A PhD is the most advanced form of postgraduate study. It is awarded on the successful completion of a programme of supervised research and is assessed by an oral examination and final thesis.
A MPhil requires research skills and training similar to a PhD yet its scope and complexity are less than that required for a doctorate. The MPhil is assessed by the submission of a thesis.
These programmes offer you the opportunity to acquire first-class methodological expertise, and, if desired, to apply this expertise to substantive research into a topic of your choice. You will normally need to take four clinics from the Method and Data Institute's (MDI) programme in your first two years (clinics are short intensive courses that teach the theory and practice of a particular research method).
Students without sufficient background in research methods may also be required to take additional taught modules in their first year, as decided by the Director of Postgraduate Studies in consultation with the student's supervisors. Normally, these will be chosen from the modules on research design, philosophy of social sciences, qualitative methods and quantitative methods offered by the MA Research Methods (MARM) consortium that jointly delivers MA training.
You will usually be supervised jointly by the MDI and one of the University's other schools or institutes appropriate to your research area.
Current research interests within MDI are outlined below. Although these are our main areas of research, expertise in other areas and disciplines can be provided through joint supervision from other schools or institutes.
Focusing on studies of measurement and operationalisation, complex data structures, research design, multivariate analysis and textual analysis.
Comparative social research
The MDi is involved in a number of large scale, EU-wide collaborative research projects about citizens, political parties, media, social movements and political institutions. These projects offer many opportunities for PhD research in international networks.
Political and social attitudes and behaviour
The MDI is linked to a number of large-scale projects that collect data about parties and voters in various contexts, each of which provides many opportunities for subsequent PhD research. Examples are the British Election Studies, European Election Studies, European Survey, the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems and the World Values Study.
Systematic analysis of text
The MDI develops and applies automated methods of content analysis to political text such as speeches and manifestos to determine topic, content, and the ideological positions of actors. Current projects focus on integrating methods from different disciplines, particularly discourse analysis, corpus linguistics, and statistical machine learning, into a cohesive framework for systematic social science text analysis. These methods offer rich possibilities for PhD research into political party dynamics, mass communication, and strategic role of political rhetoric in international contexts.
View our how to apply page for details of entry requirements and what to include with your application.