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Course: DPhil International Relations

As a DPhil in International Relations I’ve often found the informal interactions with the other DPIR students very inspirational and valuable.


The DPhil programme is a full-time programme of doctoral research in the academic study of International Relations with an expected length of three to four years of full-time study or six to eight years of part-time study. Note that the part-time option is not a distance-learning programme; part-time students are required to attend face-to-face teaching in Oxford on up to three separate days each week during term.

You will have rich opportunities for connecting with fellow-students, postdoctoral fellows, and temporary and permanent academic staff involved in disciplinary and cross-disciplinary research programmes. The department attracts many of the world’s leading figures in International Relations (IR) - as visiting scholars, speakers in the regular IR Colloquium, and participants in research conferences and workshops.

All doctoral degrees will involve some taught components, including research methods. At DPIR we look to teach you how to be rigorous in your research methods, and support you to produce high-quality and enquiring, original research. 

How to look for information on the course

Further information about this course (including entry requirements) is on the University of Oxford International Relations DPhil course page

This webpage aims to give you a flavour of the International Relations DPhil and its student and alumni community. You can also explore International Relations research at DPIR, for an idea of the research that our academic community pursues.

Research examples

You can explore current Politics DPhil students research and profiles, with the ability to filter and view students who specialise in political theory or students who focus on comparative politics and government

Graduate stories

The DPhil in International Relations was an incredibly exciting opportunity to learn from outstanding scholars in the field, with a particularly broad range of different empirical and methodological outlooks represented.

IR DPhil students and alumni

International Relations has an outstanding placement record. The largest group of DPhil students go on to careers in academia or research. Many move on to post-doctoral fellowships in the UK, continental Europe and North America. Our doctoral students have a distinguished history of winning thesis and other prizes and of publishing their work in leading journals and with major university presses. The universities at which IR graduates have gained academic positions over recent years include: ANU, McGill, Waterloo, Sciences Po, Amsterdam, Groningen, The Graduate Institute Geneva, SAIS/JHU, ETH Zürich, The New School, Swarthmore, LSE, Oxford, Cambridge, King’s College London, University College London, Queen Mary London, St Andrews, Exeter, Reading, Warwick, PUC Santiago, and FGV São Paulo.

Oxford IR DPhils also work at all levels in many of world’s leading think-tanks and research institutes in Europe and North America but also in Brazil, South Africa, and Singapore. Others still have moved to achieve leading positions in the policy and political world. The department runs regular courses on professional training, including on interviews, research grant applications and academic publishing.

Applying to Oxford

Detailed information regarding the application process are available on the University's International Relations DPhil course page.

You are advised to review the profiles of academic staff before you apply as successful applications always depend on the DPIR's capacity to offer appropriate supervision. You must identify one or two potential supervisors and state their names in the ‘proposed supervisor’ field on your application form. However, you do not need to contact academic staff members before you apply.

Please read about funding options and find links to further University guidance on our graduate fees and funding webpage.