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Doctoral Programme in Political and Social Sciences

 

The Department of Political and Social Sciences (SPS) offers a four-year doctoral programme with specialisations in political science, sociology, international relations and social and political theory.

The Department places a strong emphasis on the theoretical and methodological tools required for Ph.D. research, and it favours a multi-faceted approach to research projects and doctoral theses, many of which cut across traditional academic boundaries. 

The Department also offers its researchers strong support with specific methodological issues such as comparative research design, statistical methods, and survey research.

Regularly ranked among the very top departments in political and social sciences in Europe, the Department is strongly connected, through exchange programmes and joint research endeavours, to numerous universities beyond the confines of Europe.

Doctoral supervision is a priority at the EUI, and prospective researchers for the  Ph.D. in Political and Social Sciences  are invited to explore whether their interests fit with those supported by the SPS faculty.

Information for Political and Social Sciences Ph.D. Applicants


To qualify for a national PhD grant , you must meet the specific requirements set by the national grant authorities. These may include conditions with regard to your nationality, residence, degree and its time of award.


The application for admission to the EUI doctoral programme is automatically an application for a national grant, with the following exceptions: GreecePortugalSlovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom. If you apply for a grant from one of these countries, your application to the EUI can ONLY be accepted if you separately apply also for the national grant by the deadline specified by the relevant grant authority.

EUI Contracting States


Grants and tuition fees for Ph.D. candidates are covered by the national grant-awarding authority for AustriaBelgiumCyprus, Denmark, EstoniaFinland, France, Germany, Greece,IrelandItalyLatvia, LuxembourgThe NetherlandsRomania, PolandPortugal, Slovenia, SpainSwedenUnited Kingdom.

 

Other EU Member States not adhering to the EUI Convention  


EU Member States Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta and Slovakia have not yet signed the EUI Convention. Consequently, there are currently no national grants available for PhD candidates from these countries.

Candidates from these countries may therefore be admitted under the EUI special doctoral fellowships programme, or on condition they are able to secure external sponsorship.

 

Associate Member States


Candidates from Norway and Switzerland may be admitted to the EUI under the Association Agreements.

Grants and tuition fees for doctoral candidates are covered by the national grant-awarding authority.

Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation "Grants for Foreigners" Programme


The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation awards grants to candidates from the following states: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Turkey.

Candidates from these countries do not pay the programme’s tuition fees.

 

Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation "North Africa" Programme


The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation awards grants to candidates from the following states: Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.

Candidates from these countries do not pay the programme’s tuition fees.

Other Countries


Candidates from countries that do not fit in with any of the above-mentioned grant programmes may be admitted under the EUI special doctoral fellowships programme, or on condition they are able to secure external sponsorship.

 

You must meet the minimum degree requirements set by the relevant grant authority:

  • Austria: Completion of university studies (Magister/Master’s degree)
  • Belgium: Master degree
  • Cyprus: Ptychion or equivalent degree
  • Denmark: Kandidateksamen
  • Finland: Ylempi korkeakoulututkinto/högre högskoleexamen, equivalent foreign degree
  • France: DEA (or Master) or equivalent to bac + 5
  • Germany: Completion of university studies and the qualifications required to study for a doctorate
  • Greece: Higher education degree (ISCED 6), and master’s degree or equivalent (ISCED 7)
  • Italy: Laurea (vecchio ordinamento); laurea specialistica /Masters (nuovo ordinamento) 
  • Latvia: Magistra grads vai magistra grada limenim pielidzinata izglitiba (Master's degree or education equal to a Master's degree)
  • Netherlands: Doctoraal examen or Master's degree
  • Norway: Master’s degree or equivalent degree
  • Poland: Master’s degree (magister or an equivalent degree)
  • Portugal: Licenciatura and qualifications required to study for a doctorate in Portugal
  • Romania: Candidates should have an undergraduate degree + a master degree (usually 3 + 2 years) or an equivalent qualification needed to study for a doctorate
  • Spain: Estudios de grado o licenciado y un master al menos de 60 créditos
  • Sweden: General entry requirements (According to the Swedish Higher Education Ordinance). A person meets the general entry requirements for third-cycle courses and study programmes if he or she: 1. has been awarded a second-cycle qualification. 2. has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second-cycle, or 3. has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.The higher education institution may permit an exemption from the general entry requirements for an individual applicant, if there are special grounds. Ordinance (2010:1064)
  • Switzerland: Master’s degree or equivalent degree
  • UK & Ireland: Good honours degree (min. Upper Second); preference to those with a Master's degree
  • EUI Special Doctoral Fellowships: Master or equivalent degree in an academic discipline relevant to the doctoral programme of the selected EUI Department and to the research proposal
  • Other countries: Diploma equivalent to the minimum qualification needed to study for a doctorate in a given country

