KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico

Politics Research MPhil / PhD

Apply now


Here at the Department of Political Economy we foster an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the interaction of people, ideas and institutions and how they shape the outcomes of political processes and government decision-making at global, national, regional and local levels.  Undertaking a PhD in Politics with us places you within a unique institution in which you will be part of a vibrant and growing set of world-leading scholars, who are committed to understanding the intertwining of politics and economics and applying those insights to solving problems at all levels of governance.

We have an open an inclusive research culture that encourages debate between the contesting theories, approaches and ideologies. Our vision of what political economy is lends itself to an interdisciplinary approach, and there is a wide range of methodological and theoretical approaches used across the department. This provides a stimulating environment for PhD research that fosters open-minded and critical scholarship.

Examples of current staff research projects

  • Anatomy of Disbelief: Explaining Polish Climate Scepticism - Dr Tom Maltby. Poland is widely perceived as the laggard of the EU in terms of energy transition and decarbonisation. This project explores why this is the case, bringing out the links between populism and climate policy and between experts and climate scepticism in public discourse.

  • Tolerance in Contemporary Muslim Politics: Political Theory Beyond the West – Dr Humeira Iqtidar. This project develops comparative insights into theoretical and political mechanisms of Tolerance in a contemporary Muslim context. It breaks new ground in studying tolerance by explicitly engaging with both empirical detail and theoretical constructions in Pakistan.

  • Politicising Europe: The Consequences of Electoral Politics for the EU’s Institutions and Decision-Making – Dr Christel Koop. This project explores the impact of electoral politics on legislative behaviour in the European Union. Against the backdrop of the EU’s increased politicisation, it asks how electoral politics “travels” across multiple levels, and how supranational actors respond to electoral cycles, public opinion and issue salience.

Examples of current PhD projects

  • Democratic Womanhood, Democratic Family, and the Preservation of Democratic Conditions in the Political Thought of Alexis de Tocqueville

  • Assessing the Europeanisation of electoral politics in EU member states following the Eurozone crisis

  • Towards a Moral Account of Political Obligation

  • Political sophistication and preferences in Southeast Asia

Partner organisations

DPE works with a number of partner organisations both within KCL and outside, helping to bring together scholars interested in a particular theme. These include Inside King’s: Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR), Centre for Conflict Security and Development (CSD), the Social Care Workforce Research Unit (SCWRU), and the King's Centre for Risk Management (KCRM). Outside King’s: Centre for the Study of Science Policy at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and the Faculty of Social Sciences, Hong Kong University.


Key information

Duration MPhil: 2 years full-time/3 years part-time. PhD: 3 years full-time/4-6 years part-time. Research degree registration may begin in September or January.

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Further details

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy

Department Department of Political Economy



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


All students on the doctoral programme are initially registered for an MPhil. At the beginning of the programme you will work with your supervisors to assess your individual training needs. You will use this to develop a personalised training schedule that draws on foundational and advanced courses made available to you through the King’s Centre for Doctoral Studies, the London Interdisciplinary Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (LISS-DTP) and the Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network. These courses will hone your academic skills and prepare you for the demands of your specific research project.

After around 12 months (or the part time equivalent), you will demonstrate that you are ready for formal upgrade to the PhD programme. This involves the examination of a substantial document that shows (i) you have identified an original and interesting research problem and (ii) you have the skills and expertise to tackle it within the time available.

You will be supported throughout your PhD by two academic supervisors, who will provide expert advice and guidance on your progress and your project. Your project will culminate in the submission of a thesis of up to 100,000 words in length. Full-time students must submit their thesis within four years of the start of their registration. Part-time students must submit within seven years.

Course study environment

Each student has two supervisors and meets regularly with both, though typically more frequently with the primary supervisor. The department provides office space and computer equipment on the Strand campus. The department runs seminars for PhD students on topics such as publication strategy, and to discuss actual research. PhD students are also encouraged to attend research seminars in DPE and related departments, and are expected to present at one such seminar in their time at King’s. Our large undergraduate programme offers opportunities for PhD students to earn money and valuable teaching experience. PhD students have the opportunity to spend part of their PhD working at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and at the National University of Singapore.

