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.
Fees for this and other Kent Postgraduate Politics programmes can be found on the Student Finance page.
About the 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'.
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Politics and International Relations was ranked 15th for research power and in the top 20 in the UK for research impact.
An impressive 96% of our research was judged to be of international quality and the School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of research of international excellence.
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 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.
Kent has an excellent record for postgraduate employment: over 96% of our postgraduate students who graduated in 2015 found a job or further study opportunity within six months.
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.
Dynamic publishing culture
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.
Researcher Development Programme
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.
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 experience will also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country. Please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.
English language entry requirements
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.
Need help with English?
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.
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).
All members of staff can supervise theses leading to research degrees. We encourage potential research students to refer to our postgraduate research handbook (pdf) for detailed information.
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.
Conflict Analysis Research Centre (CARC)
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.
Global Europe Centre (GEC)
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.
Centre for Critical Thought (CCT)
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.
Centre for Federal Studies (CFS)
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.
Staff research interests
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.
Dr Albena Azmanova: Reader in International Relations
Political traditions and democratisation; globalisation and political identities; European integration.View Profile
Dr Tom Casier: Senior Lecturer in International Relations
EU as an international actor; EU-Russian relations; Russian foreign policy.View Profile
Dr Amanda Klekowski von Koppenfels: Senior Lecturer in Migration and Politics
Dr. Klekowski von Koppenfels' current research interests focus on the concept of diaspora and transnational engagement of migrants, in particular with respect to Global North migrants, although she remains interested in the phenomena more broadly.View Profile
Dr Yvan Guichaoua: Lecturer in international Conflict Analysis (Brussels)
The dynamics of insurgency formation; rebel governance and state responses in Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali and Niger since 2004.View Profile
Dr Bojan Savic: Lecturer in International Relations (Brussels)
Game theory; qualitative and quantitative research strategies in relation to conflict and development.View Profile
General additional costs
Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.
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