English

The expected level of English proficiency is level C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). Applicants are required to submit an English international language certificate to demonstrate their level. Candidates who are English native speakers, or have a degree from a university programme entirely taught in English and who have written a thesis in English in such a programme, are exempt from submitting a certificate of English proficiency.

Applicants who submit a certificate with a test score below the threshold indicated hereunder may be conditionally admitted but will have to take English language courses during their first year. Sufficient progress in English language skills will be a criterion for admission to the second year.

The following international certificates of English proficiency are recognised by the EUI:

Type of certificateExpected test score, considered equivalent to level C1 of the CEFR  by the EUI
IELTS From 7.5
TOEFL (IBT) - EUI code 9408 From 110
Cambridge Proficiency A/B/C
Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) A/B

The certificate of English proficiency must be attached to the candidate’s application form and submitted by 31 January. Unofficial copies of the above mentioned English proficiency certificates are also accepted.

Candidates who are unable to provide a certificate by 31 January must attach a personal declaration to the application form stating the reason for this. Exemption from the requirement to submit an English international language certificate may be granted in the case of extenuating circumstances. Where the certificate of English proficiency is missing and the applicant is still invited for interview, he or she must take an equivalent English Language Assessment test at the EUI in addition to the interview.

Other EUI Working Languages

Applicants who need to be proficient for their specific research project in another working language(s) of the EUI (French, German, Italian and Spanish) which is not their native language, will be asked to take a spoken and written test when invited for interview.

See also: Language Tests

Applicants are selected for interviews on the basis of their academic record and their research proposal. Your research proposal shows that you are ready to write a PhD dissertation that can be supervised at the EUI. The proposal should outline the project that you wish to pursue in your PhD dissertation. It should demonstrate command of the state of the art in the field (with references to the literature) and of research methodology within the discipline, formulate a research question and include a short bibliography. Where appropriate it should also include the theory or hypotheses that will be examined or a description of the empirical content and sources of the research project.

The policy of the EUI is not to offer individual guidance and advice on dissertation proposals. You should not contact potential supervisors and ask them to support your application or to provide you with advice. You should instead read the information on research themes supervised by the department and by individual professors. In the application form and in your research proposal you can indicate one or more professors who you think could supervise your dissertation.

Please also consider the following points when framing your research proposal for studies in the SPS Department.

  1. You should identify a research question that you aim to explore and present your argument with clarity, while also attempting to demonstrate the feasibility of the project. Please remember that ours is a four-year programme and you will need to limit your subject, explain its rationale and clearly focus your research and writing.
  2. The title of your proposal should be well-defined and fully express its content. It is equally important to produce a good abstract, which will be included in the summary of your application file. Your abstract will be read first and faculty members will often decide on that basis whether to read your full application more carefully.
  3. You are expected to elaborate on the methods that you are planning to adopt in your thesis.
  4. The overall length of your proposal must not exceed 2500 words (including footnotes, references and bibliography). Longer proposals may be excluded from further consideration.

In addition to the general guidelines above, please also consult Guidelines for writing a research proposal for a PhD in the Department of Political and Social Sciences.

Please also note that you will be required to write a Short Abstract of your research proposal (max 1000 characters) directly on the online application form.

