Citizenship, democracy and social movements

Qualifications Duration Start dates Application period
(MPhil also available)
Full time: 2–4 years
Part time: 3–8 years
February and October January to April
PhD (MPhil also available)
Full time: 2–4 years
Part time: 3–8 years
Start dates
February and October
Application period
January to April

Politics and International Studies (POLIS) at The Open University has an international reputation in the transformative field of Citizenship Studies, a rapidly developing and influential area of social science. POLIS researchers have been at the cutting edge of this field for over a decade, exploring the relationship between citizenship and the politics of migration, the formation of new political subjects, and even problematising the idea of citizenship itself.

Researching citizenship, democracy and social movements involves critical questions of rights and duties, entitlements and obligations, justice and fairness, gender and ethnicity/race, inclusion and exclusion, human rights, protecting the vulnerable, migration, asylum and identity. We encourage applicants who can contribute to this new wave of critical citizenship studies as well as to the transnational and comparative analysis of emerging citizen subject positions (such as indigenous, feminist, postcolonial and ecological citizenship as manifested in local and global movements).

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 supervisors

Fees and funding

UK fee International fee
Full time: £4,712 per year Full time: £11,958 per year
Part time: £2,356 per year Part time: £5,979 per year

Research students can apply for funding via the Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership with Oxford and Brunel, or the Open-Oxford-Cambridge DTP in collaboration with Oxford and Cambridge universities. The Citizenship Studies pathway of the Grand Union DTP is hosted within the Department. Alternatively, many of our students are self-funded.

For detailed information about fees and funding, visit Fees and studentships.

To see current funded studentship vacancies across all research areas, see Current studentships.


Women at a protest holding up a placard

How to apply

Get in touch

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

Dan Taylor – Postgraduate Coordinator
Email: FASS-Polis-PG-Admissions
Phone: +44 (0)1908 653534/654435

Apply now

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