What is a PhD?

The purpose of academic research at doctoral level is to make an original contribution to knowledge. This does not mean that everything in the thesis has to be new, but it should show a degree of originality. Originality can be demonstrated by the discovery of new facts, by the refutation of an old theory, by advancing a new theory, or by the combination of two or more existing theories - or by some combination of these.

You advance to doctoral research after your Honours degree, and normally after completing a Masters degree.

You are awarded a PhD after several years of research, culminating in a thesis. It involves serious independent study, although you will be guided by two supervisors.

PhD in Politics

  • Typical length: three years full-time / six years part-time
  • Thesis length: 75,000 words
  • Fees and Funding

What is an MPhil?

Students enrol in the Department as PhD candidates - you cannot apply directly for an MPhil. At a certain stage in your studies, we decide whether you should continue working towards a PhD or enter for a Masters in Philosophy (MPhil). Achieving an MPhil degree demonstrates an excellent knowledge of a field of study or a body of literature, in contrast to the level of originality demanded by a PhD.

MPhil in Politics

  • Two years full-time / four years part-time
  • Dissertation length is 45,000 words
  • Fees and Funding