 

Before starting your online submission, prepare the required documents:

  • one or two page CV 
  • the research proposal of 2500 words (See above) 
  • degree transcript, issued by your university listing the exams/courses taken at university, grades/marks awarded and (if applicable) the final degree result (electronic size max 1 MB). Submit your transcript as a scanned file to the on-line application. If pertinent, you may attach more than one transcript from previous degree/s. Do not attach or send supplementary documents that are not strictly requested, such as the copy of your official diploma, traineeships diplomas etc.
  • International English language certificate (See Above)
  • Recommended: GRE general test scores (EUI code 7395 – Departmental Codes 2704 HEC - 5102 LAW - 2209 SPS) - The online or unofficial version of your GRE - Examinee Score Report - is acceptable. Candidates must directly upload the recommended GRE scores to the online application form.

Note that attachments must be PDF using standard international fonts (max size 1MB).

Do NOT use macros, special characters, password-protected attachments, electronic signatures or logos.

Information about References

References must be submitted by the deadline 31 January 2016.

Note for Candidates

Your referees will be contacted and will be allowed to submit the reference  only after you have completed and registered the first step of the online application form including the names and contact details of referees. In order to receive the references in time by the deadline 31 January, you should register the referee details as soon as possible . This is possible any time and you do not yet need to submit the final version of your application at that time.

When you register your referees' contact details in the online application form, an email requesting a reference on your behalf is automatically sent to the referees you have nominated. Nevertheless, it is your responsibility to contact referees directly to inform them of your request, to verify that they have received the email request and to ensure that they submit the reference by the deadline of 31 January. Please note that reference letters can be submitted by the registered referees (before the deadline) even after you have submitted your application.

Give the names of two referees on your application form. If you are applying to the Economics Department, specify three referees.

References must be submitted by academic referees (ie: Professors, Lectures etc.) who are in a position to give an academic evaluation of your research, intellectual qualities, ability and potential.

Letters of reference from current full-time or part-time EUI professors are not accepted except:

  • where the application is from a researcher already registered for an EUI degree (i.e. transfer from LL.M. to Ph.D.)
  • where the professor is a member of a different EUI department to the one where the candidate is applying, and who is able to comment on the academic qualities of the candidate

Note for Referees

At the moment when the candidate has registered the referee details, you as the referee will receive an automated e-mail with access details for submitting your reference letter online. You should give your opinion of the candidate's intellectual ability, knowledge in his/her field, motivation for research, capacity to work in a group, oral and written expression.

  • Referees may use their own reference format.
  • References should be submitted as PDF files. Please use standard international fonts, do not use macros, special characters, password-protection, electronic signatures or logos.
  • Do not send a hard copy
  • You may write in a language other than English, but English will guarantee the widest possible reading.
  • If in doubt contact  ReferenceRes@eui.eu

References are accepted until 31 January 2016. Kindly note that the EUI encourages candidates to apply and register their referees as early as possible: the EUI post-graduate application process is open from early November to 31 January. 

You must submit your application and all required documents via the interactive online application form.

The deadline for completing the application form and for the submission of references and all required documents is: Sunday 31 January 2016. Applications may be submitted until midnight  (24:00 – CET).

A Mock-Up Application Form containing a preview of the sections of the form and the requested information is available online:

There are two distinct phases in the application process:

1. Register as early as possible

You are encouraged to register, insert your personal and referee details as soon as possible. This is important to allow sufficient time for your referees to submit the reference letters before the deadline. Reference letters will not be accepted after the deadline 31 January 2016 (24:00 - CET).

2. Complete and submit your application by the deadline 31 January 2016 (24:00 - CET)

Once you have registered you may continue to work on you application (including required documents) until the deadline.  Submit the application only when you have filled in all the information correctly and have successfully uploaded the final version of the required documents. Please note that reference letters can be submitted by the registered referees (before the deadline) even after you have submitted your application.