Postgraduate training

Students have full access to training opportunities at King’s via the King’s Centre for Doctoral Studies and the London Interdisciplinary Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership, depending on their needs. We are also a member of the Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network. These cover research training, research methods and wider issues such as publication strategy.

Head of group/division

The Post-Graduate Research Director is Dr James Scott, who can be contacted for specific enquiries. General questions about the application process should be directed to the Postgraduate Admissions Team.

Contact for information

Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office
tel: +44 (0)20 7848 7429
fax: +44 (0)20 7848 7200 

Contact email


Course website


Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Politics Research Entry Requirements
 Minimum UK requirements   Masters degree with at least a Merit including a dissertation mark of no less than 65% (UK marking scheme)
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

Our minimum requirement for entry is a good master’s degree in a relevant subject or practical experience in the field of study (these are only minimum requirements: competition for places is intense).

When you have a draft research proposal, please look at our research interests on the following website:


and contact ONE OR TWO supervisors at most, to ask if this is a topic they might be interested in supervising; please email them your CV and your draft proposal too. If you are not sure who to ask, please email james.m.scott@kcl.ac.uk. When you are ready, please apply via the Portal. At this stage, highly-ranked applicants will be invited to give further information and/or invited for interview.

If you are applying for King’s funding, the deadline is usually in early February, and you are encouraged to contact potential supervisors well in advance of the deadline – ideally by early January.

Personal statement and supporting information

Applicants are encouraged to approach potential supervisors prior to application. To identify a supervisor please see: https://kclpure.kcl.ac.uk/portal/en/

You will be asked to submit the following documents in order for your application to be considered:

Politics research checklist
Personal Statement Yes

A personal statement is required. This can be entered directly into the online application form (maximum 4,000 characters) or uploaded as an attachment to the online application form (maximum 2 pages).

Research Proposal Yes The proposal (up to 3,000 words plus references) should explain in some detail precisely the field of study that you want to contribute to and current research gaps, what you want to do and how you propose to do it. For advice on how to write a winning application, please visit the following page.
Previous Academic Study Yes A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing the subjects studied and marks obtained. If you have already completed your degree, copies of your official degree certificate will also be required. Applicants with academic documents issued in a language other than English, will need to submit both the original and official translation of their documents.
 References Yes Two references are required with at least one academic. Professional references will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago.
Writing Sample  Yes A sample of relevant written work, in English (e.g MA dissertation).
Other Optional You may also wish to include a CV (Resume) or evidence of professional registration as part of your application.

Course intake

No set number.

Application closing date

The deadlines for applications are detailed below. Please note that funding deadlines may be earlier. We will open applications for the corresponding intake in 2021 after the final deadline passes in 2020.

  • October 2020 entry – 31st July 2020 for International students and 28th August 2020 for Home/EU students
  • February 2021 entry- 23rd October 2020 for International students and 23rd November 2020 for Home/EU students

Applications for 2021/22 academic year will open from October 2020.

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 2019/20

Full time tuition fees:

£5,300 per year (MPhil/PhD) 

£5,300 per year (MPhil/PhD in Politics with National University of Singapore) 

Part time tuition fees: £2,650 per per year

International Tuition Fees 2019/20

Full time tuition fees:

£19,850 per year  (MPhil/PhD) 

 £19,850 per year  (MPhil/PhD in Politics with National University of Singapore) 

Part time tuition fees: £9,950 per year

UK/EU Tuition Fees 2020/21

Full time tuition fees:

£5,550 per year (MPhil/PhD) 

£5,550 per year (MPhil/PhD in Politics with National University of Singapore) 

Part time tuition fees: £2,780 per per year

International Tuition Fees 2020/21

Full time tuition fees:

£20,820 per year  (MPhil/PhD) 

 £20,820 per year  (MPhil/PhD in Politics with National University of Singapore) 

Part time tuition fees: £10,410 per year

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.


Next steps

Upcoming events

Full list of student events

View our postgraduate guide

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

Download guide

Order guide

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.