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School of Government & International Affairs

Research Postgraduate Degrees

Research students working for MA, MPhil and PhD degrees are especially well catered for within the School, with dedicated research support workshops offered. Supervisors have generally light teaching loads enabling them to devote more time to research supervision. Research students are encouraged to feel they are part of a research community rather than working in isolation. We have excellent completion rates, and many of our former research students hold senior academic and government positions around the world. The research findings of PhD students often result in published output, either by the graduates themselves, or through joint papers written with their supervisors.

Full time students are usually required to be in Durham during University term time.

Research students have access to:

  • a personal workspace in the School of Government and International Affairs,
  • a small Postgraduate-only IT room in the Al Qasimi building in addition to the general use IT rooms around Durham,
  • all the specialist library collections in Durham,
  • English and Foreign Language tuition, as required,
  • financial support for research students for printing and photocopying, as well as for conference attendance.

Why choose Durham University's School of Government & International Affairs?

  • 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 also separately ranked in the world's top 100.

  • Our teaching is ranked highly in all major UK University League Tables:

  • The School of Government & International Affairs is ranked 12th in the UK for world-leading and international excellence in research.

  • Durham University was rated the top 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

  • We have vibrant Taught and Research Postgraduate Communities with students from 58 different countries.


An 'internationally excellent' & 'world-leading' research environment

The School of Government & International Affairs (SGIA) has been recognised for its outstanding research environment in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) results, with 62% of the environment factors assessed as 'conducive to producing research of internationally excellent quality', and the remaining 38% assessed as 'conducive to producing research of world-leading quality'.

This puts SGIA in a select group of UK departments with 100% of the environment factors rated in the top two categories of 3* and 4*. The REF is the largest regular assessment of research activity in UK Universities, with departments subject to rigorous independent assessment of research by a panel of leading international experts. The next REF exercise is due to be undertaken in 2020.

A central element of the assessment is support for Postgraduate Research students and Early Career Researchers, such as post-doctoral researchers. The results confirm SGIA as a great place for anyone looking to develop their research career.

Further information is available about Durham University's performance in REF2014.


World leading research across all Durham University subjects

Postgraduate Prospectus 2017

Interested in postgraduate study? Click on the above image to register and download or you can listen to the Postgraduate Prospectus podcast.