UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)



Doctoral Programme

SSEES has multi-disciplinary expertise across the humanities and social sciences and offers research degrees in all of its four programme areas: Economics and Business, History, Languages and Culture (including film, linguistics, literature, thought); Politics and Sociology.

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.

Find out more about the SSEES research areas, individual expertise, current research students and the potential range of supervision that SSEES offers:

  • Full-time: 3 years
  • Part-time: 5 years

SSEES offers two advanced research degrees (full- or part-time) requiring the submission of a thesis: the MPhil (40-60,000 words) and the PhD (80-100,000 words).

  • The PhD thesis must provide a distinct and original contribution to the knowledge of the subject.
  • The MPhil thesis should form a record of original investigation or an ordered and critical exposition of existing knowledge.

All MPhil/PhD students at SSEES follow the Skills Development Programme of the UCL Graduate School and must fulfill the requirements of the UK Research Councils (SSEES is an active part of UCL's ESRC Doctoral Training Centre).

Further information can be found in the SSEES PhD Handbook:

Some examples of recent or ongoing research projects are:

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

-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


A minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor’s degree, plus a Master’s/ MSc 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.

Overseas students will be expected to hold an equivalent qualification and demonstrate mastery of the English language at 'Good' level (as described by the UCL Graduate English Language Requirements).

It is recommended that overseas students without educational experience at an Anglo-American university complete a relevant MA in the first instance. Not only will these studies help students to acquire the very high level of language competence necessary for the successful completion of the research degree; they will also give students a better grounding in the norms and expectations of British academic culture in their given discipline.


SSEES graduates have found employment in academic posts, as lecturers, teaching fellows and post-doctoral 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

Recent career destinations include:

  • Research Fellow, Center for International Development, Harvard University (2018)
  • Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow, Institute for Contemporary History, Czech Academy of Sciences (2018)
  • Assistant Editor, Taylor & Francis Group (2019)
  • Economist, International Monetary Fund (IMF) (2019)
  • Coordinator of the Elite Graduate Program in East European Studies and the Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies, LMU Munich (2019)
  • Assistant Professor, Sciences Po (2019)
  • Lecturer in Criminology, Birmingham City School of Social Sciences (2019)
  • Director of Teaching & Learning, School of History, University College Dublin (2020)
  • Assistant Professor, HSE Moscow (2020)
  • Research Fellow in Transformative Innovation, University of Sussex Business School (2020)
  • Director, The Centre for Democratic Integrity, Vienna (2020)
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Cambridge (2021)
  • Junior Lecturer, University of Amsterdam (2021)
  • Principal Economist, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) (2021)
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, USC Shoah Foundation (2021)
  • Senior Policy Advisor, Department for Transport, UK (2021)
  • Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Politics - International Relations and Russia, University of Bath (2021)


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. 


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 roundtables and lectures by leading international figures relevant to our area interests.


Why Research at UCL SSEES?
  • An extensive array of training courses in social science methodology, humanities (and some languages) is provided by SSEES.
  • Paid teaching experience is often available.
  • Regular opportunities to present research at seminars within SSEES and externally.
  • Opportunities for field work in the SSEES region.
  • The department has close ties with UK and overseas universities.
  • An active research seminar and conference programme, with talks from leading scholars in our disciplines.
  • A large and vibrant community of postgraduate students across our disciplines.
  • Access to the UCL and the SSEES library, one of the leading research libraries in the UK for the study of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.
  • Location in Bloomsbury, London: close to British Library, British Museum, University of London Library and other prominent research centres.
  • The opportunity to contribute to two major 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).
Fees and Funding

Tuition Fees (2023/24)

Full-time: £5,860   Part-time: £2,930
Full-time: £26,200 Part-time £13,100
Applications and next steps

Students interested in applying for a Research programme at UCL SSEES can find the application form and further information on the How to Apply pages.

Applications for MPhil/PhD must include a formal research proposal of 1,000-1,500 words. 

Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to review the research profiles of SSEES staff and to contact the academic with the appropriate specialization to discuss their application.

Questions about the application process can be directed to the Programme Administrator (Research and IMESS).  Questions about potential supervision can be directed to the Head of Postgraduate Research, Dr Kristin Roth-Ey

Applications will open mid October and students will begin their studies in September of the following academic year.

Programme contacts