KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico

Leadership Studies with reference to Security & Development PhD, or option of joint PhD with University of Pretoria.

Apply now


The African Leadership Centre offers two new exciting PhD programmes: PhD Leadership Studies with reference to Security & Development, at King's College London; and a Joint PhD option PhD Leadership and Security studies, with the University of Pretoria.

Our PhD programmes offer supervision for MPhil/PhD research investigating the interaction between leadership and the security-development nexus, with a focus on developing countries. While development and security are strong fields of study in the UK, there is little in the way of dedicated academic study of the way these interact with leadership, particularly at the conceptual level. Yet there is latent acceptance of the significant role that leadership plays in both development and security processes and outcomes. This MPhil/PhD programme provides the academic space, support and training for students to interrogate these dynamics to produce knowledge that focuses on these issues. The African Leadership Centre is at the forefront of researching this nexus between Leadership, Security and Development.

Students can draw on academic expertise in a range of disciplines, and supervision may be provided from within the Institute or jointly with other faculty within the College. Staff at King's research interests include:

Professor ‘Funmi Olonisakin
• Discourses on the “edge” of global security
• Transnational security complexes
• Gender and Security
• The leadership role of regional organizations and the United Nations in sustaining peace
• Reframing narratives of peace and state building in Africa

Professor Abiodun Alao
• Emerging Powers and Global Leadership
• The Politics of Natural Resources Management
• Religious Radicalisation and Political Violence
• Politics, Security and International Relations in Africa

Dr. Eka Ikpe
• Developmental states
• Development planning
• Agriculture, mineral resources and industrialisation in development processes
• Regionalism and economic development
• The United Nations/ regional organisations and peacebuilding
• Women, peace and security
• Security sector governance, reform and transformation

Dr. Olaf Bachmann
• African Standby Force
• Civil–military relations in francophone Africa
• The African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA)
• State-building in Central Africa

Joint PhD available: There are also exciting opportunities to gain a joint PhD in Leadership and Security Studies with the University of Pretoria. This programme is awarded jointly by King’s College London and the University of Pretoria. This programme brings together expertise from both institutions in Leadership and Security studies to offer students a rich international research educational experience.

Key information

Duration 3-4 years f/t or 6-7 years p/t

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Further details

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy

Department African Leadership Centre



Explore campuses

Welcome to King's

In the heart of London

Discover the advantages of studying at one of the top 25 universities in the world and take a look at our central London campuses.

Watch more videos

Course detail


Research Profile
• Current number of academic staff: 4
• Current number of research students: 4
• Visiting Professors: 2
• Visiting Senior Research Fellows: 3
• Visiting Research Fellows: 3

Recent publications
• Security Sector Transformation in Africa
• Mugabe and the Politics of Security in Zimbabwe
• Women, Peace and Security: Translating Policy into Practice
• Deep History and International Security: Social Conditions and Competition, Militancy and Violence in West Africa
• The Development Planning Era and Developmental Statehood: The Pursuit of Structural Transformation in Nigeria
• Islamic Radicalization and Political Violence in Nigeria
• The United Nations Peacebuilding Commission: Problems and Prospects??
• Security in Post-Civil War Democratic Transitions in Africa
• Natural Resource Management and Human Security in Africa
• BRICS and African International Organisations

Current research areas and topics include the following
• Leadership and Peacebuilding: Conceptual relationships; and the role of outliers
• The political economy of peacebuilding in Africa
• Reframing narratives of peace and statebuilding in Africa: The role of political settlements [case studies: Ethiopia, Rwanda, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Sierra Leone]
• China’s Role in African Development: transforming development lessons into development catalysts
• The practice of leadership: Analysing practitioners’ reflections on peacebuilding – Action research project with leading peacemakers in African conflicts
• Leadership and Security in Nigeria
• Resilience Innovation: Studying resilience to violence and insecurity in Africa

Partner organisations
• The African Leadership Centre is in close partnership with the Institute for Development Studies at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. The institute has also partnered with the Social Science Research Council of New York, University of Pretoria South Africa and the University of Yaounde, Cameroon.
• The ALC also has long-term collaborations with:
• African Gender Institute, University of Cape Town
• African Security Sector Network (ASSN)
• African Union
• Centre for Policy Research and Dialogue in Ethiopia
• Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS)
• East African Community (EAC)
• Geneva Centre for Security Policy
• International Institute for Strategic Studies
• International Peace Institute, New York
• Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria
• Organisation for Social Science Research in Eastern
• and Southern Africa (OSSREA)
• Southern African Development Community (SADC)
• United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations

In addition, the African Women’s Development Fund, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Open Society Institute in New York, have supported the ALC.

Joint PhD Award Programme: The Joint PhD prorgamme PhD Leadership and Security studies is offered alongside the University of Pretoria, one of ALC's long-established partners. Students on this programme will have joint supervision under academics from both institutions, and will spend up to one full academic year studying in Pretoria. 

