International Relations, Politics and History

Qualification(s) available: PhD

Entry requirements
3 years
6 years
Start date
1 January, 1 April, 1 July or 1 October
UK fee
To be confirmed
International fee


The School of Social Sciences and Humanities at Loughborough is home to International Relations, Politics and History. It is a world-leading centre for research and study into many areas of contemporary politics, international relations and history. Our aim is to stimulate innovative research that has the potential to transform academic and public debates.

We conduct research in contemporary politics and international relations, political theory, early modern and modern history. Most of our research falls between the humanities and the political and social sciences but we also produce a substantial body of interdisciplinary work, notably in the history of ideas, radical movements and activism, in gender politics, international politics and history, security studies, government and governance at both national and international levels, art and politics, religion and politics, media studies and history, and digital humanities.

Our focus on research is reflected in the results of the latest Research Excellence Framework (2014), where we were ranked in the UK top 10 for research intensity.

Our study area is a supportive environment for doctoral research, and we foster strong research links between academics and students. You will participate in seminar planning and you will receive tailored advice on professional development, such as finding fellowships and publishing.

Our graduates have secured prestigious positions in academic institutions, including the Wiesenthal Institute in Vienna, Exeter University, Queen’s University in Belfast and University College Dublin. Others have pursued careers in academic publishing, with international and UK-based campaign groups and civil society organisations.

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Why you should choose us

Our research

Anarchism Research Group (ARG)

The ARG supports anarchism research across scholarly disciplines at the University and works to raise the profile of anarchist studies through scholarship and public engagement. The group also works in collaboration with the Politicized Practice, and Theatre and Performance research groups based in the Creative Arts study area to question prevailing political, economic and cultural orthodoxies.

Centre for Security Studies (CSS)

CSS produces critical and applied research on politically, strategically, socially and ethically pressing security issues in global politics. Its research strengths lie in war and conflict, migration, resilience, and gender and security. The group explores the local and transnational implications of security policies on states, communities and individuals, shedding light on everyday practices of security and the construction of resilient communities in the UK and Europe, as well as globally.

Ethics in Public Life Group

A network of academics from departments across Loughborough and beyond who are committed to debating issues concerning ethics in public life. The group hosts conferences, symposia and public lectures from high-profile speakers on a range of issues from the role of MPs, political lobbying and economic inequality to public health, international aid and the ethics of scientific research.

Media, Memory and History

Research in this group examines both the historical evolution of communication and the involvement of the media in shaping our experience of the past, present and future. It provides a shared focus of research for scholars across the social sciences and humanities.

Researchers work on various aspects of media and communication history, mediated memory and the relationship between media and time.

Your development

You will be assigned two supervisors who are international experts in their respective fields, plus an internal reviewer and a Director of Doctoral Programmes. This team provides tailored academic and pastoral support throughout your studies.

The School runs an extensive programme of research training and you will have the chance to participate in and run seminars and discussion groups. These will help you integrate into the School’s academic community and develop skills that will enable you to present your work at national and international conferences. You will be provided with access to a shared office with networked PC and specialist software, allowances for photocopying, conference attendance and interlibrary loans.

Undertaking a PhD will give you the opportunity to develop new and highly sought-after skills, which you can apply to a range of careers in academia, industry and beyond. You will be able to make a novel contribution to knowledge, giving you the chance to become a world expert in your field and opening up opportunities with a range of leading employers. You will also further develop your transferable skills, such as advanced research skills, time and project management, and networking and relationship building.

Our extensive training provision, supported by the Doctoral College, will also enhance your skills and experience as a researcher. These include the Doctoral College’s Café Academiques, Research Conference and Summer Showcase.

Your future career

Recent graduate destinations include:

  • Trinity College Dublin, Research Assistant
  • National Citizens Advice, Policy Researcher
  • Nottingham Trent University, Lecturer
  • IB School Teacher, Costeas Geitonas IB World School, Greece

Entry requirements

Our entry requirements are listed using standard UK undergraduate degree classifications i.e. first-class honours, upper second-class honours and lower second-class honours. To learn the equivalent for your country, please choose it from the dropdown below.

Entry requirements for United Kingdom

A 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent international qualification) in a relevant discipline.

Applicants without a postgraduate qualification will be required to complete research training in tandem with their doctoral programme.

English language requirements

Applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements. Further details are available on the International website.

Fees and funding

UK fee

Full-time degree per annum
To be confirmed

International fee

Full-time degree per annum

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Fees are reviewed annually and are likely to increase to take into account inflationary pressures.

Find out more about research degree funding

How to apply

If you can't find an advertised project that fits your interests and experience, you can submit a research proposal to the School of Social Sciences and Humanities to find a supervisor who will work with you on your project. You can view our list of academic staff on our website or you can email us for guidance.

Your research proposal should be up to 5,000 words long (at least 5 to 7 double-spaced pages) and details about what should be included in it can be found here.

You are strongly recommended to contact us before applying to discuss your topic, availability and funding.

Apply now