Politics and International Relations

  • MPhil/PhD Politics (Exeter and Cornwall)
  • MPhil/PhD European Politics (Exeter only)
  • MA by Research Politics (Exeter and Cornwall)
  • MPhil/PhD Advanced Quantitative Methods (AQM) in Social Sciences (Exeter only)
Degree typesTypes of research degrees explained
DurationDegree duration details
LocationCornwall (Penryn), Exeter (Streatham)
Study modesFull time and part time Study mode details
Start date September or January

Research overview

As one of the top-ten departments in the UK, Politics at Exeter provides an ideal place to undertake a MPhil/PhD in Politics and International Relations, Security, Conflict and Human Rights, or Strategy and Security. There are opportunities at both the Streatham Campus in Exeter and at the Penryn Campus near Falmouth.

The MA by Research in Politics has been developed to allow you to undertake a research project in an area that interests you, within a shorter timeframe than the MPhil or PhD.

With over thirty members of faculty engaged in world-leading research and more than ninety research students currently enrolled, we offer a challenging but friendly and supportive environment in which to pursue your own research interests.

One of the advantages of an excellent all round department is that we can offer supervision across a wide range of subject areas at both our Streatham Campus in Exeter and in Cornwall, depending on the research interests of staff.

Our research led teaching is organised in clusters of faculty with specialisms in:

  • Comparative Political Behaviour & Institutions
  • Public Policy
  • International Studies
  • Political Theory

All academic staff in the department are active within at least one of these groups.  Postgraduate students, whether working on their own or within larger projects led by staff members, are also integral members of clusters. Public Policy and Political Theory have journals associated with them and operate their own research seminars. 

In addition to the clusters, there are also a number of University and School research centres which are more focussed and integrated, in many cases with external funding.

There is a joint departmental research seminar which hosts visiting speakers and provides a forum for discussion of staff research papers. There is also a dedicated Postgraduate seminar series that acts as a forum for discussion of current PGR research being conducted within the Department.

PhD students are also part of the wider College of Social Sciences and International Studies research community and have opportunity to meet with students and staff from other disciplines.

“My project is exploring youth participation and more importantly how a compulsory political education could improve this for the future of UK’s democracy. The university agreed that this was a priority subject area and I was honoured to receive the Vice Chancellors Scholarship for Academic Excellence in 2017.

The Politics Department is currently 5th in the UK for world-leading research which means that you get to collaborate with academics who are at the forefront of your field. In terms of the supervision process here at Exeter the really great thing is that you’re given two fantastic supervisors. Doing a PhD is both the most amazing and terrifying thing you’ll do as an early career academic so having a really supportive team to guide you through these often confusing or uncertain steps is really useful.”

Rebecca, Politics PhD.


Below are some examples of initial jobs undertaken by Politics and International Relations postgraduates who studied with us in recent years.

Please note that, due to data protection, the job titles and organisations are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.

Job TitleOrganisation
Assistant Professor
Associate lecturer
Associate Teaching and Research Assistant
CEO Social Enterprise
Chief Inspector (Operations)- Police Officer
Civil Servant (Director)
Communications Officer
Cover Supervisor
Creative Kernow
Desk Officer
Environmental and institutional economist
Head of Unit and Research Fellow
Lecturer in International Relations
Lecturer in Political Theory
Lecturer in Politics and International Relations
Legislative Researcher
Migration consultant
Policy Officer
Politics Lecturer
Politics Lecturer
Postdoctoral Fellow
Post-doctoral research associate
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
Programme Manager
Research Fellow
Research Fellow
Senior Lecturer; Research Coordinator
Senior Political Affairs Officer
Senior Researcher
Teaching Fellow
Teaching Fellow
University Teaching and Research Fellow

3 Pillars Project
Central European University
Centre for European Policy Studies
China University of Political Science and Law
Civil Service
Cranfield University
Creative Kernow
Devon and Cornwall Police
Dr Jerry Thomas CB DSO
European Commision
Falmouth University
Federal Demographic Center Abu Dhabi, UAE
GIGA Hamburg, Germany
Hamid Alkifaey
Internet Governance Forum
King's College, London
National Secular Society
Okehampton College
The Ministry of Education
The National Assembly of the Republic of Korea
United Nations Administration Mission in Kosovo
University of Bath
University of Central Asia
University of Exeter
University of Leicester
University of Sheffield
University of South Florida
University of St.Gallen, Switzerland
University of Vienna
Victoria University of Wellington
VU University Amsterdam


Entry requirements

You should have a good first degree either in Politics or another subject that could prepare you for a research project within the Department.

You should have a good first degree, and a Master's degree with Merit or equivalent either in Politics or another subject that could prepare you for a research project within the Department. We also consider applications from candidates who can demonstrate professional or other relevant experience that would make them suited to undertake an MPhil/PhD with us.

Requirements for international students

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

Overall score 7.0 with a minimum score of 6.5 in the writing component and all other sections no less than 6.0.


Overall score 100 with minimum scores of 25 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.

Other accepted tests

Information about other acceptable tests of linguistic ability can be found on our English language requirements page.

Pre-sessional English

Applicants with lower English language test scores may be able to take pre-sessional English at INTO University of Exeter prior to commencing their programme. See our English language requirements page for more information.

Finance: fees and funding

Tuition fees per year 2022/23

For those studying for more than one year, our fees are expected to increase modestly in line with Consumer Price Inflation measured in December each year. More information can be found on our Student Finance webpages.

Tuition fees per year 2021/22

Following your registration, tuition fees for subsequent years of study may increase to take into account inflationary pressures – this will not exceed 5 per cent per year of study.

Current available funding

Contact us

The Doctoral College PGR Support Team helps to support both intellectual and social contact between graduates of different disciplines and from different backgrounds and countries. Our team supports both prospective and current postgraduate research students.

We welcome enquiries about the degree, for further information contact:

Postgraduate Research admissions

Phone: 0300 555 60 60 (UK callers)*
            +44(0)1392 723044 (EU/International callers)

Web: Enquire online

We would encourage all potential applicants to look at the academic staff profiles and consider who may be a suitable supervisor within the department. It is best to contact them by email to discuss possible directions for a research proposal and see if they are able to supervise your chosen topic ahead of submitting an application.

* Calling us on an 0300 number will cost you the same as a call to a standard landline number starting with 01 and 02. If you have an inclusive call package for calling landline numbers on your mobile or landline telephone the call would simply be reduced from your available talk minutes. Otherwise your call will be charged at the same rate as calling a standard national rate number.

Apply online How to apply Politics research pages Staff profiles Ask a question Print page

PhD student Becca tells us about her research. View full size.

Kiran, Poliitics research student. View full size.

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