Politics MPhil; PhD

MPhil: minimum 12 months full time; minimum 24 months part time
PhD: minimum 36 months full time; minimum 72 months part time


Fees per academic year 2014-15

UK and EU: full time £4,320 part time £2,160
International: full time £11,380 part time fees

More information is available about tuition fees and discounts.

Research Areas

We conduct research and offer PhD and MPhil supervision in all major fields of politics, including: international and global politics; governance and political organisations; and political theory. We have particular strengths in:

  • the politics of difference
  • popular culture and political communication
  • political participation and elections
  • political ideologies and political thought
  • global economic and environmental challenges
  • democracy, the modern state and political organisations
  • political economy of development
  • critical geopolitics and security
  • theory of international relations
  • governance in Britain and the wider Europe
  • global justice and human rights
  • political research and methods

Further details of our research areas are provided below and information about staff specialisms are available from the School's website.

The politics of difference
We examine the issues thrown up by the social and political differences of humanity from a variety of perspectives including analytical and continental political philosophy, comparative politics and international politics, and postcolonialism. Our work includes research on: multiculturalism and issues of identity; inequality and social justice; disability; competing discourses of national identity; ethnic-nationalism; political violence; socio-political exclusion and discrimination; global norms and cultural difference; free speech; toleration and recognition (Dr M Barr, Professor H Behr, Dr M Coward, V Feklyunina, Dr K Grayson, Professor P Jones, Dr G Long, Dr I O’Flynn, Dr S Philpott, Dr N Randall).

Popular culture and political communication
Our research in this exciting new area of politics addresses various key issues including: representation; aesthetics; identity; cultural political economy; memory and control. It also assesses the processes and depiction of political struggles such as armed conflict, everyday life, political organising and identity formation, and elections (Dr J Babb, Dr M Barr, Dr M Coward, Dr M Davies, Dr V Feklyunina, Dr K Grayson Dr S Philpott, Dr N Randall).

Political participation and elections
Our research examines the differing forms of political participation that link society to the political systems of the world, both in terms of the formal electoral process and non-electoral politics (social movements, protest groups etc). We investigate citizen involvement and (dis)engagement, social capital, non-participation, and the role of civil society.  Our research on the emergency of virtual political participation means that some of our work intersects creatively with the popular culture and political communication. (Dr E Clough, Mr P Daniels, Professor W Maloney, Dr I O’Flynn, Dr N Randall).

Political ideologies and political thought
We focus on the history of political thought as well as how these ideas have been embedded into programmes for political action. The range of political thought incorporates both historical and contemporary political thought prominent in the Western tradition as well as Asian philosophy and post-colonial thought. This theme contains a strong interdisciplinary dynamic as it serves as a bridge between empirical political science and political theory (Professor H Behr, Dr D Bell, Dr M Davies, Dr K Grayson, Professor P Jones, Dr G Long, Dr I O’Flynn, Dr S Philpott, Dr N Randall).

Global economic and environmental challenges
We study the importance of political ideas such as sustainable development and globalisation, as well as the struggle to define the core problems that society faces. Both sets of challenges pose questions to the nature and reform of global governance as well as generate tensions between the state and transnationalising forces in global politics and political economy. Some of our work has already provided cutting-edge findings on the implications for global justice, the policy challenge for governments and non-governmental actors, and the empowerment of various actors (Dr D Bell, Mr P Daniels, Professor B Gills, Dr G Long, Dr A Zito).

Democracy, the modern state and political organisations
Our work examines the role of interest groups, social movements, political parties, third-sector actors and charities, community organisations and postcolonial nationalism in relation to the modern state. Our scholarship also engages heavily in the interpretation of democracy (including democratic rights and the foundations of democracy) drawing from both ancient and modern political thought. It interrogates the forms democracy takes including elite theories of democracy, deliberative democracy, cosmopolitan democracy, and democracy in divided societies (Dr J Babb, Dr D Bell, Dr T Brooks, Dr E Clough, Dr R David, Professor P Jones, Dr G Long, Professor W Maloney, Dr J Mawdsley, Dr I O’Flynn Dr S Philpott, Dr N Randall).

Political economy of development
Our research focuses on the interaction of economic forces and principles with political power in the development of societal economics and welfare, as well as on theories of development and post-development. We cover a range of geographic areas in Africa, the Americas, Europe and Asia. We explore questions such as the impact of the ongoing financial and economic crisis, the role of communities and individuals in the face of global political economic forces, and the impact of the emerging economies (for example Brazil and China) on the global political economy (Professor B Gills, Dr M Davies).

Critical geopolitics and security
This research grouping focuses on thinking critically about the political dynamics, consequences and discourses of historical and contemporary geopolitics. Research covers both historical and contemporary questions of security including: the territorialisation/de-territorialisation of identity and political agency; political cartography; the role of fear and identity in shaping geopolitics; sovereignty and nationalism; the role and impact of the military; notions of terrorism and the war on terror; the geographies of international boundaries; the war on the trade in illegal substances; the city and security; the threat of biological weapons and infectious disease; the vertical dimension in geopolitical and security studies; visual culture and world politics; technologies and architectures of security and insecurity; and the human body and security (Dr M Barr, Professor H Behr, Dr M Coward, Dr K Grayson, Dr J Mawdsley, Dr S Philpott).