By registering/submitting application, you give your consent for processing the data as specified in the Privacy Statement for Application and Selection Procedures for EUI Post-Graduate Programmes and in accordance with the EUI’s Data Protection Policy outlined in the President’s Decision No. 40 of 27 August 2013 regarding Data Protection at the EUI

Selection process and schedule

  • 2 November: Application procedure opens.
  • 31 January: Deadline for applications and references. Applications are screened for completeness by Academic Service. Professors of the Department check the application files and identify the most promising ones.
  • Early March: National pre-selection committees composed of grant authorities, EUI faculty and representatives of PhD students shortlist candidates for interviews for specific countries or groups of countries.
  • Mid March: Invitations for interviews for shortlisted candidates are sent by e-mail. Candidates who are not shortlisted are also informed by e-mail.
  • 4-7 April: Shortlisted candidates are interviewed in Florence by Departmental panels. Interviews for the LL.M. programme will take place on 11 and 12 April.
  • Mid April: EUI’s ‘Entrance Board’ decides which applicants will be offered admission on the basis of the Departments’ proposals. Candidates are informed of the admission results by e-mail.
  • May to July: Formal admission letters are sent by e-mail. Practical information for selected candidates is posted on the Academic Service's web pages. Reserve candidates may be contacted during this period if selected candidates withdraw.
  • End of August: Registration of new researchers.
  • 1 September: Academic Year begins. 

Selection criteria  

  • Academic record

National pre-selection committees have the expertise to interpret academic grades, degrees and rankings of departments and universities and make sure that comparable standards are used for assessing all applicants.

Candidates are expected to have sufficient background in theory and research methodology relevant to their discipline and research project.

  • Quality of the research proposal

The originality and feasibility of a PhD proposal play a crucial role both in the initial pre-selection by the EUI Professors and in the interviews in the Departments of History, Law and Political and Social Sciences. Applicants for the Economics Department provide a short research statement rather than a full research proposal.

  • Potential supervision

The department carefully examines whether it can provide suitable supervision for the candidate, taking into account the profile of the department and distribution of supervision among its academic staff for the whole of the period concerned.

  • Language abilities

All candidates must have a good knowledge of English. The expected minimum level of English language proficiency is C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

  • GRE
    Candidates for the Economics Department must submit a GRE test score. Candidates for all other Departments are recommended to do so.

See also: Interviews and Language Test

Do not contact us about the outcome of your application or interview. We will keep you informed by email of all developments in your application.

The policy of the EUI is not to offer individual guidance and advice on dissertation proposals. Do not contact potential supervisors but read the information on research themes and indicate one or more professors who could supervise your dissertation in the application form.

If you have any questions on the programme, grants, requirements, application and selection procedures, please contact the EUI Admissions Office – Email: applyres@eui.eu

 

Application Procedure

Application for the 2016-2017 academic year is now closed. The annual application deadline is 31 January. If you wish to be informed when application for the 2017-2018 academic year opens and receive further information about study at the EUI, please leave your details in the form below.

 

 

Department


The Political and Social Sciences Department (SPS) is one of Europe’s leading centres for research and doctoral studies in comparative politics, sociology, international relations and social and political theory.  It has a long tradition of supporting a pluralist approach to research and methodology.

Our faculty consists of full-time, part-time and visiting academics from a wide range of universities throughout Europe and beyond.

Research Themes


The SPS Department’s research agenda focuses mainly on political and social change within Europe, at all levels.

Faculty interests and projects relate to themes of government and democracy; social change in Europe and its implications for society; politics and public policy; the comparative study of public policy; political and social structures and behavior; international relations and security; and social and political theory. These themes are reflected in the high-level research projects and  theses  produced in SPS.

Structure of Programme


The EUI offers a fully structured doctoral programme in Political and Social Sciences .

In addition to offering close supervision of a dissertation manuscript, the programme includes training in teaching, writing, research and other skills.

Our graduates are prepared for careers in academia, European and national-level government institutions, international organisations, and the private sector.

 

Find out more about the EUI Doctoral Programme »

 

PhD in Political and Social Sciences

Page last updated on 19 May 2016