Postgraduate research courses in International Relations
The School of International Relations offers these research degrees:
- MPhil, normally of two years duration. The first year comprises the taught components of an MLitt, and the second a dissertation of about 40,000 words followed by an oral examination.
- PhD (Doctorate), normally of three years duration leading to a thesis of no more than 80,000 words and an oral examination.
We encourage applicants to contact staff members directly to identify a suitable supervisor. The list of potential supervisors, research interests, and biographies can be found on the School's People page.
Staff usually consider research projects which align with their research agenda. Prospective supervisors can only indicate their interest in supervising a student, which should be noted in the application. However, the final decision is made by the Postgraduate Research Committee (PGRC).
Applicants can only be admitted to the research degree programme after successfully identifying a supervisor. This process is essential, and it involves the postgraduate committee agreeing that the applicant’s research interests are viable and align reasonably well with a prospective supervisor’s interests. Furthermore, it must be confirmed that the supervisor is willing to take primary responsibility for supervising the candidate.
It is important to note that, at times, it may be necessary to reject applicants solely because no suitable supervisor is available to accept them in the year of application. Hence, the early consultation and identification of potential supervisors is strongly recommended.
Students are required to be resident in St Andrews for the first year of their studies. First year emphasises training including taking IR5601 Research Methods in International Relations module, social science modules, and GRADskills workshops.
The offer of a University place to undertake study or research does not carry with it the guarantee of financial support. You will be required to support yourself or to apply to a grant-awarding body.
St Andrews offers a number of scholarships to research students.
A fully-funded (fees and stipend) doctoral scholarship to support a student in any discipline who meets certain widening access criteria.
External funding opportunities
- ESRC-funded studentships are available for application by UK and EU residents, and are offered as part of the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science Doctoral Training Programme.
- AHRC-funded studentships are available for application by UK and EU residents, and are offered as part of the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities Doctoral Training Programme.
- The Postgraduate Studentships website has a comprehensive searchable database of funding opportunities.
- The British Middle East Association offers both research student awards and Masters scholarships, chiefly for students from the UK and the EU. Students should apply both to BRISMES and to the University of St Andrews, clearly marking their desire to be recommended for this scholarship.
- Students from Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine are eligible to apply for a scholarship to study at St Andrews from the Saïd Foundation. These are available for one or two-year courses. Students need to apply to St Andrews separately.
See the updated important dates and deadlines for Research programmes within the School of International Relations.
If applicants wish to know the status of their application they can email the Postgraduate Administrator by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We require an IELTS score of 7.0 overall with an expectation of 6.5 minimum in individual sections.
Further details of entry requirements and application procedures are found on the postgraduate application page.
The University’s Academic English Service offers international students a variety of ways to develop your research communication skills and language proficiency. The service runs parallel with your doctoral studies and is completely free to use.
You can sign up for bespoke one-to-one tutorials, in which you and a tutor work on your specific communication or language goals. These tutorials are particularly useful as a means to develop your writing skills at the start of your PhD programme and can be tailored to meet your individual needs as your research and thesis progress. They can also be used to practise and receive feedback on your speaking skills, particularly for oral exams and interviews.
General workshops are available to help with academic writing, grammar, listening, pronunciation and speaking. These are complemented by workshops which address the specific needs of doctoral researchers, for example, writing conference abstracts and giving conference presentations.
Applicants who wish to be considered for any funding first need to submit their University PhD application by Wednesday 15 November 2023, 5pm (GMT).
Applicants applying for SGSSS or/and SGSAH-funded PhD studentships must notify the School of their intention to apply for this funding by emailing email@example.com by Wednesday 15 November 2023, 5pm (GMT) and must have secured a supervisory team before applying for either funding route.
Applications for the (ESCR) SGSS - Scottish Graduate School of Social Science Student-led Open Competition 2023/24 are submitted via their portal. The deadline is Friday 1 December 2023, 5pm (GMT).
Applicants for the (AHRC) SGSAH - Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship must email their nomination form to the School firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 1 December 2023, 5pm (GMT). Nomination forms can be downloaded from the SGSAH website.
Self-funded applicants must submit by Thursday 11 January 2024, 5pm (GMT).