The University of Kent's Brussels School of International Studies' interdisciplinary approach, cosmopolitan environment, firm theoretical grounding make it an ideal place to pursue a PhD by research and thesis.
A PhD (or doctorate), is awarded for a substantial piece of supervised research that is worthy of publication and makes an original contribution to knowledge in a particular field. Research students benefit from having a supervisory committee, including a main supervisor, to guide and support their research.
The PhD at BSIS is an independent project guided by your main supervisor who will have experience related to your chosen field of research. You will have regular meetings with your supervisor (at least monthly) for informal discussions as well as formal feedback on your work. The supervisor's role is to oversee your progress, give you advice as well as share any special areas of expertise.
Your progress is closely monitored by the supervisory committee to ensure you remain on track to produce a thesis of value to the academic community. You will be reviewed at regular interviews and this includes induction, probation, annual and submission review.
At BSIS, we hold weekly research seminars for all our PhD students and staff to attend. This is an opportunity to showcase your research and to exchange, debate and share ideas with fellow students and faculty staff. Each term, every student is required to present a piece of work which might be a research outline, results of a bibliographic search or a field trip report.
The research community at BSIS is a diverse, friendly and growing group who benefit from the interdisciplinary nature of the School and each student contributes significantly to this community as well as providing mentor and support to our taught master's student body.
PhD students and staff talk about PhD study at Brussels School of International Studies.
The University of Kent's Brussels School of International Studies (BSIS) is a specialist postgraduate centre offering advanced English language-based degrees covering the spectrum of international affairs. We host three academic schools of the University of Kent which allows students to specialise in one programme while informing their personal approach to international studies with another, via a secondary specialisation.
The broad selection of taught and research programmes available, ranging from politics and international relations to law, migration and conflict studies, means you can choose a degree that best reflects your interests. Degrees are full degrees of the University of Kent, and the University is also recognised by the Flemish Community in Belgium (NVAO) and Flemish Government. The University of Kent is the only UK university with a campus in Brussels.
BSIS is known as a friendly, diverse, and cohesive community of approximately 250 students from about 55 different countries. Students benefit from close access to professors, a research-active environment, and exposure to practitioners from Brussels-based organisations.
Home to the main institutions of the European Union and numerous organisations, such as think tanks, lobby groups, NGOs and multinational companies, Brussels is at the heart of Europe. You can earn a degree from a top 20 British university while enjoying unparalleled opportunities for networking, academic development and professional advancement facilitated by the School's excellent location in the 'capital of Europe'.
Fees for this and other Kent Postgraduate Politics programmes can be found on the Student Finance page.
Candidates must hold a bachelor degree, and a master's degree in a relevant subject at distinction level, including a distinction grade in the master's thesis.
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and relevant experience may also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information. Due to visa restrictions, students who require a student visa to study cannot study part-time unless undertaking a distance or blended-learning programme with no on-campus provision.
The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
Duration: 3 to 4 years full-time, 5 to 6 years part-time
Fees for this and other Kent Postgraduate Politics programmes can be found on the Student Finance page.
Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.
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In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, 100% of our Politics and International Studies research was classified as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ for environment.
Our research interests span a broad spectrum of the discipline, with particular strengths in the fields of conflict analysis and resolution, political theory and European politics. The strength of the School’s research culture is reflected in the numerous books and articles published and in the existence of its three core research groups: Conflict, Security and Human Rights; Comparative Politics; and Political and Social Thought. We also host four University-recognised research centres: the Conflict Analysis Research Centre (CARC), the Global Europe Centre (GEC), the Centre for Critical Thought (CCT) and the Centre for Federal Studies (CFS).
In 2011, the University successfully applied for ESRC recognition as a provider of doctoral training in political science and international studies (and other areas of the social sciences) as part of a consortium. As a result, we are now part of the South East ESRC Doctoral Training Centre, making us one of the key training outlets in our subject in the UK. Further details can be found on the South East DTC website.
Kent has been at the forefront of conflict negotiation and resolution for almost 50 years. The Conflict Analysis Research Centre brings together academics working on different aspects of conflict and security as well as PhD and Master’s students studying International Conflict Analysis, International Law and International Relations. Current research includes an investigation into how migrant communities can support peacebuilding in their home society and how South Africa and the UK treat refugees and security. The Centre is also at the forefront of trying to resolve actual conflicts – for example, it played a role in the Moldova-Transnistria peace process and has supported reconciliation efforts in Africa.
