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PhD research

We offer supervision for PhD research degrees relating to contemporary China and draw on academic expertise in a range of disciplinary departments across King's.

Supervision may be provided from with the Institute or jointly with other staff at King's. There is also an option of a joint PhD with our partners, Hong Kong University and the National University of Singapore.

MPhil/PhD awards

Qualification(s): MPhil  PhD 
Duration: Expected to be MPhil two years FT, three years PT. PhD three years FT, four-six years PT. Normal start date September but students may commence at other times by arrangement.

We are interested in particular in political economy, political science of contemporary China, Chinese international relations, and China and its natural environment.

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Why I began my PhD research

When Jiabao began her studies at the Lau China Institute, she never imagined it would lead her to a career in academia. After completing a China & Globalisation MSc, she pursued PhD research, which led her to northern China.

Why choose your PhD with us?

Our well-trained academics are enthusiastic, well-connected and passionate about their own cutting-edge research. This ensures that our research expertise is very wide and that we can supervise students working on most aspects of contemporary China.

In your first year, you will meet with your first supervisor every two weeks. These frequent meetings will help you make rapid progress towards the upgrade. Thereafter, you and your supervisor will agree on the frequency of meetings, which will be anywhere between once every two to four weeks, depending on the research phase you are in. You will therefore be in close contact with your supervisor throughout your entire degree.

Our four research clusters (society and politics; history and literature; governance; and economics) run regular staff-PhD student reading groups, which enable you to broaden you knowledge and expertise. Here you will have a chance to discuss key themes of your discipline with fellow PhD students and widen your knowledge of the field beyond the narrow confines of your thesis research.

We run regular research seminars. All students participate in these seminars and there are opportunities to socialise afterwards. You will be given the opportunity to present a paper in the seminar series as your research progresses. As a new PhD student, the seminars offer a chance to meet your peers, hear about new research, and participate in debates.

In the first year, you can audit any taught modules at King's (subject to the course convener's approval), which will allow you to expand your knowledge. This is an excellent way to learn about new areas you have previously not studied. It will also enable you to observe how lecturers teach and thus prepare to teach yourself one day.

We offer funding to PhD students giving papers at academic conferences or conducting fieldwork. In addition, we have set up a list of other funding sources and your supervisor will support you in your applications for external funding.

King's provides in-depth research methods training. The King’s Doctoral Training Centre offers a wide range of different disciplinary training courses, including qualitative and quantitative methods, as well as personal and career development.

At the English Language Centre you can take specialist language courses aimed to help you improve and refine your academic English. Our Modern Language Centre also provides tailor-made classes to help you develop your foreign language skills, in Chinese or any other foreign language.


Apply to study PhD research in contemporary China

Email your research proposal (between a minimum 1,000 to maximum 1,500 words) and a 2-3 page CV (including academic grades obtained) to our Admissions Tutor for consideration. In your email, identify potential supervisors in our department with expertise in the area you wish to focus on in your doctoral studies.

If our Admissions Tutor encourages you to apply, you will need to submit an online application via the application portal 'King's Apply'.

Applying online makes the process easier and quicker for you, and means we can receive your application faster and more securely.

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