Sociology, Politics and International Studies

Find a programme
Run by Faculty of Social Sciences and Law
Awards available PhD
Programme length Four years full-time;
seven years part-time
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available Yes
Start date Most students will start in September 2018 or January 2019, however other dates can be considered. Please contact the postgraduate student administrator to discuss the options available.

Programme overview

The School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies is an interdisciplinary scholarly environment, producing leading research with an international focus that is relevant to the changing circumstances of an increasingly interconnected world. We offer the following programmes:

  • PhD in Politics
  • PhD in Sociology
  • PhD in East Asian Studies.

We are committed to rigorous conceptual and empirical research that is politically and socially relevant and problem-orientated. We aim to advance theory, knowledge and methods at the interface between sociology, politics and international relations. The questions addressed recognise that political structures are related in complex ways to the social conditions that underlie them; likewise, social conditions are affected in complex ways by political structures. Our aim is not just to monitor the global condition but to contribute to ways that might improve it.

Our research activity is guided by focusing on key themes:

  • Critical security
  • Ethnicity, migration and citizenship
  • Europe and Europeanisation
  • Gender
  • Political and social inequalities
  • Social, cultural and political theory
  • South and east Asia

All researchers across the school identify with one or more of the themes. This enables collective identification over themes within the school and aims to generate further collaboration and interdisciplinarity in our research activities. In addition, the themes provide a basis for internal and external recognition of the main questions and topics that our research addresses.

Fees for 2018/19

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2018/19 are as follows:

UK/EU: full-time
UK/EU: part-time
Overseas: full-time
Channel Islands/Isle of Man: full-time

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.

Alumni scholarship

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a ten per cent reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni scholarship.

Funding for 2018/19

The Faculty of Social Sciences and Law has an allocation of 1+3 and +3 ESRC scholarships. Applicants may also apply for funding from the University of Bristol scholarship fund or alumni PhD scholarship fund.

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent) and a master's qualification (or equivalent).

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level:
Profile E
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Admissions statement

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Admissions statement

Research groups

The school houses three dedicated research centres and networks:


Bristol graduates are in high demand and have an excellent record of employment following graduation. Please visit the school website for statements from our former graduates.

Staff profiles

Dr Will Atkinson, (Reader), Bourdieu; social class in relation to education, family, employment, culture and politics.

Professor Terrell Carver, (Professor), Gender theory; Marx, Engels and Marxism; masculinity and international relations; philosophy of the social sciences; political philosophy; politics of sex and sexuality.

Dr Egle Cesnulyte, (Lecturer), African politics; gender; political economy of development

Dr Katharine Charsley, (Reader), Cross-border marriages; gender, the family and migration

Dr Ryerson Christie, (Senior Lecturer), Cambodian politics; critical security studies; human security; peacebuilding; state-civil society interaction.

Professor Michelle Cini, (Professor), Administrative culture; European competition and state aid policy; European environment policy; institutions and policies of the European Union; organisational and institutional reform in the EU; public service ethics; the European Commission.

Dr Esther Dermott, (Professor), Family life; fatherhood; gender (especially masculinity); intimacy; personal relationships; work.

Dr Alix Dietzel, (Lecturer), Climate change, public engagement with climate change; Cosmopolitan scholarship, in particular those who focus on global justice; global cohabitation problems, including but not limited to climate change; human rights, especially the human right to health; matters of global ethics and fairness at the global level including the relationship between developed and less developed countries.; the global governance of collective action problems, both transnational and multilateral

Dr John Downer, (Lecturer), Disaster studies; epistemology; Sociology of knowledge; technology assessment; ultra-high reliability.

Dr Ana E Juncos Garcia, (Reader), European foreign and security policy.

Dr Tim Edmunds, (Professor), Democratisation; politics and security in the western Balkans and in central Asia; post-conflict transitions; security sector governance reform.

Dr Brad Evans, (Reader), Global problems of insecurity, power and political violence.

Dr Magnus Feldmann, (Lecturer), Comparative and international political economy (especially varieties of capitalism and international trade); comparative politics (especially Central and East European politics and institutional theory).

Dr Adrian Flint, (Senior Lecturer), HIV/AIDS; international political economy; North-South relations; sustainable development; the European Union and the ACP Countries.

Dr Jonathan Floyd, (Lecturer), analytic/continental political theory; contextualism constructivism; experimental ethics; reflective equilibrium and coherentism

Dr Gaston Fornes, (Senior Teaching Fellow), Economic and political integration; foreign direct investments and their impact in the development process; institutions in developing countries; management in developing countries.

Dr Tim Fowler, (Lecturer), Integenerational ethics; political philosophy.

Dr Jon Fox, (Senior Lecturer), Ethnicity; migration; nationalism.

Dr Martin Gainsborough, (Professor), Comparative communist transition; globalisation and the state; political economy of development; politics of corruption; South East Asian politics and international politics, especially Vietnam, Cambodia and Burma.

Dr Jo Haynes, (Senior Lecturer), Education; qualitative research methodologies; race/ethnicity; sociology of music/media.

