Why study MPhil/PhD Politics at Goldsmiths

Undertake a research degree in politics and international relations at Goldsmiths.

  • We accept students into the Department of Politics and International Relations on the basis of a match between your proposed research and the current research interests of a potential supervisor as well as an assessment of qualifications and suitability for a research degree.
  • Initial discussions about supervision are therefore on the basis of a brief research proposal prepared by prospective students before a formal application is made.

  • If you'd like to come and discuss your research with the Director of Postgraduate Studies and/or with a potential supervisor, please approach the contact listed below to make an appointment.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr Jeremy Larkins.


3-4 years full-time or 4-6 years part-time


Home - full-time: £4786
Home - part-time: £2393
International - full-time: £17690


Politics and International Relations

You'll research

Registration and study

  • Initially, you register for a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) programme to train you in the research methods necessary to complete a PhD.
  • You can apply to upgrade to PhD registration when you have satisfactorily completed an agreed part of the research and training programme; this usually happens before 18 months if you are studying full-time, or before 36 months if part-time.
  • You should aim to complete and submit your PhD thesis within an agreed period, usually three to four years for full-time students, and four to six years for part-time.
  • If you decide not to upgrade to PhD registration, you can submit your thesis for an MPhil after two years if you are studying full-time, or after three years if part-time.
  • With the agreement of your supervisor, you can change your registration from full to part-time or vice versa. North American applicants especially should note that the British system does not include preparatory taught classes or examinations as part of the MPhil/PhD programme, except for an initial module in research methods.

Research supervision

You will be assigned members of staff qualified to supervise your research throughout your period of registration. Please see our staff page for details of the teaching staff and their research interests.

You usually have a single supervisor, although in some cases joint supervision is agreed, and two members of staff are involved in the supervision.

Supervision involves regular meetings throughout the period of study, and ideally involves the development of an intensive intellectual relationship between you and your supervisor, from which both parties gain.

Research training

All research students who have not completed an MRes or MPhil degree will have to attend modules on quantitative and qualitative research methods held in their first year of study.

A Goldsmiths-wide programme of research training is also provided, which involves:

  • An induction module (which all students should attend)
  • Introduction to information technologies and the use of library and bibliographic resources
  • Basic training in quantitative research methods
  • Sessions on research planning, presentation skills and ethics

Optional elements

There are seminars held within the Department, which you can attend. Also, you may – after consultation with your supervisor – audit the appropriate postgraduate options from any of the taught MA/MRes programmes offered in the Department. This involves participating in seminar discussions and/or writing coursework, but not being formally assessed for the course.


You'll have access to Goldsmiths’ Graduate School based in the Whitehead Building. There are PCs and Macs, a kitchen space and a quiet workspace. The School also hosts a series of seminars and other activities during the year, which are open to all postgraduate research students and staff in Goldsmiths.

Staff in the Graduate School oversee research students’ progress and wellbeing, and coordinate the generic training courses for postgraduate research students.


Examination of the MPhil and PhD is by a thesis (60,000 words maximum for an MPhil and 100,000 words maximum for a PhD) and a viva voce.


Our graduates come from diverse disciplinary backgrounds and embark on careers in:

  • Teaching, lecturing and research
  • Central and local government
  • Management and personnel work
  • Finance
  • The media
  • Health service administration

Many of our graduates undertake professional training in law, accountancy, social work or nursing.


Some of the skills you'll develop during the programme include:

  • A critical awareness of social and political issues and processes
  • Originality in engagement with the discipline of political science
  • Communication and presentation skills

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

These are the PG fees for students starting their programme in the 2024/2025 academic year.

  • Home - full-time: £4786
  • Home - part-time: £2393
  • International - full-time: £17690

If your fees are not listed here, please check our postgraduate fees guidance or contact the Fees Office, who can also advise you about how to pay your fees.

It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time under a student visa. If you think you might be eligible to study part-time while being on another visa type, please contact our Admissions Team for more information.

If you are looking to pay your fees please see our guide to making a payment.

Funding opportunities

Goldsmiths scholarships and studentships

You may be eligible to apply for funding including:

Explore the Goldsmiths scholarships finder to explore the funding you may be eligible for.

Paying your fees

Find out about paying your tuition fees.

Additional costs

In addition to your tuition fees, you'll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. You can find out more about what you need to budget for on our study costs page.

There may also be specific additional costs associated with your programme. This can include things like paying for field trips or specialist materials for your assignments.

Entry requirements

You should normally have (or expect to be awarded) a taught Masters in a relevant subject area, of at least a high merit standard. We normally also expect an undergraduate degree of at least upper second-class standard. 

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

International qualifications

We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 7.0 with a 7.0 in writing and no element lower than 6.5 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate study.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system.

Before submitting your application you'll need to have:

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
  • Contact details of a second referee
  • A personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online
  • Details of your research proposal (see below for guidance)
  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

Before you apply for a research programme, we advise you to get in touch with the programme contact, listed above. It may also be possible to arrange an advisory meeting.

Before you start at Goldsmiths, the actual topic of your research has to be agreed with your proposed supervisor, who will be a member of staff active in your general field of research. The choice of topic may be influenced by the current research in the department or the requirements of an external funding body. 

If you wish to study on a part-time basis, you should also indicate how many hours a week you intend to devote to research, whether this will be at evenings or weekends, and for how many hours each day.

Your research proposal

You should upload a research proposal at the point of application. This should be in the form of a 2,000-word statement of your proposed area of research and should include:

  • Delineation of the research topic
  • Why it has been chosen
  • An initial hypothesis (if applicable)
  • A brief list of major secondary sources

When to apply

You can make an application to study for an MPhil or PhD with us at any time of the year, for the academic year starting the following October.

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place conditional on you achieving a particular qualification.

If you're applying for external funding from one of the Research Councils, make sure you submit your application by the deadline they've specified.

Selection process

Admission to many programmes is by interview, unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.

Find out more about applying.

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