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, and usually 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

Top career destinations for this degree

  • Assistant to Director of Finance Operations, Company Watch Limited (2010)
  • Senior Researcher in National Offender Management Service, UK Government (2009)
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Erfurt, Germany (2009)
  • Research Assistant, Strategy, Policy and Review Department, International Monetary Fund (2010)
  • Lecturer, University of Toronto (2009)


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 (2021/22)

£5,525 (FT), £2,765 (PT)
£22,230 (FT), £11,190 (PT)

The SSEES Foundation Scholarship for PhD study is awarded annually. The Victor and Rita Swoboda Memorial Fund Scholarship supports a PhD in any discipline within Ukrainian Studies. 

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

SSEES Foundation Scholarship

Deadline: 31 January 2021 

The value of Home/EU fees for three years.
Overseas applicants are eligable for the scholarship but will need to self fund the remaining fees. 
UK, EU, Overseas students
Based on academic merit. Applicants must either indicate on the UCL application form that they wish to be considered when applying, or contact Dr Seth Graham, Head of Graduate Research, (s.graham@ucl.ac.uk) with their student number to advise they wish to be considered. 

ESRC Doctoral Competition

SSEES Deadline: The deadline to submit a preliminary application is Monday 10th January 2022 and the deadline for those invited to submit a full application will be Monday 28th February 2022

Full payment of tuition fees per year (including masters and training years for 1+3; 2+3 and +4 studentships) plus an annual maintenance stipend (full-time: TBC and part-time: TBC for 2021/22) 
    UK, EU, Overseas students (subject to eligibility requirements)
    Based on academic merit

    London Arts and Humanities Partnership

    Deadline: Applications for 2021/22 entry will reopen in late November and the updated timeline and eligibility details will be published in due course.

    Full payment of tuition fees per year plus an annual maintenance grant or allowance (stipend).
    UK, EU, Overseas students (subject to eligibility requirements)
    Based on academic merit

    Wolfson Scholarships

    Deadline: Friday 29 January 2021

     Each student starting in 2021/22 will receive a total of £90000, which equates to £30000 per annum.
    UK and overseas students
    Based on academic merit

    UCL Graduate Research Scholarships and Overseas Research Scholarships

    Deadline: 13 January 2021

    The scholarships consist of fees equivalent to the standard postgraduate UK rate (2021/22: £5,526 - tbc) plus a maintenance stipend (2021/22: £17,631 - tbc) for full-time study (benefits are calculated 'pro rata' for part-time students). The scholarship also includes additional research costs of up to £1,200 per year for the stated duration of the programme.
    UK, EU, Overseas students
    Based on academic merit

    UCL Research Opportunity Scholarship

    Deadline: 13 January 2021

    Value: UK/EU rate fees, a maintenance stipend, conference costs and professional development package

    Eligability: UK-permanent resident from certain BME ethnic group 

    Criteria: Academic merit and financial need

    Victor and Rita Swoboda Memorial Scholarship

    Deadline: 31 January 2021

    Value: £10,000 (3 years)

    Eligibility: UK, EU, Overseas students

    Criteria: Based on academic merit. Topic must be related to Ukrainian Studies. 
    More scholarships are listed on the Scholarships and Funding website

    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 Seth Graham

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

    Programme contacts