MPhil / PhD

Our research covers the broad areas, British politics, International relations, Comparative politics and Security Studies.

Our staff shape policy and inform citizens globally

Researchers from the department are delivering impact from their research outputs by chairing government bodies and providing evidence for legislature, advising on policy formulation, as well as giving oral and written evidence to quasi-judicial bodies.

The Department of Politics provides researchers with a supportive academic environment. Students are given the opportunity not only to develop their research but also the particular skills they need. Supervision is organised very well with supervisors always available and ready to help.

Mate Subašić - Politics PhD Student
  • 70%

    of our research was graded ‘Internationally Excellent’ or ‘Internationally Recognised’ in the REF (2014).

  • 21

    current research staff.

  • 14

    PhD students.

Research at Liverpool

Staff in the Department of Politics generate high-quality research which is relevant to communities across the world. Research carried out within the department spans a variety of specialisms, from British and Northern Irish politics to International Policy Transfer and Democratisation in post-communist Europe to Human trafficking and forced labour.

Our current students are working on an exciting variety of projects. These range from human trafficking (Alex Woods and Glyn Rankin) to a number of themes within British and Northern Irish Politics, electoral behaviour and ideologies (Andrew Mc Caldon, Sean Haughey, Harry Taylor, Steven Daniels, Peter Anderson and Kieran Garrard). From conflict and post-conflict zones, there are theses dealing with identity in post-Yugoslav Herzegovina (Mate Subasic) and internally displaced people in Ukraine (Asmar Yusifova), as well as research into the use of private military and security contractors in civil wars (Vanessa Gottwick and Charlotte Penel).

Research themes

Our research themes are:

  • American Politics
  • British Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • European Politics and Europeanisation
  • Electoral Studies
  • Ideologies
  • International Relations
  • International Organisations
  • Immigration politics
  • Media and politics
  • Nationalism and Ethnicity
  • Irish Politics
  • Political Theory
  • Politics of Eastern and Central Europe
  • Politics of the Middle East
  • Public Opinion
  • Public Policy
  • Post-Soviet politics
  • Security Politics
  • Politics of the Middle East.

Research interests

We particularly welcome research proposals that match those of our researchers. These include:

  • British and EU security relations 
  • British politics and ideologies
  • Comparative politics; counter-terrorism, organised crime, international anti-crime agreements
  • Comparative public opinion, voting behaviour, political parties and quantitative research
  • Contemporary liberal and republican thought
  • Ethnicity, nations, nationalism and identity: Eastern and Central Europe, the Balkans, post-Soviet space and the Middle East
  • European Union politics
  • Global governance; international peace building (the Balkans)
  • International Organisations and International law
  • Inequality, conflict and democracy in world politics
  • Multiculturalism, Secularism
  • Norm change, private military and security contractors in civil wars and market(s) for force
  • Politics of immigration and forced labour
  • Politics of Northern Ireland and devolution in the UK
  • Post-Soviet political reforms; Non-state actors and welfare reform in the "Global East"
  • Public policy and policy transfer
  • Press, television, public opinion in the UK
  • Political theory, marginalised voices, aesthetics and international relations, identity
  • Political rhetoric and oratory
  • Political economy of development.


We pride ourselves on integrating our postgraduate students within our supportive research environment. Our student present their work-in progress at various stages of completion in informal monthly staff-student research seminars. In addition to excellent library facilities and opportunities for interdisciplinary inputs into research degrees, the Faculty and School run research methods training programmes. We also offer access to computerised databases on specialist areas of interest: advanced training in IT and data-mining skills. Department of Politics hosts a research active ‘Europe and the World Centre’ which encourages our students to participate in its many activities and international conferences.

Study options and fees


The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) can be thought of as a shorter version of the PhD. It requires the same research skills, training, planning, and project management. It can be a way to assess whether you wish to undertake doctoral research - or it can be taken for its own sake.

Duration Fees: Home and EU Students Fees: International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,260 £19,850 (Lab based programmes) £16,150 (Non Lab based programmes)
Part time 4-6 years £2,130 £9,925 (Lab based programmes) £8,075 (Non Lab based programmes)

A doctoral degree is awarded to students that have demonstrated the ability to conceptualise, design, and implement a substantial research project that results in new knowledge, applications, or understanding in their field of study. During your research, you can expect to draw on direct clinical and observational experience to produce an original thesis of 80,000-100,000 words. You'll be part of a research group which matches your research interests. Research groups offer opportunities for cross-disciplinary research collaboration, as well as support and expertise for your research.

Duration Fees: Home and EU Students Fees: International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,260 £19,850 (Lab based programmes) £16,150 (Non Lab based programmes)
Part time 4-6 years £2,130 £9,925 (Lab based programmes) £8,075 (Non Lab based programmes)

The Doctor of Medicine (MD) is a doctoral degree open to medical practitioners (technically, anyone holding a medical qualification registrable with the General Medical Council). It is equivalent in requirements and format to the PhD.

Duration Fees: Home and EU Students Fees: International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,260 £19,850 (Lab based programmes) £16,150 (Non Lab based programmes)
Part time 2-6 years £2,130 £9,925 (Lab based programmes) £8,075 (Non Lab based programmes)

Entry requirements

Eligibility and entry qualifications

Students considering registering for a research degree (Masters by Research, MPhil/PhD) are asked to produce a 1,000 word research proposal and send it to our Director of Postgraduate Research, Professor Erika Harris - E: e.harris@liverpool.ac.uk. This will then be circulated to potential supervisors.

At the same time, students should submit their application online, ensuring that they include all required documentation. Candidates wishing to be considered for registration onto one of our higher degrees should possess a good Honours degree (2:1 or equivalent).

English language requirements

To apply for this research degree, you must have reached a minimum standard of English. You need to be able to provide evidence of this.  See our English language requirements for international students for guidance on the different English language qualifications and evidence that you can provide. 

International qualifications

We welcome applications from within the EU and from around the world. You should ensure that your qualifications are equivalent to those which are required to study for this research degree.  See our guidance on international qualifications.

Additional requirements

How to apply

Research degree applications can be made online.  Before you apply, we recommend that you identify a supervisor and develop a research proposal.  You'll also need to ensure that you have funding to cover all fees.

Applications are open all year round.

More about applying for research degrees

Apply online

Find a supervisor

Your supervisor is your main source of academic support and mentoring. You'll need to find a supervisor before you start your research degree. It's helpful to identify a supervisor and discuss your research proposal before you apply.

View supervisors in this area

Need help finding a supervisor? Contact us

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Your training and development

Join us and you'll also join the Liverpool Doctoral College, our home for doctoral support, training and development. You'll join a vibrant and collaborative community of researchers, get tailored support for your development and have the opportunity to undertake a work placement.

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