Politics PhD / MPhil

Our research covers British Politics, Political Science, Political Communication, Local Government, International Studies, Comparative Politics, Populism, Health and Political Engagement, Security Studies, Gender Studies, and Political Theory. We also have expertise in local studies focused on Scouse identity, Liverpool, and Merseyside more broadly.

Why study with us?

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).

  • 28

    current research staff.

  • 25

    PhD students.


Doctoral Research

A PhD is an international qualification that enables you to make an original contribution to knowledge in a specific area of research interest. This can be defined as the discovery of new knowledge; testing the intellectual rigor of an existing theory or methodological approach in a new area; fusing theoretical approaches; or a combination of each.

To help you ensure your doctoral research meets this criteria of making an original claim we provide high-quality methodological training that allows you to develop your research skills during the course of your study. Your supervisor will provide guidance on this process.

Our current doctoral candidates are researching British Politics, British political ideologies, electoral behaviour, conflict and post-conflict studies, and international studies.

Why Come to Liverpool?

Our researchers in the Department of Politics are world-leading experts in their respective research fields.

They regularly publish in high-impact academic journals, books, edited collections as well as engage with national and international media outlets. Scholars also regularly interact with politicians through providing advice for legislation in the House of Commons as well as quaisi-judicial bodies and international organisations. We are also active in the Political Studies Association, the PSA Early Careers Network, Royal Historical Society, and BISA.

Our research covers Parliamentary studies, voting behavior, British political ideologies, local government, Northern Ireland studies, race, LGBTQ studies, international relations, political theory, political language, health and political engagement, democratization, European studies, human trafficking, the legacy of slavery and contemporary forced labour.

Research themes

The Department of Politics is a thriving community of 28 academic and research staff that boasts a wide range of specialisms which are mapped onto our key research clusters. These are:

Government, Parties and Elections.

Peace and Conflict.

Human Rights and Social Justice.

Governance, Policy, and Civil Society.


We also are the host of noteworthy research centres and networks, including:

Europe and the World Centre.

The Network for the Interface of Classics and Politics.

The Antislavery Knowledge Network.


Thematic Areas of Supervision

We have four key areas of research expertise in the Department. These are:

British Politics

Comparative Politics

International Relations

Political Theory


Within these areas are sub-divisions, which include:




Devolution in the UK

Electoral Studies

Global Governance and Institutions


LGBTQ Studies

Local Government

International Organisations

Media and Politics

Mental Health

Nationalism and Identity

Northern Irish Politics and Political History

Middle Eastern Politics


Political Economy


Public Policy


Refugees and Human Rights

Rhetoric and Oratorical Theory

Security Studies


Transgender Studies

Applicants are advised to review staff profile pages to find more details of research interests.


We pride ourselves on integrating our postgraduate students within our supportive research environment. Our students 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. The Department of Politics also hosts a research active ‘Network for the Interface of Classics and Politics’ and a ‘Europe and the World Centre’ which encourages our students to participate in its many activities and international conferences.

Study options and fees

MPhil / PhD Duration UK students International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,500* (2021) £24,250* ^ (lab based programmes)
£18,450* (non Lab based programmes) (2021)
Part time 4-6 years £2,250* (2021) £12,125* (lab based programmes)
£9,225* (non Lab based programmes) (2021)

* This excludes potential research support fees also known as ‘bench fees. You will be notified of any fee which may apply in your offer letter.

^ Self funded full time international students studying a lab based programme will receive a £2,000 reduction in their fees for the first year only.

If an EU student starts their studies in 2020-21, before 1 August 2021, they will have a fee classification of EU and pay UK fee rates for the duration of this registration. The exception being ROI students, who will continue to be charged fees at the UK fee rate, post 1 August 2021.

Entry requirements

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 Departmental Director for Postgraduate Research of the Department of Politics. Dr Andrew Roe-Crines - E: a.s.crines@liverpool.ac.uk. This will then be circulated to potential supervisors.

Applications are welcome from suitably qualified candidates who wish to undertake research leading to a PhD in Politics on either a full- or part-time basis. We ordinarily expect candidates for entry to our PhD programme to hold a first degree in the First or 2:1 class and a Master’s degree (preferably pass of 65% or higher) in a relevant subject area from a UK university, or EU/overseas qualifications of an equivalent standard.

English language requirements

IELTS Academic requirement - SELT and non-SELT Overall 6.5 no band below 6.0
TOEFL iBT requirement Minimum 88 overall with L 19 W 19 R 19 and S 20
C1 Advanced CAE requirement Overall 176 with no less than 169 in any paper
Trinity College London, Intergrated Skills in English (ISE II)ISE II with an overall pass with merit in components
Cambridge IGCSE as a First LanguageGrade C
Cambridge IGCSE as a Second LanguageGrade B
Cambridge English Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (Proficiency)Overall 176 with 169 in components
Cambridge English Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (Advanced)Overall 176 with 169 in components
Cambridge English Level 2 Certificate in ESOL International (Advanced)Overall 176 with 169 in components

How to apply

Research degree applications can be made online.  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

Before you apply, we recommend that you identify a supervisor and develop a research proposal

Related studentships: self-funded and funded PhD projects

Find a scholarship

We offer a range of scholarships to help you meet the costs of studying a research degree.

See scholarships