University of Reading cookie policy

We use cookies on to improve your experience, monitor site performance and tailor content to you

Read our cookie policy to find out how to manage your cookie settings

Academic support in the Department

You will be assigned a primary supervisor before you begin your studies who will provide you with guidance and support throughout your PhD. The exact working relationship between you can take many forms; this is something for you to work out together as your project develops.

You will also be assigned a second supervisor. They could be a co-supervisor if the project spans two areas of expertise, or more of an independent advisor, whose opinion you can draw on at key moments.

Research training

During your first year (for full-time study) you'll complete our research training modules. These give an overview of different methods of, and approaches to, research in politics and international relations. 

This will help you choose which approaches and techniques are appropriate for your own research. It also gives you an overview of, and enables you to be conversant in, methods and approaches from across the discipline. 

The training covers quantitative and qualitative methods, as well as critical and historical approaches. There is also training in philosophical issues in the social sciences.

Find out how we create an inclusive and supportive environment within the Department

Support from the Doctoral and Researcher College

The Doctoral and Researcher College is the University of Reading's hub for doctoral students, based in a dedicated building on Whiteknights Campus. It provides advice, training, study facilities and professional development for all doctoral students at the University.

The Doctoral and Researcher College is dedicated to ensuring you get the most out of your PhD and fulfil your potential as a researcher. It runs a number of programmes to help you develop academically and professionally, which are all included as part of your PhD at no extra cost.


Reading Researcher Development Programme

This training programme is designed to help you successfully complete your PhD and improve your personal effectiveness.

It includes sessions on writing skills, managing data, interviews and how to get your work published.

Leadership programme

Designed in partnership with Henley Business School, this programme is designed specifically for you to develop your skills in leadership.

You'll enhance your understanding, experience and practice of leading and have the opportunity to explore your own capabilities.

Preparing to Teach

Preparing to Teach equips you with the teaching skills you'll need if you are considering a career as an academic.

You will develop knowledge on effective teaching and learning, how to assess students' work and how to provide feedback.

English language support

Male student working on his laptop at a desk, wearing white headphones

If English is not your first language, our International Study and Language Institute (ISLI) can help you develop your academic English skills.

ISLI also offers doctoral thesis writing programmes in partnership with the Doctoral and Researcher College. These are available free of charge to international students.

Disability support

Close up of woman's hands spelling out a word in sign language

The University provides a number of support services for people who have accessibility or additional learning needs.

Wellbeing support

The University’s dedicated range of specialist support teams are here for you, whether you are on campus or studying remotely.

We also offer the Life Tools programme, a series of free talks designed by experts to help you take control of your personal and professional development.