Course study environment

In addition to the PhD programme, the African Leadership Centre offers MSc Leadership & Development and MSc Security, Leadership & Society. Scholars will therefore be part of an active and dynamic research community thoroughly engaged in these issues in addition to gaining credible access to an authentic end user community. This programme offers students unique opportunities to engage academics, practitioners and policy makers within the vibrant ALC network.

Postgraduate training

We offer regular methodology seminars for all post-graduate students. In addition, students are encouraged to audit relevant MA modules at the ALC and across College, and can take dedicated doctoral training courses run by the KISS-DTC. We also host regular seminar events throughout the year.

Head of group/division

 Professor 'Funmi Olonisakin


Contact for information

For PhD Leadership studies at King’s:

Professor Abiodun Alao

PhD Admissions Tutor

ALC tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 1984


For Joint PhD option with University of Pretoria:

Dr Eka Ikpe

Academic Lead for Joint PhD

ALC tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 1984

Contact email


Course website


Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Document checklist
Minimum requirements   A Master's degree (or international equivalent) is usually required. In exceptional circumstances only, a Bachelor's degree with 1st class or high 2:1 honours (or international equivalent).
International requirements   Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
 English Language requirements Band B Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.


Application procedure

The heart of your application is your research proposal. This proposal should be a document of no more than 4-5 pages. We encourage you to contact the ALC PhD admissions tutor with a draft research proposal before submitting a complete application through the online system.

Applicants should also submit a personal statement outlining their reasons for pursuing further research.


Joint PhDs - Application advice

Applicants for the Joint PhD programme must contact the relevant departments at both universities before submitting an application in order to discuss the suitability of their topic for the joint programme and to locate potential supervisors. Applications should initially be submitted to the proposed home institution only, i.e. where the student will start and finish their programme. Students should note that acceptance onto the programme may take slightly longer than for single-institution PhDs because of the additional steps involved. Further details, including FAQs, can be found on the King’s Worldwide web pages.

 Applicants who choose King’s as their home institution should apply through the online system, selecting the appropriate joint PhD option from the drop-down list. In addition to the standard supporting documentation, applicants should submit a Travel Plan form indicating how they intend to divide their time between the two partner institutions. Students must spend a specified amount of time in each institution, details of which can be found in the ‘Notes’ section of the Travel Plan form.

It is recommended that students submit applications for the Joint PhD programme by the end of March to begin the following September.

Personal statement and supporting information

A personal statement of up to 4,000 characters (maximum 2 pages) is required.

Application closing date

The deadlines for applications are detailed below. We will open applications for an intake in 2020 after the final deadline passes in 2019.

  • January 2019 entry – 26th October 2018 for International students and 3rd December 2018 for Home/EU students
  • October 2019 entry – 26th July 2019 for International students and 30th August for Home/EU students
  • January 2020 entry – 25th October 2019 for International students and 2nd December 2019 for Home/EU students

Please note that funding deadlines may be earlier.

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

Preparation courses

Fees and funding

UK/EU Tuition Fees 2018/19

Full time tuition fees: £5,000 per year

Part time tuition fees: £2,500 per year

UK/EU Tuition Fees 2019/20

Full time tuition fees: £5,300 per year

Part time tuition fees: £2,650 per year

International Tuition Fees 2018/19

Full time tuition fees: £18,740 per year              

Part time tuition fees: £9,370 per year

International Tuition Fees 2019/20

Full time tuition fees: £19,850 per year              

Part time tuition fees: £9,950 per year

For those undertaking the joint PhD with Pretoria option, if selected your home institution at King’s College London, the above full-time fee arrangements remain the same throughout the course of the programme. Please note that the part-time option is not available for the joint PhD, it is a full-time only programme.

Students starting their programme in 2019/20 who are eligible to pay EU fees will pay the same rate of tuition fees as UK students. This will apply for the duration of their programme, but may be subject to change by the UK Government for subsequent cohorts from 2020/21.

These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.

Career prospects

Graduates from this programme are well suited for academic employment, in addition to private sector consulting organisations, NGO’s, and government employment both in the UK and internationally.

Career destinations

Further information coming soon.


Next steps

View our postgraduate guide

Learn more about postgraduate degree programmes at King's. Download or view our guide in PDF format.

Download guide

View online

Sound like the course for you?

Apply now

Explore King’s

Accommodation Take a look at our comfortable, safe residences to suit your budget, located close to King's teaching campuses. 
Student life Art, food, music, shopping – you'll never find yourself with nothing to do in the world's most vibrant city.
Extra-curricular Discover the huge variety of extra-curricular opportunities at King’s, from MOOCs to language courses.
London living With four campuses by the River Thames and one in south London, King's is right in the heart of the capital.