Theory of international relations
We engage actively and critically in the global debate on the units, actors and structures that shape the dynamics of international politics, and the political consequences of the constitution of the international as a distinct kind of relation. We examine such concepts as the world system, international diplomacy, networks, notions of empire, regional integration, non-governmental actors and the (nation) state (Dr M Barr, Professor H Behr, Dr M Coward, Dr M Davies, V Feklyunina, Professor B Gills, Dr K Grayson, Dr S Philpott, Dr A Zito).

Governance in Britain and the wider Europe
Our research investigates the dynamics driving the public policy-making process at national, EU and international levels and the challenges multi-level governance offers for concerns about legitimacy and accountability. Some of this effort focuses on the changing relationship between the governing and the governed over matters of politics and policy. Our geographic scope includes the United Kingdom, Western Europe more broadly, Eastern Europe and Russia, and the Mediterranean (Mr P Daniels, Dr R David, Dr J Mawdsley, V Feklyunina, Professor W Maloney, Dr N Randall, Dr A Zito).

Global justice and human rights
Our work in political philosophy reflects the increasing need to tackle issues at a global rather than a state-only level. It encompasses issues such as the formulation and justification of human rights and the competing claims of relativism, particularism, and cultural diversity; the extension of ideas of distributive justice from states to humanity as a whole; proposals to secure global democracy; the application of just war theory to modern conflicts and to humanitarian intervention; and issues of environmental justice, especially climate change. This grouping tackles questions of justice from both an issue perspective as well as surveys of nationalism, statism, and various non-cosmopolitan theories of global justice (Dr D Bell, Dr T Brooks, Dr R David, Professor P Jones, Dr G Long).

Political research and methods
We conduct leading research in both qualitative and quantitative methods, reflecting both empirical and critical political methodologies. We use a variety of quantitative methods, including rational choice theory and experiments, to make sense of topics as diverse as party systems and transitional justice. We seek to push innovation in research methods in such areas as ethnography, hermeneutics, and discourse analysis. In using concepts and approaches that challenge traditional notions of politics, we investigate methods for research into new challenges, for example the rise of life sciences, the focus on the relationship between the human body and security, or emergent forms of subjectivity and politics (Dr M Barr, Professor H Behr, Dr E Clough, Dr R David, Dr M Davies, V Feklyunina).

Research Degree Training and Skills Development

There is an extensive research training programme at both the subject-specific (political science) level and generic (social science) level. At the generic level, the University's Humanities and Social Sciences Graduate School provides a full range of research training in the social sciences, which meets the requirements of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). This training includes bibliographical techniques, philosophy of social science, and quantitative and qualitative methods. The Graduate School also hosts postgraduate events, including open days, and supports personal development.

There is a Politics Postgraduate Society, which organises the ‘New Voices’ seminar series, with both internal and external presenters, ‘Roundtable’ discussions on topical issues, and professional development workshops led by Politics staff. All full-time students are allocated their own desk and receive a laptop computer for their own use throughout their studies. Part-time students share ‘hot desk’ space and also receive a laptop computer.  Students are encouraged to attend conferences to present papers, for which a small financial contribution can be drawn from the School.

+Entrance Requirements

 An upper-second-class Honours degree and a master’s degree, or international equivalent, in a politics or related subject.

Applicants whose first language is not English require IELTS 6.5, TOEFL 90 (Internet-based), Pearson's PTE Academic Test 62 or equivalent. 

Our INTO Newcastle University Centre can provide extra tuition to help you meet the University's English language requirements.

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has rules for international students regarding minimum English language requirements.

+Scholarships and Other Sources of Funding

Students are eligible for small grants for conference attendance and fieldwork.  Some fees bursaries and alumni discounts may be available from the School. 

International Students, consult your own government for funding. The University offers International Scholarships, and there are funding opportunities by external organisations available.

Students should consult their employers for sponsorship opportunities.

More information on scholarships, studentships, bursaries and other funding is available from our database.

+How to Apply

Visit our postgraduate application site.

Applications are considered throughout the year although specific deadlines for funding may apply. Further application advice is available from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

There are two possible start dates for your research degree:

  • 6 January 2014
  • 22 September 2014 

However, these dates are not mandatory and in some circumstances permission can be granted for alternative start dates. 

Please note: As a formal condition of the offer to study at Newcastle University, students from outside the UK/EU are required to pay a deposit of £1,500 or submit an official letter of sponsorship for their chosen programme. The deposit payment is non refundable, but will be deducted from tuition fees upon registration.

+Further Information

For further information please contact:
Postgraduate Secretary
School of Geography, Politics and Sociology
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5200
E-mail: gps@ncl.ac.uk

Subject Overview

This programme is within the subject area of Politics.