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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.

Students on full time study are required to be in Durham during the University terms.  

Postgraduate students have access to a small IT room in the Al Qasimi building and all the specialist library collections in Durham. Language tuition is available as required. The School provides financial support for research students for printing and photocopying, as well as for conference attendance.

SGIA – a ‘world leading’ environment for research.

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 38% of the environment factors assessed as ‘conducive to producing research of world-leading quality’.

This puts SGIA in a select group of just 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.

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.

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

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.