For more information about International Relations at University of Kent Brussels School of International Studies, please visit the webpage using the button above.

The award
PhD

How long you will study
3 - 4 years

Domestic course fees
find out

How you will study
full-time

Course starts
January, September

International course fees
find out

All study options

About International Relations at University of Kent Brussels School of International Studies

Brussels is an excellent place to do doctoral research. Host to hundreds of international organisations, of which the European Union and NATO are the most prominent, PhD students do research literally around the corner of important places of decision-making. This offers an array of opportunities to attend conferences with high-level policy-makers, to consult the specialised libraries of institutions like the European Commission, or to interview diplomats. The Brussels School of International Studies (BSIS) seeks to create an environment not only of academic reflection, but also one where researchers and practitioners meet and exchange views. This creates a stimulating research environment for all topics in the broad field of international studies.

Degrees and practicalities

The University of Kent offers the following PhD degrees at BSIS:

  • PhD in International Relations
  • PhD in International Conflict Analysis
  • PhD in Comparative Politics
  • PhD in Political and Social Thought
  • PhD in Law

All programmes can be done full-time or part-time. New PhD students enrol either in September or January. Full-time PhD students can be registered for up to a maximum of four years on a doctoral programme, but are expected to submit their doctoral dissertation as soon as possible following the completion of the third year.

Research Seminars

At the heart of the PhD programme is the weekly research seminar (during terms). In these sessions one PhD student presents his/her research findings or latest chapter. Other PhD students and staff members give feedback. On a regular basis visiting researchers are invited to present at the research seminar. Because of the different PhD programmes and backgrounds of the academic staff, this fosters an interdisciplinary approach.

Study options for this course

  • The award How you will study How long you will study Course starts Domestic course fees International course fees
  • The awardPhDHow you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study3 - 4 years
    Course startsJanuary, SeptemberDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out
  • The awardPhDHow you will studyPart-timeHow long you will study find out
    Course startsJanuary, SeptemberDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out

Entry requirements

Applications to the PhD programme follow the regular procedure (see Admissions page), but also require the submission of a research proposal of around 3000 words. We recommend trying to align your research proposal with the research interests of one of our academics. It is not necessary to contact a supervisor before submitting your application.

In this proposal the candidate presents the research topic, research question and/or hypotheses, the theoretical framework and methodology envisaged, as well as a brief bibliography. Through the research proposal candidates demonstrate their research skills, their acquaintance with the field and its most salient debates. They aim to convince the Admissions Committee of their potential to make an original contribution to scholarship and of the feasibility of their research project. The research proposal is not a blueprint for the next years of research, but serves as a starting-point. In the interaction between supervisors and students, it will inevitably undergo change.

The following documents need to be submitted:

  • Application form
  • University transcript(s)
  • Letters of reference
  • Proof of English (where applicable)
  • Personal statement
  • PhD research proposal of 3000 words

While there is no strict deadline, it is recommended to submit the application a couple of months before the date you wish to start the PhD programme (September or January).

For entry, we generally require a bachelor and master degree in a relevant field with a strong academic performance. All applications will be evaluated individually and entry is dependent on strong academic merit and a relevant research proposal.

What students think about University of Kent Brussels School of International Studies

    MA International Migration Student

    "I’m enrolled in the MA in International Migration and enjoying studying again in a different environment. I’d previously been working in Paris with Roma migrants, specifically working on a project of access to education for Roma children living in the makeshift camps around Paris. This project was a serious challenge having recently graduated (LLB in Law and European legal studies from Aberdeen in 2014), but it was a fantastic learning experience of hands-on work. Having developed new skills in project management and human rights issues around migration I thought about pursuing my studies further to gain a global understanding on migration issues. 

    I was a little anxious at the idea of hitting the books again, especially from a political science perspective. However, bringing this experience into this Masters has been great and so many of the students have different backgrounds, professionally and academically, which makes interesting discussions!

    Life in Brussels and at BSIS has been great so far. The diversity in this city is amazing, whether at school or outside of it. Being at the heart of the European Union, there’s always something going on. I could definitely get used to this!"

    Lucie Thomas, United Kingdom

    MA International Development Student

    "I am enrolled in the International Development Master. After finishing my Bachelor’s in Law and Political Science, I worked in an international legal NGO based in Spain and at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva as human rights consultant. I chose this Master program because it links my interest fields, human rights, development, and gender. The International Development Master is, without doubt, providing me new views and approaches to the many topics of international development. I am sure that it will strengthen your critical thinking and challenge you in many ways."

    Alazne Irigoien, Spain

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