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We are big enough to make a difference, but small enough to know our students as individuals.  Our close-knit community is made up of staff and students from all over the world who all bring their own rich perspective to our Department. 

Life as a PhD student

When you study with us, you will engage with other researchers who are passionate about advancing understanding in the field and addressing the biggest issues facing the world today.

As well as mixing with other PhD students and having regular contact with your supervisors, you will also work alongside a group of postdoctoral researchers who have recently completed their PhDs. 

While working on your research independently, you will also be able to attend seminars and workshops in the Department. You can take steps to prepare for an academic career by taking up research training and opportunities to teach.

Beginning a PhD is a daunting task, but the Department of Politics and International Relations has helped enormously by making clear the process and the requirements, and helping me to break it down into manageable constituent parts.
Jamie Draper
PhD Researcher of the Year Winner 2019

Presenting your work

Over the course of your PhD you'll have opportunities to communicate your work and network with other researchers. You can present seminars, speak at conferences and workshops, and visit or host researchers from elsewhere.

We have a weekly student-run PhD seminar and an annual conference, both of which provide students with the opportunity to present work-in-progress. 

All our PhD students are also welcome to attend the weekly departmental seminar, where visiting academics present world-leading research. There are also more specialist reading groups and seminars organised within our three research clusters in comparative politics, international relations and political theory.

We strongly encourage you to attend conferences and other events to widen your network of contacts. We provide assistance with arranging travel and accommodation.

Engage with the wider doctoral community at Reading

As a PhD student at Reading, you'll have access to the Doctoral and Researcher College, which brings together the University's large doctoral community.

At the heart of this is Old Whiteknights House, a dedicated facility that provides space for you to work and network with other PhD students across a variety of disciplines.

The Doctoral and Researcher College coordinates a range of activities, including the annual Doctoral Research Conference, an event that showcases the variety and excellence of postgraduate research taking place at Reading.

Another event that celebrates academic excellence is the Graduate School's annual public lecture – the Fairbrother Lecture – which is delivered by a current or recent PhD student. 

Learn more about the Doctoral and Researcher College


Athena Swan Bronze Award

The School of Philosophy, Politics and Economics is thrilled to announce that it has received an Athena SWAN Bronze Award! The award recognizes the School’s work to advance gender equality and commits us to continuing our efforts through a 5 year action plan. 

Please visit our Wellbeing, Inclusion, Diversity and Equality pages for more details on our current efforts and plans, including the implementation of our five-year Athena SWAN Action Plan and a School Race Equality Review.


How we support you

You'll receive support from our Department as well as the Doctoral and Researcher College, which is the University of Reading's hub for all doctoral activity. 


Life in Reading

Reading's bustling town centre has strong transport links to London and the south east. London and Oxford are both just 25 minutes away by train, where you have access to great research resources and a wide variety of speaker meetings and other events.

Joseph O Mahony

Dr Joseph O'Mahoney's story

My next detailed piece of work revolves around India’s violation of the norms enshrined in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Dr Joseph O'Mahoney, Lecturer in Politics and International Relations