School of Social and Political Science

PhD Social and Political Science

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The deadline to apply for September 2024 entry is Monday 1 July 2024.

On this PhD programme you will carry out independent research, resulting in an original contribution to knowledge in your chosen area.  

Our expertise and interests range across the following subject areas:   

  • African studies  
  • global health policy  
  • international development  
  • medical anthropology  
  • politics and international relations  
  • social and public policy  
  • social anthropology  
  • social work  
  • sociology  
  • socio-cultural studies  
  • South Asian studies 
  • sustainable development
Programme overview


On our PhD programme, you will be able to choose from a range of courses that provide research training in social science methods, including qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods.  

You can also take courses addressing aspects such as research ethics and positionality, as well as substantive taught courses in the School of Social and Political Science as relevant for your thesis. 

The given period of study for a full-time PhD is three years, and your thesis will be submitted towards the end of your third year. 


As a Social and Political Science PhD student, you will learn to design and generate original research. You will gain knowledge of principal research methods, and practice in ways that are reflective, self-critical and based on research and evidence. 

You will have access to a suite of professional development courses and workshops offered by the University’s Institute for Academic Development and the School’s Student Development Office. 

You will also be part of the  Scottish Graduate School of Social Science, meaning you can participate in all its offered courses, events, and initiatives such as internships. 

Supervisors and topics

Your application must clearly state the potential supervisor you have contacted.  

While you are studying on the PhD programme, you will be under the supervision of at least two members of academic staff. 

Graduate attributes

On completion of this PhD, you will have gained many graduate attributes that are highly regarded in the field of social and political science.

Among other things, you will be able to: 

  • demonstrate substantial authority and exercise a high level of autonomy and initiative in academic and equivalent activities  
  • manage complex ethical and professional issues  
  • display critical, detailed and leading knowledge and understanding of literature at the forefront of the specialist research area  
  • use critical judgement in both your own work and the work of other scholars in the field  
  • communicate to a range of audiences through your published academic work 

Applying for this PhD

  1. Identify potential supervisors suited to your research interests
  2. Write a draft research proposal
  3. Contact the Postgraduate Advisor with your research proposal and list of potential supervisors
  4. Once discussed with the Postgraduate Advisor, formally submit your application on EUCLID

Postgraduate Advisor

Programme advisor: Director of PGR