At the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, 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 can offer you excellent supervision for your Politics PhD or MPhil, in a vibrant and supportive research environment.
We have a Politics Postgraduate Society, which organises:
- the 'New Voices' seminar series, with both internal and external presenters
- Round table discussions on topical issues
- professional development workshops led by politics staff
You are encouraged to attend conferences to present papers, partial funding for this is available from the School.
Our main research themes are:
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; post-colonialism. Our work includes research on:
- multiculturalism and issues of identity
- inequality and social justice
- competing discourses of national identity
- political violence
- socio-political exclusion and discrimination
- global norms and cultural difference
- free speech - toleration and recognition
Popular culture and political communication
Our research addresses various key issues including:
- cultural political economy
We also assess the processes and depiction of political struggles, such as:
- armed conflict
- everyday life
- political organising and identity formation
Political participation and elections
We examine the differing forms of political participation that link society to the political systems of the world. We look at both the formal electoral process and non-electoral politics (social movements, protest groups etc). Our research on the emergence of virtual political participation means that some of our work intersects with popular culture and political communication. We investigate:
- citizen involvement and (dis)engagement
- social capital
- the role of civil society
Political ideologies and political thought
We focus on the history of political thought as well as how these ideas are embedded in programmes for political action. Our research incorporates both historical and contemporary political thought prominent in the Western tradition as well as Asian philosophy and post-colonial thinking. This is an interdisciplinary theme, serving as a bridge between empirical political science and political theory.
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. These challenges pose questions to the nature and reform of global governance, and generate tensions between the state and transnationalising forces in global politics and political economy. Our work has already led to findings on:
- the implications for global justice
- the policy challenge for governments and non-governmental actors
- the empowerment of various actors
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. We draw from ancient and modern political thought to understand the interpretation of democracy (including democratic rights and the foundations of democracy). Our research interrogates the forms democracy takes, including:
- elite theories of democracy
- deliberative democracy
- cosmopolitan democracy
- democracy in divided societies
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
- the impact of the emerging economies (for example Brazil and China) on the global political economy
Critical geopolitics and security
Our research focuses on thinking critically about the political dynamics, consequences and discourses of historical and contemporary geopolitics. We cover 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
- the human body and security
Theory of international relations
We take an active role in the global debate on the units, actors and structures that shape the dynamics of international politics. Our research covers the political consequences of the constitution of the international as a distinct kind of relation. We examine political concepts including:
- the world system
- international diplomacy
- notions of empire
- regional integration
- non-governmental actors
- the (nation) state
Governance in Britain and wider Europe
Our research investigates the dynamics driving public policy-making at national, EU and international levels. We focus on the challenges multi-level governance offers for concerns about legitimacy and accountability. This includes the changing relationship between the governing and the governed over matters of politics and policy. Our geographic scope includes the United Kingdom, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Russia, and the Mediterranean
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. We cover issues such as:
- the formulation and justification of human rights
- 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
- environmental justice, especially climate change
We tackle questions of justice from an issue perspective as well as surveys of nationalism, statism, and various non-cosmopolitan theories of global justice.
Political research and methods
We conduct qualitative and quantitative research reflecting both empirical and critical political methodologies. We use quantitative methods, including rational choice theory and experiments, to make sense of topics as diverse as party systems and transitional justice. Our aim is to push innovation in research methods in ethnography, hermeneutics and discourse analysis. We use concepts that challenge traditional notions of politics to investigate methods for research into new challenges, including:
- the rise of life sciences
- the focus on the relationship between the human body and security
- emergent forms of subjectivity and politics
Research skills development
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
- quantitative and qualitative methods
The Graduate School also hosts postgraduate events, including open days, and supports personal development.
As a full-time student you will be given your own desk and a laptop computer for use throughout your studies. If you're a part-time student you will also have a laptop computer for your studies and will share 'hot desk' space.
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Training & Skills
As a research student you will receive a tailored package of academic and administrative support to ensure you maximise your research and future career. The academic information is in the programme profile and you will be supported by our doctoral training centres, Faculty Training Programme and Research Student Support Team.
Our Faculty Training Programme provides a community made up of postgraduate social sciences and humanities students and staff. It is a unique blend of cross-disciplinary and generic researcher development training, recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as providing a solid basis for doctoral study.
Although your focus will be on your specialist study, our aim is for you to develop a broad range of research and project management skills that will support you in your career ahead. We have nurtured a multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary and supportive environment where staff and students from across the world can come together and share their research experiences. You can also choose to register for a Postgraduate Certificate in Research Training, which accredits the core foundation modules on the training programme.
You will study in our Doctoral Training Suite with purpose-built facilities for lectures, workshops, seminars and computer access to specialist software required for doctoral research in the social sciences and humanities. Each year we have two student-led research postgraduate conferences and we have a variety of prizes and awards to celebrate the successes of our students.
ESRC Northern Ireland/North East (NINE) Doctoral Training Partnership
The ESRC Northern Ireland/North East (NINE) Doctoral Training Partnership is a joint venture between Durham University, Newcastle University, Northumbria University, Queen’s University Belfast, University of Sunderland, Teesside University and Ulster University . We are a centre of excellence for postgraduate social sciences. We offer a world-class, interdisciplinary environment for doctoral training and research.
Funded and accredited by the ESRC, we are one of the most innovative of the national network of doctoral training centres with a strong track record of partnership working with public, private and community organisations.
Northern Bridge doctoral training partnership
Based at Newcastle University, Northern Bridge brings together the expertise and exceptional resources of Newcastle University, Durham University, Queen’s University Belfast and their partners for the training and development of outstanding arts and humanities postgraduate researchers.
Northern Bridge is funded by the AHRC to provide doctoral studentships and has been commended for the strength of its research base, shared vision, and its successful track record of partnership working.
EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Digital Civics
Postgraduate research student support
Our award winning Research Student Support Team is dedicated to providing you with information, support and advice throughout your research degree studies. The team can help and advise you on a variety of issues from registration to producing your transcripts.
Fees & Funding
The fees displayed here are per year.
Full time: £4,800
Part time: £2,400
Full time: £4,800
Part time: £2,400
Full time: £15,600
Find out more about our tuition fees, including how to pay them and available discounts.
EU students starting at Newcastle in 2018 will pay the UK (Home) tuition fee for the full duration of their course.
A 2:1 honours degree and a master's degree, or international equivalent, in politics or a related subject.
Find out the equivalent qualifications for your country.
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English Language Requirements
Select an English language test from the list to view our English language entry requirements.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Pre-sessional English Course RequirementsPre-sessional English Course Requirements
- 6 week Pre-sessional entry:Not accepted
- 10 week Pre-sessional entry: IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 6.0 in all sub-skills)
You can study our Pre-sessional English course at the INTO Newcastle Centre.
How to Apply
You apply online, track your application and contact the admissions team via our applicant portal. Our step-by-step guide can help you on your way.
You need to submit a research proposal with your online application. Read our guidelines for producing a research proposal (PDF: 41.5KB) from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science Graduate School.
There are usually two possible start dates, although in some circumstances an alternative start date can be arranged:
There is no application closing date for this course, but specific deadlines for funding may apply.
We suggest international students apply at least two months before the course starts. This is so that you have enough time to make the necessary arrangements.
If you live outside the UK/EU you must:
- pay a deposit of £1,500
- or submit an official letter of sponsorship
The deposit is payable after you receive an offer to study at Newcastle University. The deposit is non-refundable, but is deducted from your tuition fees when you register.