Dear Nino, I am planning to pursue an MA in Politics and my question is regarding the employment opportunities in this field, can you advise? =

Hello, thank you very much for your question and apologies in the delay getting back to you. My name is Emma from the Postgraduate Recruitment team, and I am replying on behalf of the mentor as they have not yet answered it.

Employability information for MA Politics can be found here:

Additionally, our on campus Careers Network can help with CV writing, interview prep and 1-2-1 meetings to discuss career options, as well as running careers fairs throughout the year on campus with employers from all over the UK.

If you want further information, at the bottom of the course page there is a ‘Make an enquiry’ button. Submitting a question there will send it to someone on the team, who will hopefully be able to help!

Best wishes,
PG Recruitment

Dear Nino, I have a question regarding PhD Political Science and International Studies - Distance Learning. How long do students study DL part-time and DL full-time at the University of Birmingham? What do you think about work during DL full-time research? Thank you in advance.

Apologies for getting back to you late and many thanks to Emma for replying on my behalf. I was seeking some advice from my colleague at POLSIS Dr Emma Foster and she advised same thing as what Emma had already mentioned above.

I can confirm that the distance learning PhD programme is 3 years full time (with the possibility of a 4th writing-up year) or 6 years part time (with a possibility of taking a further 2 years of writing up). This is the same as campus based students.

The expectation is that full time PGRs do not also have a full time job and we recommend that they engage in no more than 15hours paid work per week. Part time students can do their PhD alongside full time paid work (and often do). Again, this is the same for campus based students.

I do hope this helps but if you have any further questions please feel free to get in touch with Emma Foster directly:

Best of luck!

What made you decide to do a PhD?

Interest in my topic – nationalism and ethnic violence, as well as the urge to make a difference in my own way – by scholarly contribution to the ongoing conflicts in the part of the world that I study (former Soviet Union).

Are there any special facilities that you use?

A quiet place to work, a good computer, access to printing and copying facilities as well as good library resources are all a PhD researcher needs, I think.

How many times a month would you say that you visit the campus? Or do you work here?

I am now a member of staff at the department so I come in to campus daily. During my PhD years, I used to work mostly on campus; however, in the final writing-up period before the thesis submission, I was increasingly working from home mainly.

Have you attended any conferences? What was it like?

I attended numerous conferences both in the UK and abroad during my PhD studies. It was great to get feedback on my research as well as get some inspiration and do a bit of networking.

Are you involved in any student groups? What do they do?

I used to be very active in the first years of my PhD studies but towards the end before the submission of my thesis I was focusing solely on my PhD. However, there are numerous sports, dance, and other social groups at the Guild. I am sure there will be something of interest for anyone who wants to get involved.

Why did you choose Birmingham for your PhD?

It was the reputation of CREES as a leading language-based Area Studies department at the time that brought me to Birmingham in the first place. Scholarships that I received for my PhD studies as well as my supervisor’s interest in my topic were also key of course.

What’s the best thing about doing a PhD at Birmingham?

I would say the city itself really. Living in one of the most multicultural cities in Britain has allowed me to socialise and make friends with people from all kinds of backgrounds, which has further enriched my time here at Birmingham.

Have you done any teaching or demonstrating? What was it like?

I did a lot of teaching during my PhD studies. It was a great experience since I really enjoy teaching. I believe students can be very inspirational. Every time I taught I was reminded of why I was doing PhD in the first place.

I am interested in applying to the PhD program. At what point are the professors in the CREES department open to discussing research proposals? What's your advice for developing a competitive research question?

Thank you for your question. It’s great to hear that you are interested in applying for a PhD program and are considering CREES and POLSIS.
Everyone at POLSIS who is affiliated with CREES would be more than happy and open to discuss your research proposal. In fact, it would be very much advisable to identify a member of staff who would be well suited (based on their research background and interests and based on your research proposal and research interests) and willing to act as your future PhD supervisor. You can also contact a number of people at the department if you think more than one person falls within the scope of your research proposal (as a PhD student you would usually be assigned two supervisors – one lead supervisor and one co-supervisor).

In terms of developing a competitive research question (and research proposal), this would depend on your area of interest and expertise of course but generally it is always good to have a clear research question and also a strong methodology. What are you going to study and how are you going to study it during the 3-4 years of your PhD program. The clearer you answer to these questions, the better your proposal will sound. The more detailed information you provide regarding a particular theoretical framework you are thinking of using and/or the fieldwork you are thinking of conducting as part of your research, the better it is.