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Politics, Languages and International Studies PhD

Most students complete this programme in 4 years full-time

Develop as an independent and competent researcher, and gain a greater understanding of research techniques appropriate to your subject area.

During this course, you will conduct a major piece of independent and original research, following either the traditional or alternative (article-based) thesis route.

This programme is recognised as being part of the following ESRC-funded South West Doctoral Training Partnership (SWDTP) Political Science & International Studies discipline-specific pathway.

Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies

Programme structure

Most students complete this programme in 4 years. You cannot take less than 2 years to finish your research and the maximum time you are allowed is normally 4 years.

You may start this programme at any time. Most students start in September.

Occasionally we make changes to our programmes in response to, for example, feedback from students, developments in research and the field of studies, and the requirements of accrediting bodies. You will be advised of any significant changes to the advertised programme, in accordance with our Terms and Conditions.

Your academic progress and general welfare will be monitored by your supervisor.

Academic milestones

  1. Registration
  2. Taught phase
  3. Candidature
  4. Confirmation
  5. Research
  6. Writing up
  7. Give notice of intention to submit a thesis / portfolio
  8. Submission for examination
  9. Examination (Viva Voce)
  10. Examiners report
  11. Final submission of thesis / portfolio
  12. Graduation

Programme content


  • Doctoral skills online
  • Doctoral skills workshop
  • Research project
  • Supervisory team

Research content

The Doctor of Philosophy Degree provides the opportunity to research a topic in depth and to make a significant contribution to knowledge. You will be required to conduct supervised research at the leading edge of the field and write a substantial thesis.

The PhD programme aims to:

  • provide a framework within which you can conduct an original piece of research relating to your interest
  • facilitate your training and development as an independent and competent researcher, able to understand and use research techniques appropriate to your subject area and to be conversant with approaches used by other social scientists
  • help integrate you within a broader research community in the Department, the University and beyond
  • develop a range of skills that are relevant to academia but also beyond
  • enable you to think through how you can apply your existing knowledge and skills to different contexts and a variety of problems and to your future research activities.

Professional Development

Professional development is a crucial element of doctoral study, not only in supporting your research but also as part of your longer term career development. Our DoctoralSkills workshops and courses will help you build your skills and help you succeed in your doctorate.

Read more about professional development support


Assessment methods

  • Thesis
  • Viva Voce

Assessment description

The final stage of the PhD degree is the oral or viva voce examination, in which students are required to defend the thesis to a Board of Examiners.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

  • First or 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate subject, from a recognised university.
  • When considering applications, we also take the following into account: extended and responsible experience in a relevant field in commerce, or industry, or in teaching, or in a government establishment, together with authorship of papers or other work of an acceptable academic standard, e.g. published translation.

English Language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall with no less than 6.0 in all components
  • The Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic): 62 with no less than 59 in any element
  • TOEFL IBT: 90 overall with a minimum 21 in all 4 components

You will need to get your English language qualification within 24 months prior to starting your course.

If you need to improve your English language skills before starting your studies, you may be able to take a pre-sessional course to reach the required level.


Two references are required. At least one of these should be an academic reference from your most recent place of study.

Fees and funding

Fees and funding information for Politics, Languages and International Studies PhD


Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on whether you are a Home or Overseas student.

Learn how we decide fee status

Tuition fees are liable to increase annually for all University of Bath students. If you aren't paying your fees in British pounds, you should also budget for possible fluctuations in your own currency.

Find out more about student fees

How to pay

Funding options

Find funding for Doctoral research

Payment options

You can pay your tuition fees by Direct Debit, debit card, credit card or bank transfer.

Paying your tuition fees

Application information

Applicant profile

If developing your own proposal (as opposed to applying for a pre-defined research project) the Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies recommend that you develop a draft Research Proposal before contacting the prospective supervisor which will form the basis for discussing your research project.

See our guide about how to apply for doctoral study

Selection process

On the Departmental side, the selection process involves the proposed supervisors as well as the Director of Studies. Before an offer of acceptance can be made, each applicant is required to attend an interview. The interview will be conducted by at least two members of staff- the proposed supervisor(s) and/or the Director of Studies.

Immigration requirements

If you are an international student, you can find out more about the visa requirements for studying in the UK.

For additional support please contact the Student Immigration Service for matters related to student visas and immigration.

Programme enquiries

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