Postgraduate research

The School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies (SPAIS) is an interdisciplinary scholarly environment producing leading research which is international in its focus and relevant to the changing circumstances of our increasingly interconnected world.

Welcome to the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies (SPAIS) – we are delighted you are considering embarking on your postgraduate study with us. You are joining a School that is characterised by its rich interdisciplinary and collegial scholarly environment, and commitment to academic excellence, rigorous, independent research, intellectual diversity, and to providing graduate teaching and supervision of the highest standard to our diverse international student body.

SPAIS is an inherently interdisciplinary scholarly environment that advances theory, knowledge and methods at the interface between the disciplines of sociology, politics and international studies. Our research is often international in its focus and relevant to the changing circumstances of our increasingly interconnected world. We are committed to rigorous conceptual and empirical research that is politically and socially relevant and problem oriented. Our aim is not just to monitor the global condition but to contribute to advancing ways that might improve it, and our research has had far-reaching impact on policymakers, political actors, grass-roots organisations and public audiences locally, nationally and internationally.

Postgraduate study is a key part of this scholarly environment. We have a thriving postgraduate culture, and continually seek to maintain our strong reputation for producing high quality work in our postgraduate taught and research programmes.

SPAIS aims to provide a stimulating study environment, enriched by our research culture, which fosters student choice and self-development. Our research excellence is demonstrated through publications and contributions to international scholarly debates. As a result, our postgraduates are taught and supervised by leading scholars and research-active staff, with whom there are numerous opportunities for discussion, in seminars as well as informally and in the many research seminars, public lectures and reading groups that SPAIS hosts. We strongly encourage our postgraduates to participate in and contribute to these activities, as they enable them to encounter cutting edge research and opportunities to discuss this with authors and scholars from SPAIS and beyond. SPAIS research informs our curriculum in two ways. First, all postgraduate units are designed by our lecturers who share their research expertise in the way they design and deliver the academic content of units. Second, staff who teach you are passionate about their subjects, knowledge production and shaping the academic fields in which they work. The goal of our research-led teaching is to equip you to enter into key contemporary debates as critical analytical thinkers and independent researchers. SPAIS has a very active postgraduate student community who organise and lead events that reflect their shared interests and engagements with our programmes, and this also contributes enormously to the lively, stimulating and collegial scholarly culture in SPAIS.

As a School, we are embarking on a new and exciting phase of development, with ever-increasing intellectual exchange between staff and students in the fields of sociology, politics and international studies. We warmly invite you to join, and contribute to, this vibrant atmosphere of achievement and collectivity.

Professor Therese O’Toole (Head of School)

Staff research interests

Staff research interests are diverse and extend beyond the major research clusters within and the research centres affiliated with the School. If you are interested in perusing the research, teaching and supervisory interests of individual members of staff, please consult the list of staff supervisory interests.

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