Skip to main content
KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico

PhD Programme


We’re proud of our thriving community of research students, who enhance our research output and develop and contribute to our  impact and engagement work.

Research in the Defence Studies Department (DSD) is reflective of the diverse interests of our staff members and postgraduate students. It covers military, naval, diplomatic and imperial history, international relations, defence and regional security policy studies, strategic studies, and the ethics of conflict. This wide range of topics is united by their relation and relevance to contemporary security and defence issues.

Indeed, DSD’s unique position, an academic department based at the Defence Academy, heavily influences its research. At the heart of security and defence education in the United Kingdom, it is able to draw on the experiences and knowledge of a not only UK officers, but officers from a wide range of allied nations. The Department’s research is therefore able to benefit from and influence defence thinking and policymaking not just in the UK, but also across the world.

PhD students are a vital element of King’s research community and culture, adding considerably to research productivity whilst providing role models for those undergraduates who are considering studying for a higher degree.

Since 2011, we have run our own postgraduate research programme. 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. All students have access to King’s ESRC Doctoral Training Centre.


One of the obvious advantages of undertaking doctoral studies in the Defence Studies Department (DSD) is the interdisciplinary nature of the department and the wide range of methodologies practiced by staff and students alike.

My last 18 months with the Defence Studies Department have been unparalleled in terms of receiving academic guidance while conducting field research to support my thesis work. I could not have participated in so many incredible research and professional development opportunities without the support of the Defence Studies Department, as well as the remarkable encouragement from my supervisor.