School of Slavonic and East European Studies MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

The MPhil/PhD programme at SSEES offers students the possibility to study in the heart of London and benefit from multi-disciplinary expertise across the humanities and social sciences.

Research studies will be supported not only by expert supervisors, but also by a great variety of seminar series, conferences, lectures, workshops and other opportunities.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
£6,035
£3,015
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
£28,100
£14,050
Duration
3 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
October 2024
Applications accepted
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor’s degree, and usually a Master’s degree in a relevant subject, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Students intending to seek Research Council funding are required to undertake a Master’s degree first.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

The UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) is the UK's largest institution for research and teaching on Russia, the Baltics, and Central, East and South-East Europe. The school's mission is to foster cross-disciplinary approaches to area studies, using expertise in our primary geographical region to generate knowledge and understanding of the broader world. With our spectacular library and award-winning building in the heart of London, and at the centre of a vibrant network of national and international connections, SSEES provides a dynamic environment where students acquire the expertise and skills that employers want, including an unparalleled range of languages.

Who this course is for

Studying for a PhD requires individuals to be self-motivated, independent and committed to their topic of research. This MPhil/PhD is for applicants who may have completed post-graduate training or study and want to develop an advanced critical analysis in a specific research area. The programme is for graduates with a background or interest in the SSEES region, combined with disciplines such as anthropology, culture, languages, literature, history, politics, sociology and economics. It is suitable for both recent Masters graduates as well as early or mid-career professionals.

What this course will give you

The SSEES library is one of the leading research libraries in the UK for the study of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

Our research programme is particularly distinguished by its training provisions in an unrivalled number of languages .

Research students have the opportunity to partake in two key student-run ventures:

  • Slovo, which publishes articles and book reviews written by research and Masters students as well as established scholars.
  • Postgraduates at SSEES co-organize the International Postgraduate Student Conference, which is held every second year at SSEES (and at other universities around the world in alternate years).

The foundation of your career

SSEES graduates have a unique range of expertise, grounded in advanced methodological training in their chosen discipline and applied to the area studies context. This hybrid profile, which can also include knowledge of one or more languages, is highly sought after by employers as it offers expertise which is intellectually rigorous as well as empirically relevant.

Employability

SSEES graduates have found employment in academic posts, as lecturers, teaching fellows and postdoctoral researchers at leading UK and overseas universities, as well as in research and consultancy roles for public, private and third-sector organisations, including think tanks, government departments, interpreting and publishing groups and market research and business intelligence companies.

Networking

SSEES scholars have developed strong links with a range of institutions in London, including the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development), Roubini Global Economics, NGOs such as Health Prom, Amnesty International and others through the BEARR Trust, Chatham House (Royal Institute of International Affairs), as well as with the European Commission. SSEES also cultivates connections with the London embassies of the region, which regularly co-sponsor round-table events and lectures by leading international figures relevant to our area interests.

Teaching and learning

Research students undertake relevant induction sessions and can take advantage of the Doctoral Skills Development Programme. PhD students meet regularly in term time with their supervisors and may be offered opportunities to gain valuable teaching experience and participate in reading groups and conferences.

To successfully upgrade to a PhD you are required to submit a piece of writing (this is usually based on one chapter from your thesis and a chapter plan for the remainder). You are also required to present and answer questions about this work to a panel consisting of your subsidiary supervisor and another member of the Faculty who acts as an independent assessor.

PhD students should treat their research programme as a full-time job, which equates roughly to 35 hours per week, or 15 hours for Part-time students.

Students agree to a timetable of regular meetings with the Principal Supervisor to effectively manage the progression of project aims. This is flexible, at some points it may be necessary to meet more or less often. Full-time students can expect to meet supervisors every two weeks during the academic year, and part-time students every four weeks.

If a student has external funding, they should also ensure they meet the Terms & Conditions of the funder.

Research areas and structure

The school has multidisciplinary expertise across the humanities and social sciences and offers research degrees in all of its four programme areas: Economics and Business; Politics and Sociology; History; Languages and Culture. In Economics and Business, research specialities include finance and economic development, corporate governance, entrepreneurship, technology and innovation. Research in Politics and Sociology can be pursued in the areas of party politics, post-conflict and post-socialist societies, corruption, migration, transitional justice, popular culture, international relations and foreign policy. Languages and Culture specialities include film, linguistics, and literature. In addition to region and country-specific specialism, areas of research in History include religion and nationalism, travel writing, comparative legal history, memory studies and cultural history.

