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PhD research

A growing number of middle-income countries challenge conventional understandings of development. Much is to be learnt from the experiences of the processes of change in these different nations, societies and economies. We offer an active multidisciplinary doctoral training programme to address these changes.

MPhil/PhD awards

Qualification(s): MPhil  PhD 
Duration: 3-4 years full-time or 6-7 years part-time.

PhD Development Studies with reference to Emerging Economies in International Development Institute at King's College London.

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Our supervisors accept original projects that explore how development processes occur in different ways and at different scales and levels, from global to local to familial. Our PhD students come from many different countries and go onto pursue academic, research or policy careers in the private sector, government and non-governmental organisations.  

The work of our PhD students seeks to understand theoretical, empirical or methodological gaps in their chosen area. Previous research topics include how to break away from primary exports and into producing value-added products. Other topics include the challenges of producing effective, equitable and transparency governance; state and market entanglements in health; equitable development of business groups; policy development for inclusive growth; and questions of gender justice.

All our research students also join one of our three research groups and are expected to play an active role in that community of interest.

Training opportunities

Under the guidance of your supervisor, you are encouraged to acquire disciplinary training relevant to your research question. King's is a member of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)-funded Doctoral Training Partnership, which offers a range of training opportunities for our PhD students. 

You are also encouraged to develop an enquiring appreciation of what other disciplines may bring to your field of study. Staff expertise includes political science, development economics, political economy, sociology, anthropology, management studies and development studies.

There are also some opportunities for registered PhD students to gain experience as paid teaching assistants on our International Development BA.


Apply to study PhD research in International Development

Once you've developed a general sense of the research project you want to pursue, please approach an academic in the department to see if they will act as your supervisor and help you to refine your project idea as necessary. You should apply only when they give you an "invitation to submit".

Once your application reaches the admissions office it will undergo the necessary checks and then your potential supervisor will arrange an interview with another member of staff, who will most likely be the second supervisor. Upon completing the interview, they will make their recommendations to the admissions tutor. You will be notified of the outcome by the admissions office.

When using the 'find a potential supervisor' link below please filter your search to just 'academics'.

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Why study with us?

Recently released data from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) shows that King’s is equal top in England (with Queen Mary, University of London) for its PhD completion rates. This means 86.8 percent of our full-time PhD starters qualify with a research degree within seven years, against a national average in England of 72.9 percent.

For best results, we suggest you explore our research expertise to ensure your intended project finds an appropriate supervisor.

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