Up to four years full-time or seven years part-time.
Regular meetings with your supervisor(s).
The MPhil/PhD in Politics is an opportunity to undertake a major piece of research under the supervision of someone with academic expertise in your field. The department offers supervision for a wide range of research projects, from the study of public policy to social and political theory. On completing your MPhil/PhD you will have developed advanced skills in research and scholarly writing, and will be able to use these to embark on, or further, a career in research. If, like many of our students, you choose to study part-time, you may have the opportunity to apply your developing research skills in your current career.
Current research spans the broad areas of: social and political theory; modern British politics and society; comparative public policy; civil society and the state; gender; public policy; nationalism and ethnicity; religion and politics; international relations, international security and terrorism; European politics; politics of development; theoretical approaches to armed conflict and international politics; and politics and society in Russia, North America and the Middle East.
Why study this course at Birkbeck?
- We provide a supportive and stimulating environment for full- and part-time research students. At any one time, between 25 and 30 research students are registered in the various sub-fields of politics, political science, political and social theory and international relations.
- Find out more about undertaking MPhil/PhD research in the Department of Politics.
- Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.
- In the 2014 REF, Politics at Birkbeck was ranked 17th in the UK.
- Watch videos of our students discussing their experience of studying and researching at Birkbeck.
We welcome a wide range of qualifications, from the UK and abroad, and we will also consider your non-academic achievements.
Good first degree in a relevant subject.
Successful completion of a taught Master's degree.
International entry requirements
If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.
If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.
Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.
Fees and finance
We are committed to doing everything we can to help you finance your studies.
FeesPart-time home/EU students: £ 2226 pa
Full-time home/EU students: £ 4195 pa
Part-time overseas students: £ 6050 pa
Full-time overseas students: £ 11995 pa
Fees and finance
Flexible finance: pay your fees in monthly instalments at no extra cost. Enrol early to spread your costs and reduce your monthly payments.
Fees discounts: If you are a member of a union that is recognised by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), you may apply for a 10% discount off your tuition fees.
Our School attracts funding for studentships that ensure researchers of the highest standard can pursue their research with us. We offer a limited number of fully funded research opportunities, find out more here.
Our Research Culture
Birkbeck is a world-leading research university with a vibrant, interdisciplinary research culture and a welcoming, supportive community of researchers.
Our Research Culture
Study resources include regular graduate research seminars, courses on research methodology and the opportunity to attend a wide variety of taught MSc classes, both within the Department of Politics and in other departments of Birkbeck and the University of London, and to participate in national and international research conferences and seminars. Additionally, we organise regular seminars and conferences and act as a centre for the discussion of public policy and research in this field.
Birkbeck Library has an extensive teaching collection of books and journals in politics and sociology. It also has an impressive range of electronic resources, including bibliographic databases and over 17,000 electronic journals. Most of these resources can be accessed online 24 hours a day. It is worth spending some time on the library website to familiarise yourself with its collections and services.
You can also take advantage of the rich research collections nearby, including those of the Senate House Library, the British Library of Political and Economic Science (LSE Library) and the British Library.
Read more about our vibrant research culture.
Training and teaching opportunities
From the application form and interview we ascertain the level of training you have already received and indicate if the School requires further training to occur. A range of skills training is provided by the department and the College, and you will be directed to appropriate advanced training outside the College.
Some research students have the opportunity to teach for 1 or 2 hours a week on Birkbeck's undergraduate and Master's programmes; where this is the case, they receive close supervision from full-time staff and are required to attend the School part-time teachers' training sessions.
The department encourages students to attend lecturer-training courses provided through the College.
How to apply
Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck.
How to apply
You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application link below.
However, please ensure that you follow the Department of Politics informal pre-application process, detailing your area of research interest, before you submit an online application.
Recent research topics include:
- Kurdish politics in Syria
- Westminster guarded: party nomination processes and women candidates in Canada and Britain
- Impact of user involvement on NHS governance
- Evaluating the impact of interorganisational networks in urban regeneration on unemployment policy outcomes
- The relevance of cosmopolitan democracy as a possible framework for understanding political transformations in East Africa
- Discipline and process: new phases in the rational modernisation of political organisation
- Revolution, myth and the origins of Fascism.
Application deadlines and interviews
You can apply at any time, but start studying in January, April or October.
You must submit a detailed outline of your research proposal, together with a supporting statement as to its importance and originality. You will also be asked to supply examples of your written work. There is a pre-application procedure.
Finding a supervisor
Finding the right supervisor for your research is important: we offer supervision in over 40 subject areas and in interdisciplinary combinations.
Finding a supervisor
A critical factor when applying for postgraduate study in politics is the correlation between the applicant’s intellectual and research interests and those of one or more potential supervisors within the department.