Professor Jeffrey Henderson, (Professor), Implications for the global political economy of China' s international trade, finance, globalisation, foreign aid programme, human rights and energy security; its impact on global governance; the geo-political implications.

Professor Eric Herring, (Professor), Activism and the politics of scholarship; international security; preventing military abuses of human rights.; the world politics scholarship of Noam Chomsky; world politics.

Dr Saffron Karlsen, (Senior Lecturer), Development and maintenance of different forms of ethnic awareness, quantitative research methods; ethnic inequalities in health; impact of social exclusion on social group definition and health and other life experience; mixed-methods analytical approaches; social inequalities in adult and child health.

Dr Winnie King, (Teaching Fellow), Civil society and social mobilisation; economic co-operation and integration; policy-making processes and East Asia-EU relations; political and economic development in East Asia (Taiwan and China); Taiwan politics; transnational relations and networks.

Dr Lee Marshall, (Reader), Sociology of art and culture; specialising in intellectual property and popular music.

Dr Neil Matthews, (Lecturer), electoral campaigning; N/A; Northern Ireland

Dr Siobhan McAndrew, (Lecturer), Economic sociology; life satisfaction; politics and religion; quantitative history; religion and values; sociology of culture; sociology of religion.

Professor Gregor McLennan, (Professor), Marxism, philosophy of social sciences; politics and ideology; social/sociological theory.

Dr Torsten Michel, (Lecturer), 20th-century continental philosophy and international relations; international political theory; international relations theory; methodology of the social sciences; security studies.

Professor Tariq Modood, (Professor), Anti-racism; British Asian Muslims; interfaithism; multiculturalism and public policy; racial equality.

Dr Michael Naughton, (Reader), Foucauldian theory; human rights; miscarriages of justice; penal policy; social harm; social justice.

Professor Julia O'Connell Davidson, (Professor), Children and childhoods; Immigration detention; Migration; Modern slavery

Dr Therese O'Toole, (Reader), Ethnicity; political action and social movements; political sociology.

Professor Thomas Osborne, (Professor), Historical sociology; history of social sciences and sociology of knowledge; social theories.

Dr Columba Peoples, (Senior Lecturer), Critical security studies; critical theory; missile defence and space security; technology and international relations.

Dr Nieves Perez-Solorzano, (Senior Lecturer), Civil society, interest group and citizen participation; energy markets in the Balkans; EU enlargement; europeanisation.

Dr Maud Perrier, (Senior Lecturer), Feminism; motherhood; parenting; social class; sociology of families.

Dr Mircea Popa, (Lecturer), comparative politics.; Political economy

Professor Judith Squires, (Pro Vice-Chancellor), Democratic theory and citizenship; feminist political theory and politics of gender.

Ms Paula Surridge, (Senior Lecturer), Education; social and political attitudes; social stratification; sociological methodology.

Dr Karen Tucker, (Lecturer), Critical methodologies, including ethnography and discourse analysis; indigenous politics; international organisations and global governance; Latin America; role of NGOs in global politics.

Dr Elspeth Van Veeren, (Lecturer), Critical methodologies including visual and material theories and methods; critical security studies; interpretivism and continental philosophy in politics and international relations; media, culture and war; science and technology studies; security futures; US foreign, military and security policies.

Professor Jutta Weldes, (Professor), Globalisation; international relations theory; popular culture and international relations; social theory; the state, gender and international relations; US foreign policy.

Professor Mark Wickham-Jones, (Professor), Comparative and theoretical political economy and rational choice; labour politics; social democracy.

Dr Andrew Wyatt, (Senior Lecturer), Globalisation and economic reform in India; Indian politics; international political economy of development.

Dr Junko Yamashita, (Senior Lecturer), Care policy; East Asian social policy; family change and social policy; gender and social policy; non-profit organisations and local governance; qualitative research methods.; social inequality in contemporary Japan.

Professor Yongjin Zhang, (Professor), Chinese foreign policy and international relations; international relations in ancient China; international relations of Asia-Pacific; political economy of Chinese global businesses; regionalism and regional security in East Asia; theories of international relations, particularly the English school.

How to apply
Application deadline:

The application deadline is not fixed for self-funded applications.

If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, please check the school website for details of funding opportunities and deadlines. The closing date for ESRC studentship funding applications for 2018/19 is midday on Tuesday 30 January 2018.

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, applying for a visa and the support we offer to international students.

I chose Bristol because of its outstanding academic reputation. It's reassuring to be taught by people who truly love their subject - their passion becomes contagious.


REF 2014 results

Please see full REF 2014 results for the University of Bristol; in particular, the scores for subject areas 21 and 23.

Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.

Bristol Doctoral College

The Bristol Doctoral College facilitates and supports doctoral training and researcher development across the University.

Get in touch

Postgraduate Student Administrator Phone: +44 (0) 117 331 7572 Email:

School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
University of Bristol
11 Priory Road
Bristol BS8 1TU


Important disclaimer information about our programmes.

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