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PhD programmes


At Defence Studies, we are proud of our thriving community of research students who enhance our research community and culture. 

Our research degrees draw upon the expertise of a large and multidisciplinary department. Our acknowledged strength in the field of diplomatic and military history is complemented by world-class research into numerous aspects of contemporary and future warfare, such as security and defence policy, strategy, land, air and maritime doctrine and operations, proxy warfare, conflict termination, space power, and the relationship between artificial intelligence, military operations and conflict’ .

In addition, we offer tremendous expertise across a range of non-military subject areas such as regional and area studies, international security organisations, gender, war and violence, domestic and international terrorism, peacebuilding, political economy, and ethics. Such breadth of research offers our students the intellectual tools to expand and enhance their knowledge and understanding of all aspects of conflict, defence, security, and strategy.

We attract studentships from a variety of sources, including the ESRC and the AHRC, as well as the MacArthur Foundation, the UK Ministry of Defence and the US Department of Defense. We also offer studentships funded directly by the department. Our research students are supported through their affiliation with a number of research groups and themes, which sponsor seminars and provide opportunities for interaction with established researchers.

Expected Duration: - MPhil: two years FT, four years PT - PhD: three years FT, six years PT

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The Defence Studies Department offers Defence Academy PhD Studentships for civilian and military personnel.

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The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded London Interdisciplinary Social Science DTP (LISS DTP) awards postgraduate research studentships in the social sciences at three partner institutions – King’s College London, Queen Mary University of London, and Imperial College.

Find out more about LISS-DTP funding

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded London Arts and Humanities Partnership has up to 90 studentships per year available for postgraduate research students studying arts and humanities disciplines at King’s College London, London School of Economics and Political Science, Queen Mary University of London, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Royal College of Art, Royal College of Music, School of Advanced Study or University College London.

Find out more about LAHP funding

Before applying for an MPhil/PhD you will need to consider a potential supervisor. Please consult the academic profiles for more information on the supervisory interests of staff and make contact with them directly regarding your application. Only when you have an agreed supervisor can you progress to make a formal application through the Admissions Office.

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The Defence Studies Department is home to world-leading experts in their field



Our research has global impact and seeks to inform and innovate