Find out more about the research interests of our academic staff:
- Samantha Ashenden, BA, MPhil, PhD: contemporary social and political theory; feminist theory; governance and theories of the state; legal theory and the sociology of law.
- Edwin Bacon, BA, MSocSc, PhD: Russian politics and the politics of a number of other post-Communist states; democratisation, party-building and domestic security; the relationship between religion and politics.
- Antoine Bousquet, BSc, MSc, PhD: war and society; political violence; international political and social theory; history and philosophy of science and technology, with a particular interest in complexity science.
- Rosie Campbell, BA, MSc, PhD: gender difference or equality; voting behaviour or political participation.
- Alejandro Colás, BSc, MSc, PhD: international relations theory; the international politics of the Maghreb; the historical sociology of the international system, with special attention to the history of empires.
- Professor Diana Coole, BA, MSc, PhD: contemporary political/social theory; critical application of theory to current political or policy issues; critical theory; existentialism and phenomenology; Foucault; theories of agency and embodiment; new social movements; green politics and political demography; theories of democracy and democratisation.
- Dionyssis G Dimitrakopoulos, Ptychio, LicSpec, PhD: politics of European integration (especially theories of integration; the EU policy process; executive politics in the EU; the state and the EU); social democracy; the role of ideas in the policy process; policy change; institutional change.
- Jason Edwards, BA, MSc, PhD: contemporary social and political theory; the history of political thought from the sixteenth century onwards; Marxism; the philosophy of the social sciences.
- Ali Burak Güven, BSc, MSc, PhD: international and comparative political economy; international organisations and global governance; politics of development; institutional theory and analysis; politics of banking and finance; agricultural policy and trade; Turkish politics/political economy; qualitative methods.
- Dermot Hodson, BA, MA, PhD: the political economy of European integration; economic and monetary union; the Stability and Growth Pact; the Lisbon Strategy; new modes of EU governance; the interaction between certain EU and national public policies.
- Professor Eric Kaufmann, BA, MSc, PhD: national identity and ethnic/religious conflict; secularisation and religion; political demography; cosmopolitanism; politics and society in Northern Ireland; North American politics.
- Professor Joni Lovenduski, BSc, MA, PhD: gender and politics in Britain and Europe; British politics; sex equality politics in Britain, Europe and the EU.
- Professor Deborah Mabbett, BCA, DPhil: the politics of reforming public and social policy; the effect on national welfare states of EU and WTO policies; and other aspects of the governance of public policy, including the role of the courts, central/local relationships and transnational policy-making.
- Professor Robert Singh, BA, DPhil: the politics of US foreign policy.
- David Styan, BA, DEA, PhD: international political economy; foreign policy analysis and development issues; French and British foreign policy, particularly towards Africa, the Middle East and development policy.
- Matthijs van den Bos, MA, MA, PhD: post-migrancy and transnational networks; political anthropology/sociology of Iran and its diasporas; Tajikistan; (Twelver) Shiism and its global renaissance; modern Sufism, East and West; European Islam; democratisation in the Middle East; classification theory; new media.
- Ben Worthy BA, MA, PhD: transparency, government openness and open data; political leadership; the information society; E-government and digital democracy; British and comparative politics; public policy and policy-making.
- Barbara Zollner, MA, MPhil, PhD: political Islam; Islamist movements; the Muslim Brotherhood; democratisation and conflict in states of the Near and Middle East; legal discourses on Islam and human rights.
Fees and payment
With government loans for undergraduate and postgraduate study, fantastic financial support packages and flexible payment options, there’s never been a better time to study at Birkbeck.
Evening study explained
Birkbeck is London’s only specialist provider of evening higher education. With classes held 6pm-9pm, your days are free to study, work, volunteer, or just do your own thing.
Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research universities. Discover more about our vibrant, intellectually challenging and exciting research culture.
Birkbeck is committed to doing everything we can to help you finance your studies. Find out about what is available, how to apply and the advice and support we provide.
The Birkbeck experience
Birkbeck is different: our classes are held in the evening, so your days are free - to study, work, volunteer or just do your own thing.
Careers and employability
Our free Careers and Employability Service provides comprehensive careers advice, events and information services for current students, both in person and online, and for recent Birkbeck graduates.
Life at Birkbeck
Birkbeck offers a unique combination of evening study and a matchless central London location, right in the geographic and academic centre of the city, giving you exceptional opportunities.
Birkbeck Graduate Research School (BGRS)
The Birkbeck Graduate Research School (BGRS) offers support, training and a warm welcome to Birkbeck's vibrant community of MPhil/PhD researchers.
How to apply
Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck. We can give you the advice and support you need.
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