Politics PhD / MPhil

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

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).

  • 21

    current research staff.

  • 14

    PhD students.


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.

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 to a number of themes within British Politics, Northern Irish Politics, electoral behaviour and ideologies. From conflict and post-conflict zones, there are theses dealing with identity in post-Yugoslav Herzegovina and internally displaced people in Ukraine, as well as research into the use of private military and security contractors in civil wars.

Our 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.

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.


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

MPhil / PhD Duration Home/EU Students International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,407* (2020) £23,650* ^ (lab based programmes)
£18,000* (non Lab based programmes) (2020).
Part time 4-6 years £2,204* (2020) £11,825* (lab based programmes) £9,000* (non Lab based programmes) (2020)

*This fees 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.

Entry requirements

Applications are welcomed from well qualified graduates who would typically hold a UK first degree or equivalent in the first or 2:1 class, or a 2:2 class degree plus a Masters degree, in a relevant subject.

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 Hannes Baumann - E: Hannes.Baumann@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.

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

You must also have reached a minimum standard of English and be able to provide evidence of this. See our English language requirements for international students.

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.

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