Postgraduate study

Politics and International Relations PhD, MScR

Awards: PhD, MScR

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Research in Politics and International Relations explores the theory, practice and ethics of politics and governance.

We cover a broad area of expertise, from local policy to global governance, political theory to empirical studies, constructivism to rational choice approaches.

Our Politics & International Relations group has close links with cross-disciplinary and internationally recognised research centres.

Major research focuses include:

  • sub-state and supranational dimensions of politics and public policy
  • the impact of devolution in the UK and elsewhere, and the constitution and governance of the European Union
  • international politics: changing relations, the new security agenda, transatlantic relations, political economy, migration politics and global governance
  • nationalism, democratic transition, civil society and institution-building
  • health, welfare, environment, competition, migrations and citizenship, and equal opportunities policies
  • political theory, especially war ethics, environmental ethics and theories of freedom

MScR option

We’ve updated our portfolio of programmes. Individual MSc by Research programmes have been replaced with MSc by Research Social & Political Science.

This programme includes courses in research design and methodology skills. The Graduate School provides a suite of ESRC-recognised research training courses for social science students across the University. We have an exciting package of flexible, web-based training courses in line with the increased emphasis on advanced training throughout the course of doctoral studies.

A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent, and a UK masters degree with an overall mark of 65% or its international equivalent.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: total 67 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)

  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)

  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 22/03/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Application fee

A non-refundable application fee of £50 must be paid after you submit your application. Your application will not be processed until we have received your application fee.

Tuition fees

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD

We encourage PhD applicants in particular to contact potential supervisors before applying to discuss their research proposal so we can ensure there is adequate supervision.

Application fee

A non-refundable application fee of £50 must be paid after you submit your application. Your application will not be processed until we have received your application fee.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD