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School of Government & International Affairs

 School of Government & International Affairs

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A landmark agreement signed recently between Durham University and Qatar University’s College of Arts and Sciences (QU-CAS) will see the initiation of a dual award PhD in Gulf Studies. The Dual award PhD gives students an additional degree option of spending time at both institutions and receiving co-supervision of their thesis. The Vice-Chancellor of the Durham University, Professor Stuart Corbridge, and the QU President Dr. Hassan Al-Derham, signed the agreement at Durham University.

SGIA Staff at Winter Graduation

Celebrating Graduation

As SGIA postgraduate students celebrated the award of their degrees at Congregation on 14th January, we were delighted to be able to award a cash prize and internship on behalf of Guardian Global resources Ltd to Damien Pezza for his dissertation on "Bringing the Algerian civil war back to France: torture, protest and the French defeat".

Further details can be found via our News links.

The School invites applications for The Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships

Early Career Fellowships aim to provide career development opportunities for those who are at a relatively early stage of their academic careers, but who have a proven record of research. The expectation is that Fellows should undertake a significant piece of publishable work during their tenure, and that the Fellowships should lead to a more permanent academic position. Applications will be considered in all subject areas with the exception of research that is of direct relevance to clinicians, medical professionals and/or the pharmaceutical industry.

For more information on the scheme and details on the eligibility criteria please see Leverhulme’s website at:

For information about the timetable and process at Durham University click here.

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) results confirm that 71% of SGIA’s research is either ‘internationally excellent’ (3*) or ‘world leading’ (4*) – the top two categories.

SGIA achieved especially strong results for the impact of its research amongst non-academic research users, including government, civil society and industry, with 73% of its research impact rated 3* and 27% rated 4*. Research impact case-studies focused on SGIA’s research contribution to developing UK foreign policy towards the Persian Gulf; UK and international asylum and immigration policy; and capacity building in the fast-growing global Islamic finance sector.

Ratings for SGIA’s research environment – its support for doctoral and early career researchers, its research income generation and its strategy and process for supporting established researchers – was even more successful. 63% of the environment factors were rated as 3* and 38% as 4*. This confirms SGIA’s position as one of the UK’s best locations for starting and developing a research career.

Welcoming the results, Head of School Professor Emma Murphy said, “It is really rewarding to see the impact of our research recognised in this way. Academic research of the highest quality produced in SGIA is helping address important practical challenges in public policy.”

The REF is the largest regular assessment of the quality of research by UK universities, with research outputs, research impact and research environment rigorously assessed by an international panel of leading subject experts and research users from government, civil society and industry.

SGIA returned the vast majority of its research staff for assessment – 73% — reflecting the standing of Durham University as one of the leading research intensive institutions in the UK.

Durham University’s overall performance was also notable. Professor Claire Warwick, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), said: “Durham University research was almost universally assessed as being of international quality. These results confirm that Durham is an international research powerhouse carrying out a breadth of excellent research which has proven and wide-ranging societal impact internationally, nationally and regionally.”

Professor Ray Hudson, Acting Vice-Chancellor, Durham University, said: “The results of REF 2014 are another indication that students at Durham are taught by some of the best academics in the world. Their research informs their teaching to give them a world-leading education, making our graduates among the most sought after by international employers.”

More information on Durham University’s performance in the REF2014 is available at

Durham's School of Government and International Affairs (SGIA) combines a long tradition of expertise in a wide range of fields in politics, political theory, political economy, and international relations with a depth of specialisms in regional expertise - Europe, East Asia, USA, the Middle East and wider Muslim world. SGIA provides a unique environment for learning, training and research.

Why Choose SGIA

  • The QS World University league tables rank Durham in the world's top 100 universities for the quality of, and demand for, our graduates. The subject area of Politics and International Relations at Durham is ranked 51st for 2015.

  • SGIA is ranked 12th in the UK for world-leading and international excellence in research.

  • Durham University was rated the Number 1 University in the UK for student quality of life and employability in a comprehensive survey carried out by Lloyds Bank for several national newspapers. See for example: Quality of Life

  • Durham University is ranked 5th in the prestigious 2016 Times Good University Guide with Politics in 11th position. Ranked 5th in the UK in the Complete University Guide with Politics in 7th position. In the Guardian University League Tables Durham is ranked 6th overall with Politics in 8th position. For postgraduate studies Middle East studies is in 3rd position.

  • We have a vibrant Postgraduate Community with students from 58 different countries.

Contact Details

School Office
The Al-Qasimi Building
Elvet Hill Road
Durham DH1 3TU, UK
Tel: +44 (0)191 334 5656
Fax: +44 (0)191 334 5661

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World leading research across all Durham University subjects

Durham Global Security Institute

al-Sabah Programme

Pakistan Security Research Unit