This degree provides an opportunity to conduct advanced political research in an interdisciplinary school. You will study with internationally renowned Politics and International Relations scholars in a dynamic and supportive research environment. Our research activity is guided by focusing on key themes:

  • critical security;
  • conflict, peace and violence
  • gender and sexuality;
  • race, colonialism, postcolonialism, and decolonialism;
  • global knowledge (including expertise, ignorance, and secrecy);
  • the climate crisis and green political theory;
  • political economy;
  • political and social inequalities;
  • popular culture and (global) politics;
  • political and international theory;
  • socio-technical systems and their politics;
  • Europe and European governance;
  • the Americas, politics and sociology;
  • African regional and state politics;
  • South and East Asian regional and state politics.

You will join an international community of students working on a range of politics and international relations issues. Our staff also have particular expertise across a range of cultural and social theory and champion diverse research methodologies. You will be assigned two PhD supervisors whose current research interests and expertise are relevant to your chosen research area.

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 cutting edge of Politics and International Relations. We produce leading research with an international focus that is relevant to the changing circumstances of an increasingly interconnected world. Our aim is not just to monitor the world but to contribute to a better understanding and to ways that might improve it.

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.

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

Go to admissions statement

If English is not your first language, you will need to reach the requirements outlined in our profile level B.

Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Fees and funding

UK: full-time
£4,758 per year
UK: part-time
£2,379 per year
Overseas: full-time
£20,700 per year

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to an 8% increase in fees each year.

More about tuition fees, living costs and financial support.

Alumni discount

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a 25% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni discount.

Funding for 2024/25

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

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

Career prospects

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.

Meet our supervisors

The following list shows potential supervisors for this programme. Visit their profiles for details of their research and expertise.


Research groups

Our research activity in the school is guided by focusing on key themes:

  • climate emergency
  • critical (in)securities
  • cultural work
  • decoloniality and race
  • ethnicity, migration and citizenship
  • European politics and societies
  • digital society
  • science and technology
  • food security
  • gender and sexuality
  • peace, conflict and violence
  • 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.