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Research degrees
Research areas
Politics and international studies
British and comparative politics

British and comparative politics

Qualifications Duration Start dates Application period
(MPhil also available)
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
February and October January to April
PhD (MPhil also available)
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
Start dates
February and October
Application period
January to April

Politics and International Studies (POLIS) at The Open University has an international reputation for research in the areas of British and comparative politics. POLIS researchers work with regional and national governments, offer expert analysis on British political history as well as contemporary political affairs in British and international media, and work with international and non-governmental organizations and policy makers.

Within UK politics, supervision is available on the Prime Minister and the Core Executive, political leadership, Parliament, political participation, electoral campaigns, British political history, security and counter-terrorism, third sector and NGO politics, labour unions, social movements, and the politics of protest and dissent. We also supervise policy areas, drawing on the expertise from other departments, such as social policy, public bodies, local governance, third sector organisations, and social and environmental justice.

In comparative politics we have an interest in British, Italian, Iranian, Latin American, South Asian and American politics, but also focus on wider questions of global, regional and national governance. These include case studies and comparative research on democratisation, processes of democratic transition and consolidation, executive government, executive-legislative relations, electoral systems, populism, political parties, national party links with the European Union, transnational networks and citizen participation.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent). If you are not a UK citizen, you may need to prove your knowledge of English

Potential research projects

We welcome enquiries about PhD study in this subject area.

Potential supervisors

Fees and funding

UK fee International fee
Full time: £4,596 per year Full time: £11,666 per year
Part time: £2,298 per year Part time: £5,833 per year

Some of our research students are funded via The Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership; others are self-funded.

For detailed information about fees and funding, and to see current funded studentship vacancies across all research areas, visit Fees and studentships.


Westminster sign with Big Ben in the background

How to apply

Get in touch

If you have an enquiry specific to this research topic, please contact:

Filippo Boni – Postgraduate Coordinator
Email: FASS-Polis-PG-Admissions
Phone: +44 (0)1908 654534/654435

Apply now

If you’re interested in applying for this research topic, please take a look at the application process.