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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


PhD in Politics

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The application deadline for this programme is 5 July 2021.
Please note you are STRONGLY advised to make initial contact with a potential supervisor and/or the Director of Admissions well in advance of the stipulated deadlines.

Please note that a non-refundable application fee of £50 is payable at the time of application submission, once a UUN has been issued. Please click here for more information on how to pay the application fee. Please note: Your application will not be processed until we have received your application fee payment. 

Prior to submitting your formal application you may wish to explore whether your proposed research project is one that we could, in principle, supervise.  To do this, either (a) check our staff profiles at and send a brief (2-4 pages) draft research proposal to the staff member whose expertise seems most relevant, copying in the Director of Postgraduate Admissions (address at the foot of this page), or (b) email your draft proposal directly to the Director of Postgraduate Admissions.


We are delighted that you are interested in doctoral research in our programme. We would like to highlight what's special about doctoral education in Politics (and/or)  Interntional Relations, or PIR, at the University of Edinburgh.

Our Staff

The  approximately 60 members of PIR academic staff enjoy international reputations for their research and have won numerous teaching, research and advising awards. Their scholarship covers a diverse range of research areas on Scotland, Europe, and the world, and is published in highly-rated journals and books. The department has a strong tradition of advising, informing and debating policy with key decision-makers at Scottish, UK, European and international levels, and has a notable concentration of political theorists.  Edinburgh Politics & International Relations is one of the leading centres of research excellence in the UK, ranked well into the  top 10 in the 2014 Research Assessment Exercise.  We were one of only three Politics/International Relations Departments in the UK to achieve 100% 4* (the top ranking) for 'research environment'.  Amongst UK universities, we were placed 6th in the 2015 QS World University Ranking.

Our Stimulating Intellectual Community

We have a large, vibrant, diverse, and international community of postgraduate students. We direct active research institutes, including the Europa Institute, the Centre on Constitutional Change, SKAPE, CeSeR and the Just World Institute.  PhD research in Politics & International Relations at Edinburgh is located in the Graduate School of Social & Political Science. The School benefits from the broader University of Edinburgh community of world-class researchers. A flourishing programme of events, seminars, and research groups complements our postgraduate courses and doctoral supervision.

Our Dedication to Students

We are deeply committed to our students at all levels and offer individualized supervision, mentoring, and support at all stages of the doctoral programme. Many post-graduate students work closely with staff on research and themselves publish independent papers. The department warmly welcomes the participation by our post-graduate community in our research, our working groups and centres, and in the daily life of the department. Our students are further supported by a range of courses, workshops, and professional development opportunities sponsored by the Graduate School of Social & Political Science and the Institute for Academic Development.

Contact Us

For further general information about admission procedures and requirements in respect of the PhD programme in Politics and International Relations, please contact the Postgraduate Admissions Team in the Graduate School at 

For enquiries on substantive matters (for example, potential supervisors, the suitability of your proposed research project, etc) please contact the Director of Postgraduate Admissions (Research):

Dr Andrew Neal ( 

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