The Global Europe Centre is a pioneering research-led learning centre focusing on the study of Europe and its relations with the outside world. The GEC’s research focus is on contemporary policy challenges to Europe and its nation states, the engagement with policy-makers and policy-shapers is at the core of its activities. The GEC mission is to promote excellence, through innovative research and knowledge exchange and to facilitate research-driven impact through its learning and teaching activities. The GEC’s activities include dissemination of policy-relevant research via publications, research-led knowledge transfer workshops, conferences and public lectures, and keynote addresses by leading public figures. The Centre has a strong commitment to the creation of the next generation of ideas innovators and policymakers and pursues these through its learning, teaching and knowledge exchange activities and via the Global Europe Student Forum. GEC is an interdisciplinary research centre aiming to develop synergies across Politics and International Relations, Economics, Law, Business, History, and European Languages and Culture.
The Centre for Critical Thought is an exciting multidisciplinary initiative across both the Social Sciences and Humanities Faculties, co-ordinated by staff in Politics and International Relations, Law and Italian Studies. It enables staff and students interested in cutting-edge critical thought to discuss their work together and to explore the insights of interdisciplinary collaboration. In addition, it serves as a forum for distinguished lectures, seminars and an annual workshop. The Annual Kent Lecture in Political and Social Thought is the headline lecture series and recent speakers have included Professor Bernard Stiegler, Professor Chantal Mouffe and Professor William Outhwaite. All students interested in contemporary critical thought are encouraged to become members while at Kent.
The Centre for Federal Studies, officially launched in October 2005, is the only one of its kind in the United Kingdom and it welcomes expressions of interest from both students and established scholars in any branch of federal studies. The focus of the Centre’s activities is not only the established federations, such as the United States, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Germany and Austria but also the European Union (EU) as an emergent federal union together with those parts of the world where federal arrangements have the practical possibility to promote peace, justice and stability. The work of the Centre is consonant with world trends that indicate a renaissance of federal ideas, proposals and practices appropriate to the new age of justice as the recognition of difference, diversity and human rights.
Kent’s world-class academics provide research students with excellent supervision. The academic staff in this school and their research interests are shown below. Please note, it is possible for students to be supervised by a member of academic staff from any of Kent’s schools, providing their expertise matches your research interests. Use our ‘find a supervisor’ search to search by staff member or keyword.
Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.
The School of Politics and International Relations has a dedicated Employability, Placements and Internships Officer who works with students to develop work-based placements in a range of organisations. Centrally, the Careers and Employability Service can help you to plan for your future by providing one-to-one advice at any stage of your postgraduate studies.
Many students at our Brussels centre who undertake internships are offered contracts in Brussels immediately after graduation. Our graduates have gone on to careers in academia, local and national government and public relations. Others have joined their home country's diplomatic service, entered international organisations, or have chosen to undertake a ‘stage’ at the European Commission, or another EU institution.
At the Brussels School of International Studies, students also have access to the services of Key2advance, a dedicated careers service that provides students with assistance in developing skills and accessing the international job market. The weekly career workshops cover all aspects of the job market starting with rewriting your CV and cover letters to learning networking skills. This leads to a networking event during the Autumn Term that allows students to meet and network with employers and alumni.
Students have access to an excellent library and extensive computing facilities. You also have access to online resources; inter-library loans; video library; online book renewals and reservations; laptop and netbook loan facilities; more than 1,300 study spaces/seats; more than 27,500 books and 10,500 bound periodicals catalogued under politics and international relations and related class marks plus British Government Publications and 50,000 online journals also available off-campus. The School’s resources include a European Documentation Centre, with all official publications of the EU institutions, and a specialised collection on international conflict and federal studies as well as the University’s collection of political cartoons. In addition, postgraduate research students have their own designated room with 12 computer terminals.
Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Recent contributions include: Contemporary Political Theory; International Political Sociology; Journal of Human Rights; New Political Economy; Political Studies; Telos.
Kent's Graduate School co-ordinates the Researcher Development Programme for research students, which includes workshops focused on research, specialist and transferable skills. The programme is mapped to the national Researcher Development Framework and covers a diverse range of topics, including subject-specific research skills, research management, personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking and teamworking, and career management skills.
Learn more about the application process or begin your application by clicking on a link below.
You will be able to choose your preferred year of entry once you have started your application. You can also save and return to your application at any time.