Examples of current/recent SSEES doctorals include:

Economics and Business

  • Competition and Entrepreneurship as Engines of Growth
  • Economics of Health Behaviours in the Russian Federation

History

  • Being European: Russian Travel Writing and the Balkans, 1804–1877
  • Being without a State: the Thought of Petr Kropotkin between Statehood and Statelessness

Languages and Culture

  • Cinematic Bordelands: Ukrainian Poetic Cinema and the ‘Experiential Ethnographic Modality’
  • The Portrayal of Female Sexual Desire in 20th-century Czech Literature

Politics and Sociology

  • Electoral Performance of Popularist Radical Right Parties
  • Gender in the Croatian Nationalist Struggle

Research environment

SSEES has multidisciplinary expertise across the humanities and social sciences and offers research degrees in all of its four programme areas: Economics and Business; Politics and Sociology; History; Languages and Culture. In Economics and Business, research specialities include finance and economic development, corporate governance, entrepreneurship, technology and innovation. Research in Politics and Sociology can be pursued in the areas of party politics, post-conflict and post-socialist societies, corruption, migration, transitional justice, popular culture, international relations and foreign policy. Languages and Culture specialities include film, linguistics, and literature. In addition to region and country-specific specialism, areas of research in History include religion and nationalism, travel writing, comparative legal history, memory studies and cultural history.

We offer training in 12 different languages where other highly-ranked Slavonic and East European programmes offer between 1 and 6.

The length of registration for the full time research degree programmes is 3 years.
 
You are required to register initially for the MPhil degree with the expectation of transfer to PhD after successful completion of an upgrade viva 9- 18 months after initial registration.
 
Upon successful completion of your approved period of registration you may register as a completing research student (CRS) while you write up your thesis. 

SSEES PhD Training Workshop

In your first year you must attend the SSEES PhD Training Workshop (PTW).  Your attendance at the PTW is mandatory and is part of the departmental pre-requisite for your upgrade to PhD status.  The PTW is designed to assist you in the first stages of development of your research project, covering topics which range from the structure of a PhD thesis to communication and dissemination strategies.

Methods and discipline-based training

You will be expected to take full advantage of the training on offer and should aim to participate in the UCL Doctoral Skills Development Programme and/or appropriate other activities for the equivalent of two weeks each year.  If you are funded by a UK Research Council you will be required to participate in skills development training for the equivalent of two weeks per year of your funded studentship by your funding body.

SSEES offers a variety of discipline-based and methods training courses, which you can choose from in consultation with your supervisor and according to the specific needs of your research project.  Examples may include Political Analysis, Political Sociology, Historical Methods and Approaches, Literary and Cultural Theory or various courses in quantitative or qualitative data analysis.  You may be able to arrange language training if required, depending on availability.  You will be expected to complete basic methodological training during your first year unless you can demonstrate prior equivalent training.

You may take additional training courses according to your needs and interests.  Options should be discussed with your supervisor.

Research Student Seminar Series

You are expected to present your work in the SSEES Postgraduate Research Student Seminar Series.  The Seminar is designed to give an opportunity for you to present your work in front of a diverse audience which includes other research students, academic members of staff, graduate and undergraduate students, as well as external visitors.  The nature of presentations varies according to the different stages of a PhD.  You will be required to deliver a presentation as a mandatory component of your upgrade to the PhD; this first presentation is therefore focused on broader issues of structure, research design, conceptual and theoretical issues, and methodology.  Later in your research, you can choose to present a recently completed chapter, discuss the results of fieldwork, or get some initial feedback on a paper prepared for publication.

The length of registration for the part-time research degree programmes is 5 years.

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.


Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £6,035 £3,015
Tuition fees (2024/25) £28,100 £14,050

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

Additional costs may include expenses such as books, stationery, printing or photocopying, and conference registration fees.

A student planning to undertake fieldwork outside the UK will have to find funding to cover the costs.

The department strives to keep additional costs low. Books and journal articles are usually available via the UCL library (hard copies or via e-journal subscriptions).

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

AHRC and ESRC Scholarship are available for PhD study as well as SSEES Scholarships which are awarded annually.

The Victor and Rita Swoboda Memorial Fund Scholarship supports one PhD student in any discipline within Ukrainian Studies. The value is £5,000 per annum, which is offset against the student’s tuition fee liability, for three years.  

The SSEES Foundation Studentship supports payment of tuition fees at the Home rate, plus an annual maintenance stipend at the standard UKRI rate (£19,668 for a full-time student in 22/23, including London Weighting), for three years. Overseas applicants are eligible for the Studentship but will need to self-fund the difference between the Home and Overseas fee rates.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

UCL Research Opportunity Scholarship (ROS)

Deadline: 12 January 2024
Value: UK rate fees, a maintenance stipend, conference costs and professional development package (3 years)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: UK

Next steps

Deadlines and start dates are usually dictated by funding arrangements and our standard start date is September. In most cases you should identify and contact potential supervisors before making your application. If you intend to apply for funding, we advise making provisional enquiries as early as possible. For more information see our How to apply page.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

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