Politics PhD / MPhil

As a vibrant and international department, our we offer PhD supervision for British Politics, Political Science, International Relations, Comparative Politics, and Political Theory.

Staff expertise specifically covers among others the politics of security and terrorism, gender and sexuality, health, environment, parties and elections, peace and conflict, refugees and migration, international organisations, anti-slavery and human trafficking, anti-colonialism and race, development, rhetoric and communication, media, ethics, populism and nationalism, identity and citizenship, political ideologies, inequality and minorities, secularism and multiculturalism, democratization and sovereignty, public policy and policy learning/transfer, media and public opinion, international political economy, devolution and local government and global governance.

Staff research covers most areas of the globe, ranging from China, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, to Africa, the Caucasus, and Balkans. Closer to home, we also have expertise in local studies focused on Scouse identity, Liverpool, and Merseyside.

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
  • 8th

    in the sector for research impact classified as 'outstanding' (4*) in the latest Research Excellence Framework (2021)

  • 28

    current research staff.

  • 25

    PhD students.


Doctoral Research at the Department of Politics, University of Liverpool

A PhD is an international qualification that proves your ability to make an original contribution to knowledge in a specific area of research. It opens the door to a fulfilling and varied career in Academia, teaching and researching at any university in the UK or internationally. A PhD degree from the University of Liverpool is recognised across the globe and comes with the pedigree of a Russell Group institution, a small group of UK universities that subscribe to extraordinary standards and quality of research.

Staff in the Department of Politics are world-leading experts in their respective research fields and are happy to share and impart their knowledge in the training and mentoring of PhD researchers. Our staff publish in high-impact academic journals, publish and edit books and collections, engage with national and international decision- and policy-makers in national governments and international organisations, and disseminate their views and analysis of current events through national and international media outlets.

Our PhD researchers are mentored to join this international and vibrant world of research, analysis, networking, and knowledge-exchange. Through regular events, workshops, trainings and attendance at conferences, PhD researchers are part of this community and learn to navigate and contribute to its production of knowledge.

Research support

The Department of Politics is a thriving community of 28 academic staff that boasts a wide range of specialisms, which are mapped onto our key research clusters. Each member of staff and each PhD researcher is associated with at least one cluster.

The Department of Politics also hosts a research centres and two research networks, which further support and focus our research. As with the clusters, staff and PhD researchers are encouraged to join and participate.

Facilities and support

All PhD candidates are assigned two supervisors, a primary and a secondary supervisor, who mentor, train, and guide the PhD researcher through regular meetings, reading of draft chapters, and support for endeavours like attending conferences or preparing publications. In their first year, all PhD candidates attend training sessions in methods and research design to ensure they develop the tools needed to successfully undertake their independent research. In addition, Liverpool University offers a wide range of specialised courses and workshops through Engage@Liverpool. An annual progress process ensures that PhD researchers receive the support they need and that their progress is in line with the requirements of passing the Viva Voce final examination, which bestows the degree.

PhD researchers are fully integrated into the research and community life at the Department of Politics. This includes participation in the research clusters, centres, and networks, presenting work at the departmental research seminars and conferences.

PhD researchers have individual office spaces in the School’s PhD Room which also features a kitchen and social space for networking and community activities. This enables Politics PhD researchers to meet and mingle with their peers from History, Archaeology/Classics/Egyptology, Irish Studies and Languages, Cultures, and Film. Each full-time PGR researchers is entitled to an annual bursary to finance research-related expenses and trips.

Study options and fees

The fees below reflect one year of study during the 2024/25 academic year

MPhil / PhD Duration UK students International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,786
  • Faculty of Health and Life Sciences £29,750 (Band A)^
  • Faculty of Science and Engineering* £29,750 (Band A)^ or £23,400 (Band B)
  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences £23,400 (Band B)
Part time 4-6 years £2,393
  • Faculty of Health and Life Sciences £14,900 (Band A)^
  • Faculty of Science and Engineering* £14,900 (Band A)^ or £11,700 (Band B)
  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences £11,700 (Band B)

The fees stated in the table above exclude potential research support fees also known as ‘bench fees’. You will be notified of any fee which may apply in your offer letter.

* Please note that if you are undertaking a PhD within the Faculty of Science and Engineering the fee you pay, Band A or Band B, will reflect the nature of your research project. Some research projects incur a higher fee than others e.g. if you are required to undertake laboratory work. You will be informed of the fee for your programme in your offer letter.

^ Self-funded, full-time international students studying a PhD programme classified as Band A will receive a £2,000 reduction in their fees for the first year only.

Entry requirements

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 an undergraduate degree in the ‘First’ or ‘2:1’ class (or international equivalent) and a postgraduate (MA/MSc) degree (of 65% or higher/international equivalent) in a relevant subject area from a UK or EU/overseas university.

Applications are assessed primarily on the basis of prior and predicted academic achievement and the Department’s ability to assign a suitable supervisor.

You can easily apply online as applications are open all year round. We recommend you follow these three steps first:

If you are considering applying, you are welcome to email your research proposal and university transcripts for an initial enquiry to Dr Gippert.

To complete the full online application, you'll need:

  • Research proposal
  • School or college transcripts/certificates
  • University transcripts
  • Degree certificates
  • English language certificates (International applicants only)
  • Personal statement
  • Two references signed and on letterheaded paper (these should be academic references if you have been in full-time education in the last three years).

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, Integrated 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