your professional skills, as well as Departmental activities relating to research.

Your PhD will be assessed by a viva. If you require development in particular skills or substantive knowledge, then it is possible to enrol in relevant masters modules in Year 1.

Course facts

Qualification Study mode Course length Start date
PhD Full-time 48 months January
PhD Full-time 48 months April
PhD Full-time 48 months July
PhD Full-time 48 months October
PhD Part-time 96 months January
PhD Part-time 96 months April
PhD Part-time 96 months July
PhD Part-time 96 months October
Stag Hill

Additional costs

There are additional costs that you can expect to incur when studying at Surrey. Find out more.

Code of practice for research degrees

Surrey’s postgraduate research code of practice sets out the University's policy and procedural framework relating to research degrees.

The code defines a set of standard procedures and specific responsibilities covering the academic supervision, administration and assessment of research degrees for all faculties within the University.

Download the code of practice for research degrees (PDF).

Our students

  • Maresa Strano, MSc International Relations

    "Surrey is known for its international staff and student population. Such a rich multicultural learning environment makes this programme ideal for someone looking to explore a wide range of perspectives on state, regional, and global politics."

    Read more

  • David Southgate, PhD Politics

    "I now feel more confident and capable of undertaking both research and teaching as a result of the skills I have developed at Surrey."

    Read more


  • Find out how our Doctoral College can support your research career

    Read more

  • Stay up to date with our latest research news

    Read more

  • Explore how our research is making a difference to the world

    Read more

Research themes

  • European politics: democracy, opposition, Euroscepticism, security, defence, populism
  • Gender politics
  • International politics
  • British politics
  • Electoral politics
  • East and South-East Asian politics
  • Ethno-territorial and multi-level politics

Research facilities

PhD students benefit from a dedicated room for all research students with excellent IT facilities.

Entry requirements

Applicants are expected to hold a good Bachelors degree and preferably a Masters degree from a UK university or overseas equivalent in a relevant discipline.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

IELTS Academics: 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6.0 in each individual category.

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.

Selection process

Selection is based on applicants meeting the expected entry requirements, assessment of application, successful interview and suitable references where required.

Students are initially registered for a PhD with probationary status and, subject to satisfactory progress, are subsequently confirmed as having PhD status.


Study mode Start date UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time January £3,146 £12,000
Full-time April £2,100 £8,000
Full-time July £1,050 £4,000
Full-time October To be confirmed £16,000
Part-time January £1,575 £6,000
Part-time April £1,050 £4,000
Part-time July £525 £2,000
Part-time October To be confirmed £8,000

For fees payable in 2018/19, these will increase by 4 per cent, rounded up to the nearest £100 for subsequent years of study. Any start date other than October will attract a pro-rata fee for that year of entry (75 per cent for January, 50 per cent for April and 25 per cent for July).

Overseas students applying for 2018 entry should note that annual fees will rise by 4% rounded up to the nearest £100.

View a complete list of all fees for our research programmes.

Funding and studentships

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Studentship

Supervisor(s) To be confirmed
Application deadline 18 March 2018
Opportunities across all subjects

Contact us

Admissions enquiries

+44 (0)1483 682 222


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