We have more than 40 PhD students pursuing cutting-edge research, and undertaking advanced training, in the areas of new political communication; elections, public opinion and parties; comparative politics; politics of Africa, Asia and the Middle East; international relations; political theory, ancient philosophy, and modern and contemporary continental philosophy.
Royal Holloway is ranked 9th in the UK for international outlook in the Times Higher World Rankings. The academics in the Department come from 10 different countries and our students represent countries from across the globe. Overseas students play a vital role in ensuring that our department benefits from a diversity of experience and skills.
Research facilities and environment
Our department has several research centres, bringing together internationally regarded researchers and our community of PhDs. Through dedicated programmes in the department, and at University-level, we offer our postgraduate research students relevant and timely training in research-specific and transferable skills.
Our research centres and groups
- The Centre for European Politics
- The Democracy and Elections Centre
- The Centre for International Public Policy
- The Centre for Islamic and West Asian Studies
- The Centre for Politics in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East
- The New Political Communication Unit
- The Contemporary Political Theory Research Group
As a first-year doctoral student you will attend compulsory training courses in quantitative methods, qualitative methods and the foundations of contemporary political theory. You will also attend fortnightly research and professional development seminars that provide training and advice in writing book reviews, getting published, achieving impact, entering the academic job market and more, and in which students develop and present their research to one another and to staff.
We are committed to ensuring that you are well-equipped, not only to complete your studies but also to develop your future careers.
A PhD is awarded to students who produce a substantial piece of original research in the form of a thesis of up to 100,000 words.
You will normally be required to have successfully completed a postgraduate degree (MA/MRes/MSc) in a relevant field. We will also consider applications from those with long-term relevant work experience.
English language requirements
All teaching at Royal Holloway is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.
The scores we require
- IELTS: 6.5 overall. Writing 7.0. No other subscore lower than 5.5.
- Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 69. No other subscore lower than 51.
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.
- TOEFL ib: 88 overall, with Reading 18 Listening 17 Speaking 20 Writing 26.
For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please see here.
Your future career
Many of our postgraduate students, even before they complete their studies, are presenting their work at international conferences and publishing in top-ranked journals. Our students are also deeply committed to public engagement, not only in the UK but also around the world.
Fees & funding
Home and EU students tuition fee per year*: £4345
International students tuition fee per year**: £17400
Other essential costs***: There are no individual costs greater than £50 per item.
How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options.
* and ** These fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying part-time are charged a pro-rata fee, usually equivalent to approximately half the full-time fee. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information on part-time fees. We adopt the minimum fee level recommended by the UK Research Councils for the Home/EU tuition fee. Each year, the fee level is adjusted in line with inflation (currently, the measure used is the Treasury GDP deflator). Fees displayed here are therefore subject to change and are usually confirmed in the spring of the year of entry. For more information on the Research Council Indicative Fee please see the RCUK website.
*** These estimated costs relate to undertaking this particular programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.