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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.

Support from the Graduate School

The Graduate School 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 Graduate School 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're considering a career as an academic.

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

PhD Plus

This is an enhanced PhD programme for individuals who already teach in universities outside the UK.

With PhD Plus you'll gain an insight into teaching within the UK's higher education sector during your PhD study, at no additional cost.

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English language support

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

ISLI also offers three doctoral thesis writing programmes in partnership with the Graduate School. These are available free of charge to international students.

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Disability support

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