PhD Cultural Politics

About the course

The PhD in Cultural Politics is an advanced research degree, awarded on the basis of a thesis and an oral viva voce examination. The primary purpose of the PhD is the preparation and presentation of a substantial piece of independent and original academic research, completed in three years if studying full-time and usually six years if studying part-time. There is also the possibility of early submission in cases where the student makes particularly rapid progress.

There is an enormously broad range of possible thesis subjects in cultural politics. This could range from questions of nationalism and populism, to problems of liberalisation and value change to the rise of the cultural left to culture wars to issues or those of political demography. Religion and politics is also within our purview. While the central interest is the modern West, those seeking to venture further back in time or explore non-Western societies are also welcome to apply. Given sufficient evidence to illuminate it, almost any thesis that involves a cultural and political dimension may potentially form an appropriate focus of study. The definition of the PhD subject is an iterative process, and it is usual for the candidate’s first thoughts on the topic to be modified in the course of the first year of study.

A large proportion of our PhD students are engaged in full-time study, but there is also an option for part-time study where this fits better with a student’s other commitments. Part-time study can be ideal for those who are looking to gain a postgraduate qualification without leaving employment and wish to develop their careers while they continue earning, or for those who are home-based for whatever reason and wish to develop their skills. All students are expected to engage with the academic life of the University, to attend skills-training meetings where these are relevant, as well as research seminars and workshops.

PhD students are expected to attend the fortnightly Politics of Cultural Conflict research seminar – and are encouraged to attend other seminars that may be relevant to their research. These provide an opportunity for PhD students to share their work with their peers, and to engage with visiting experts in their field. The seminar itself features a mix of staff and guest speakers covering subjects such as the origin and motivations of nationalism, rise of national populism, evolution of the cultural left, and increase in polarization and fragmentation in western societies and party systems.

The University of Buckingham PhD is intended to impart all the skills necessary for the student to work as an independent researcher and writer – skills that are valued by both academic and non-academic employers. But the PhD can be undertaken just as fulfillingly as an exercise in the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, and as a means of exploring areas of enquiry that are of particular interest to the student. A number of our most successful student researchers are those who take up doctoral study at the end of a successful career in a different field or profession.



Enquiries should be directed in the first instance to our Admissions Officer (London Programmes), Mrs Lin Robinson, at [email protected] or by telephone to +44 (0)1280 827514. It is usually also possible to speak with the Course Directors in your chosen area of research in advance of submitting your application: please contact Mrs Lin Robinson to arrange this.

Further information about the range of seminar topics and speakers for the coming year can be found in the downloadable brochure which can be found below.