Postgraduate research courses in International Relations
The School of International Relations offers three 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.
- DProf (Professional Doctorate), undertaken on a part-time basis, this degree is open to experienced professionals who are employed in any area of work, including those in emerging professions and disciplines.
Applicants for research degrees in the School of International Relations are not required to determine a potential supervisor before applying. You are encouraged to express a preference in your application, but the allocation of applicants to supervisors is undertaken by the School's postgraduate committee.
Applicants cannot be admitted to the research degree programme unless a suitable supervisor can be identified by the postgraduate committee. The committee must agree that the applicant’s research interests are viable and are a reasonable match with a prospective supervisor’s interests, and that the supervisor is willing to take primary responsibility for supervising the candidate.
It is sometimes necessary to reject applicants solely because there is no suitable supervisor able to accept them in the year of application.
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.
In very exceptional circumstances (and by explicit prior arrangement with the Director of Postgraduate Research only), a student may be given permission to waive this residence requirement. Under these circumstances, students will still be expected to take IR5601 Research Methods in International Relations module in full, and to complete all assignments associated with it.
If you study IR5601 Research Methods in International Relations through distance-learning, your principal supervisor will be responsible for making sure all requisite course material is covered in an appropriate fashion and to an acceptable standard. Distance-learning students are thus expected to treat the IR5601 module as the foundation of their doctoral studies.
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. Find out more about available research scholarships.
Two fully-funded (fees and stipend) doctoral scholarships to support students in any discipline who hold a Bachelors degree from the University of St Andrews and meet certain 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.
The School of International Relations aims to process applications within four to six weeks of receiving the application from the University. However, applications submitted before the deadline are not normally processed until after this period. If applicants have questions about the status of their application, they can contact the research postgraduate secretary, 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.