Research degrees

As the UK's national humanities research hub, we offer a unique scholarly community in which to pursue doctoral research.

Our research students can take advantage of a varied and challenging research training programme, with general research skills training and research methodologies courses provided through the School and subject-specific training provided within the institutes.

The School is a member of the AHRC-funded London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP), together with King's College London and UCL.

PhD in Human Rights 

Research degrees in human rights are offered by Institutes across the School.

Institute of Commonwealth Studies 

The Institute of Commonwealth Studies has been supervising interdisciplinary doctoral degrees for a half-century, focusing increasingly on the Social Sciences, especially relating to Human Rights, Globalisation and Development, Politics, and Commonwealth History. Doctoral research supervision is available at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies in the following broad areas:

  • Human rights
  • Indigenous peoples
  • Ecocide
  • Genocide studies
  • The foreign and defence policies of Commonwealth countries
  • The politics, governance and development of South Asia
  • African politics, governance and development
  • Ethnicity: conflict and accommodation in plural societies
  • The Mediterranean and the colonial powers
  • Protection of refugees
  • Minority and Indigenous rights protection
  • Dynamics of armed conflict and forced displacement
  • Twentieth-century British and Commonwealth History
  • Globalisation, security and conflict
  • The Commonwealth as an international organisation
  • British Imperial history, including decolonization
  • European colonialism in comparative perspective
  • Post-colonial legacies in the Commonwealth and beyond
  • Non-governmental public actors, civil society and development
  • Local government and decentralisation
  • British and Commonwealth intelligence communities

For the research interests of the academic staff at the Human Rights Consortium, please click here

To make an application for a research degree, speak first to the manager of the Institute.  Your particular research interest may be able to be supported, even though it is not listed.

Research degrees can be completed on a full-time basis (up to four years) or on a part-time basis (up to seven years).

Before agreeing to accept you, the Institute will require you to submit a research proposal, so it is worthwhile having this drafted ahead of a formal application. Guidelines on drafting your research proposal.

Once in contact with the Institute, they will put you in touch with a potential supervisor. It is important that you discuss your outline research proposal with them, and that you feel that you can work together. Your supervisor will discuss any further development or re-focusing of your proposal before the formal application is taken to the Institute Research Degrees Committee for approval.

Institute of Modern Languages Research

Doctoral research supervision at the Institute of Modern Languages Research is available in topics including Exile Writing, Gender and Sexuality and Memory Studies. The Institute's research strength lies in its combination of the study of several language fields: French, German, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. The Institute is particularly well placed to offer supervision for projects that cross national and disciplinary boundaries.

Institute of Advanced Legal Studies

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies offers doctoral research supervision in the area of Human Rights Law.