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How to apply

There are five main stages in the application process for PhD candidates:

  1. Check your eligibility and double check the deadlines; information about entry requirements and deadlines can be found below.
  2. Select your topic and find a supervisor. PhD supervision relies on matching your research interests with those of your supervisor; before proceeding to the next stage, you should consult our advice on finding a supervisor. Please note that if you are unable to secure in-principle support from a supervisor before you apply, it is unlikely that we will be able to offer you a place on the PhD programme.
  3. Finalise your research proposal. Once you have identified your supervisor, you should ensure that your full length research proposal meets our requirements.
  4. Prepare your supporting documents, including references. You are strongly advised to contact your referees and provide them with your research proposal ahead of time so that they can make specific comments on your suitability for research in your chosen topic.
  5. Submit your application online and upload your supporting documents, (excluding references; your referees will be invited to submit these separately).

If you have any questions or concerns, please do contact Kay Edsall in the PAIS office (, who will be happy either to answer questions or to put you in touch with an appropriate member of academic staff.

Entry requirements

The PhD programme has strict entry requirements:

  • A strong, viable research proposal and in-principle support from your supervisor(s). When you submit your application, do not forget to include the name of your potential supervisor(s).
  • A Masters-level degree in Politics or a closely related subject; however, applicants with an unrelated Master’s degree and academic experience relevant to their research proposal will be considered. You should include both your undergraduate and postgraduate transcripts with your application materials. Warwick's International Office provides guidelines for how overseas qualifications equate to UK ones; this guidance is for information only and all applications and transcripts are considered on a case-by-case basis. However, this page will give you an idea of where your degree falls on the British scale.
  • Two academic references. If you include your referees' email addresses on your application, they will receive an automatic email asking them to upload the reference, so you do not need to supply the reference letters yourself in the first instance - just supply the relevant contact details. Please note that professional references will not be accepted unless you have been out of education for over two years.
  • English Language Proficiency. If English is not your first language, you must have an IELTS score of 7.0 with no more than two components at 6.5 or 6.0, or other accepted language test. If your previous education was in English, or if you are unsure whether your nationality requires a language certificate, Please consult the English language information webpages and submit an enquiry to the Postgraduate Admissions team with the exact name of the Institution and your dates of study if you believe this very limited exemption applies. Please also note that taking a pre-sessional English course at Warwick or elsewhere is not normally sufficient to replace an IELTS score at the required level.

In addition, you may wish to include your academic CV with your application materials. Once you have submitted your application online, you will receive a link to a secure upload page where you can submit supporting documents such as your transcripts and research proposal.

Once you have identified a supervisor, finalised your research proposal, made contact with your referees, and collected your other supporting documents, you will be ready to submit your application. This is done online through Warwick's Postgraduate Application System.

Application Deadlines

If you are applying for funding you must submit your PhD programme application no later than two weeks (preferably six weeks) before your earliest the funding application deadline.

If you are not applying for funding, ideally, you should aim to submit your application by April to ensure you receive your application results with enough time to organise the logistical aspects of your studies before the start of term. Applications close on 31 May for the study in the autumn.

More information about funding at Warwick and the relevant deadlines can be found on the Fees & funding page.

For further information, please also consult our FAQs which contain the answers to most common questions.