MPhil/PhD Advanced Quantitative Methods (AQM) in Social Sciences

Duration MPhil: Full time 2-3 years; Part time 4-5 years
PhD: Full time 3-4 years; Part time 6-7 years
  • Politics and International Relations
LocationExeter (Streatham)
Start date September or January


This programme will offer research students the opportunity to address a substantive social science question using advanced quantitative methods. Students, working with their supervisors, will develop a social science research project alongside developing advanced quantitative data analysis skills. Substantive areas of research are available across the Disciplines of the College of Social Sciences and International (Education, Politics, International Relations, Sociology, Criminology, Area Studies or Socio-legal Studies) or can be cross-disciplinary. Students will also receive supervision and training in core methodologies, including:

  • Advanced quantitative analysis
  • Network Analysis
  • Text Analysis
  • Bayesian Analysis
  • Experimental Methods

This advanced training builds on the Exeter Q-Step Centre that led to increased capacity for quantitative methods training with additional staff and resources.

Advanced research methods training, especially in advanced data analysis skills, is a core component in the early stages of the MPhil/PhD and students complete a Training Needs Analysis to identify skills gaps and agree a training plan.

As a postgraduate research student you will have the support of both a supervisor and mentor, to make sure you get the one-to-one contact needed. We also run a Buddy scheme; a mentoring programme which links incoming first year research students with more established students.

Research methods training is a core component in the early stages of the PhD. We strongly encourage students to give papers at major conferences and help them to publish their work. Research students participate in the lively seminar series organised by our research groups with past speakers including leading academics from around the world. There are also teaching opportunities.

We accept graduate students for the degree of MPhil leading to a PhD. Transfer to PhD status takes place in the second year and depends on satisfactory progress. Students are required to complete their PhD in three years and take an appropriate programme of research training.

1+3 scheme: If you do not yet have a Masters degree, we offer a '1+3' scheme i.e. a one year Master of Research (MRes) followed by a three year PhD that incorporates a research training component that has been designed to meet the ESRC 2001 postgraduate research training guidelines.

Our academics

With an annual research income in excess of £1m, we enjoy the support of the Economic and Social, the Arts and Humanities, and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Councils, European sources such as EU and European Science Foundation, and Charitable Foundations such as Nuffield, Cadbury and Leverhulme.  The results of our research has been published in all the major political science journals and by the major Anglophone and continental academic and University Presses such as Blackwell, Sage, Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Columbia, Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, Amsterdam, Kluwer, Peter Lang, etc.

Our reputation for high quality has helped us recruit staff with excellent records, who have been engaged in international collaborative research on electoral democracy, citizenship and identity, radicalisation, cities in conflict, ethical statecraft, global governance and regulatory policy - providing us with a breadth and depth of expertise across all political disciplines.

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

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

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. There is a joint Departmental Research Seminar which hosts visiting speakers and provides a forum for discussion of staff research papers.

In addition to the clusters, which are the basis on which our teaching informed by research is organised, there are also a number of University and School research centres which focus on research themes and provide additional institutional structures for facilitating research. Most receive substantial external research funding and work across disciplinary boundaries. Currently there are centres for:

Faculty work closely with other centres across the college and university, especially the  Strategy and Security Institute (SSI), the Centre for Turkish Studies and the Centre for Intermedia.

Most of us also work with groups of scholars in other institutions, and within international networks. Details of many of these can be found on our projects page or individual staff pages.

There is a strong research culture in the department, which is reflected in our regular seminars and workshops and visits from internationally renowned scholars.

We welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students. Please initially contact the staff member closest to your interests. The Department has been successful in securing Scholarships from a range of research councils and there are some bursaries and scholarships available from within the university and school.


Politics is an inclusive department with a diverse and lively student community. The department offers a welcoming atmosphere where it’s easy to make new friends and where staff and students know each other well.

There is a strong research culture in the department, which is reflected in our regular seminars and workshops and visits from internationally renowned scholars.

You will also be part of the wider College of Social Sciences and International Studies Graduate Research School and will have plenty of opportunity to mix with students and staff from other disciplines and take part in events or hear visiting speakers’ seminars. The Graduate School team also provides a friendly point of contact for any queries you have about the application process, orientation or life within the Institute.

Entry requirements 2018

Our online learning resource 'Considering a UK PhD?' provides lots of helpful advice and information from staff and students about the PhD experience at Exeter.

You may wish to read our general advice for PhD applicants webpages, which give tips on how to put together a successful research degree application.

Applicants for research programmes are also advised to visit the College's webpages to check for specific advice (see further information link). Here you will be able to find out about staff research interests and make preliminary enquiries about supervision. We advise that you do this before applying.

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.

Pearson Test of English (Academic)

65 with no less than 58 in all communicative skills.

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


Our Postgraduate Funding webpage provides links to further information. If you are considering a PhD in the future, in addition to University of Exeter funding, we have been successful at securing postgraduate funding for PhD research through our Funded centres.

Funding opportunities

Find out about current funding opportunities for our Politics research programmes.

Tuition fees per year 2018/19

  • UK/EU: £4,400 full-time; £2,200 part-time
  • International: £16,400 full-time

Fee information

Fees can normally be paid by two termly instalments and may be paid online. For further information about paying fees see our Student Fees pages.

Contact us

The College of Social Sciences & International Studies has a dedicated Graduate Research School which is committed to supporting its vibrant postgraduate research student community.

The Graduate Research School 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.

Phone: +44(0) 1392 724490
Web: Enquire online

Apply online Funding Ask a question Visit subject website Print course

The University of Exeter Q-Step Centre

Q-Step is a UK-wide £19.5 million programme to promote a step-change in quantitative training in the British social sciences education.

I love my PhD

PhD student Felix-Christopher von Nostitz tells us about his research and why he loves his PhD. View full size.