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All students are expected to attend the first-year training module PO961: Doctoral Thesis Writing in Politics and International Studies. Additionally, there is an optional module available for year 2 training within the department, teacher training if you wish to apply to teach undergraduate modules from your second year, and other opportunities provided by the university.


This is a PhD training module, rather than research methods training. The seminars provide a forum in which students can discuss the experience of the research process. Week by week, we will seek collaborative solutions to common problems encountered in PhD research. Discussions with the module leader and your peers will enable you to visualise your PhD as a single, integrated piece of work and talk about it authoritatively in public. You will become more aware of its scope, its parameters and its limits.

Understanding these limits and achieving sufficient clarity and specificity of focus for your doctoral project are very important issues for a successful PhD. Sessions will cover such central issues as specifying your intended contribution to a specialist literature, the mix between theory and empirics in research design, how to integrate primary data collection into doctoral study, recognising the limitations of data gathering techniques, and appreciating what (if anything) can be done about these. Along the way, you will acquire insights and develop your skills in how to hone, narrow and develop your research question; you will come to understand better what a ‘contribution to the literature’ might look like; and you’ll begin to sketch out what yours will be. The weekly sessions will enable you to present your ideas in academic forums with confidence. This will prepare you for successful completion of the compulsory First Year Review and for future public presentations of your doctoral research.

Additional training

Additional research training and personal and professional development are available through the department, the ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership, the Graduate School and the Library, which is home to the Wolfson Research Exchange (a study space uniquely dedicated to research students). You can also sit in on key MA modules by arrangement with your supervisor and relevant module director if appropriate. Warwick provides additional support through the Careers & Skills Office to help you build your CV and enhance your employment prospects well ahead of graduation.