Politics and International Relations

I wanted to step back and reflect on the wider picture of the global economy, examining who the winners and the losers are, and as clichéd as it may sound, think about what a “fairer” global economy might look like

DPhil in International Relations


The DPhil in International Relations is a full-time, three year programme of doctoral study which is intended for students who would like to undertake detailed research in preparation for an academic career. If you are admitted to this degree, you will conduct your own research under the guidance of a University supervisor. You must be prepared to work on your own a good deal, and will need considerable personal motivation. You are required to have a good general knowledge of the field within which your research falls and of the methods appropriate to the study of this field.

You will be required to develop your research training skills in your first year attend via attendance at a series of courses and seminars. You can find more information about the first year under the Probationer Research Student heading below. In addition to the Department's graduate programme, you will find a very wide variety of seminars, lectures and workshops taking place all over the University, which touch upon all aspects of the discipline. You are expected to present your work at least once at an appropriate research seminar.


See here for information about Probationer Research Student Status.

The Thesis

DPhil - IR Theses

With the exception of those who complete the MPhil first, candidates for the DPhil normally proceed through Probationer Research Student status to DPhil status.
DPhil students are expected to present aspects of their work at the relevant research seminars at Oxford. This will help you to develop presentational skills, and to give and receive feedback. You are also encouraged to present your work at seminars, conferences etc. outside Oxford (e.g. PSA, APSA, ECPR etc.).
You may submit your thesis up to 12 terms after the date of your admission as a graduate student. Any additional time required beyond that must be applied for through the Graduate Studies Committee.
The maximum length of a DPhil thesis is 100,000 words, excluding the bibliography. This maximum is taken seriously and permission to exceed it is rarely given.

The examiners of a DPhil thesis are asked to certify that:

  • you possess a good general knowledge of the field of learning within which the subject of the thesis falls;
  • you have made a significant and substantial contribution in the particular field of learning within which the subject of your thesis falls;
  • it is presented in a lucid and scholarly manner;
  • you have presented a satisfactory abstract of the thesis.
  • DPhil examiners are asked to bear in mind that their judgement of the substantial significance of the work should take into account what may reasonably be expected of a capable and diligent graduate student after three or at most four years of full-time study.

Recent Successful DPhil Theses in International Relations

  • Constructing South East Europe: The Politics of Balkan Regional Cooperation, 1995-2003.
  • Reagan’s ‘Democratic Crusade’: Presidential Rhetoric and the Remaking of American Foreign Policy.
  • Transnational Activism and its Limits: The Campaign for Disarmament between the Two World Wars.
  • Passion, Politics, and the Past: The Role of Affect in U.S. Decision-Making during the Korean War.
  • Continuity and Change in Soviet and Russian Missile Defence Politics, 1969-2002.
  • Azerbaijan’s Foreign Policy: Perceptions and Strategic Choices of a Small State in Great Power Politics, 1991-2003.
  • Ruling Global Cyberspace: Institutions, Interests and Non-State Actors in the Creation of Rules for Electronic Commerce.
  • Russian Arms Transfers in the Post-Cold War Era: China, India and Iran, 1992-2002.
  • Explaining Change in Russian Foreign Policy towards the West, 1994-2004: The Impact of Collective Ideas.
  • Russia as an Aspiring Great Power in East Asia: Perceptions and Policies.
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