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PhD Programme

Are you interested in topics such as democratisation, international promotion of democracy, protection of political rights and civil liberties, regime change, explaining transitions to democracy, authoritarian rule, development aid and conditionality, civil society, divided societies and political (in)stability? Do you want to do research and write a PhD dissertation on these topics, or other issues related to the work by members of CSD? Please do not hesitate to apply for a research degree at PAIS/ CSD! CSD welcomes applications from motivated and highly qualified candidates to conduct research in democratisation leading to the degrees of MPhil and PhD.

CSD is based at the Department of Politics and International Studies which has a thriving postgraduate research community, with students researching a wide range of topics in politics and international studies. On average, 11 students graduate with PhDs from the department every year and many of them now hold academic posts across the world. In addition to taking an active part in the daily life of the department, PhD students who are working on democratisation can be involved in activities of CSD. Till now, PhD projects which are related to CSD interests have focused on a wide range of topics, such as building democracy in post-conflict societies, the role of public opinion, policies of the World Bank, civil society, institutional reform, consociational theory and the impact of the media on democratisation processes. PhD projects have focused on countries such as Indonesia, South Africa, China, Argentina, Uganda, Cambodia, El Salvador, Lebanon etc.

All students registered for research degrees follow an extensive training course in their first year of study. The core component of the training course, Explanation and Methodology in PAIS, covers a range of methodological and practical issues of direct relevance to the research process. It is supplemented by modules on the philosophy of social science and specialist options tailored to student requirements. Research training may be continued in a less formal way in the second year of study.The normal registration period for a PhD is three years full-time. MPhil candidates are normally registered for two years full-time study.

If you are thinking of applying to read for a PhD with us, the first step is to ensure that we have members of staff who share your research interests. So if you have not already identified a prospective supervisor, go to the people page to find out who is doing what at CSD. You can submit your application using the on-line application form but make sure you read the notes of guidance first. If you have any queries about how to use the on-line application system, please contact a member of the University's Postgraduate Admissions Team, by telephone on 44(0)24 7652 4585, or by e-mail at If you prefer to apply using the traditional paper based method, then please email the Graduate Secretary requesting an application pack, or write to The Graduate Secretary, PAIS, University of Warwick, CV4 7AL, UK.

Whichever method you use, your application will not be considered until we have received

  • A detailed research proposal. Please do not confine yourself to the space available on the application form - extra pages are not only acceptable but preferable
  • Two academic references
  • Your academic transcript
  • For non-native English speakers, a certifcate of English Language Proficiency

We also invite applications for ESRC 1+3 scholarships to fund the study of the MA in Politics followed by three years of doctoral research (candidates who already have an ESRC recognised research training masters will be considered for a +3 only). Please note that these scholarships are only open to students from the EU. For further details on eligibility, please consult the ESRC website or ask our Director of Research Degrees, via