Located in the heart of London, the School of Social Sciences has an active research culture to which our well-established doctoral research programme makes a vital contribution.

The School incorporates well-established research programmes in politics and international relations, psychology, sociology and criminology and is home to the Centre for the Study of Democracy. Research in the School across these fields has an international reputation for excellence, as was confirmed by the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.

Find out more about the work of the Centre for the Study of Democracy, including their research themes.

How to apply

To discuss PhD admissions in the Centre for the Study of Democracy (politics and international relations, sociology and criminology) please email [email protected] or [email protected].

To discuss PhD admissions in Psychology please contact Dr Anna Doering via email: [email protected].

You can find more information about study options on our Mode of study page.

PhD via MPhil 

The majority of students will apply via the PhD via MPhil route. You can read more about the application process and entry requirements on our How to apply page. 

PhD by published work

If you intend to apply for a PhD by Published Work please refer to the information on our PhD by published work page as the application process differs from the normal MPhil/PhD. Before applying, you should first make contact with the relevant academic for an informal discussion of your publications. You should only submit a formal application at this stage.

Apply now

Apply for the following subjects

Apply to our research degrees using the links below. 

  • Criminology    
  • Politics    
  • Psychology    
  • Sociology

You'll be able to select your subject area in the 'Supporting Information' section of the application form. 

September 2021 start 

January 2022 start 


The Graduate School and each of the academic schools at the University of Westminster are committed to doctoral programmes which encourage and make possible excellent research. As part of this, we are committed to offering a range of studentships.

Find out about current studentships being offered across the University on our Studentships page.

Subjects in which PhDs are available

Find out more about research based in the School of Social Sciences:

Centre for the Study of Democracy (politics and international relations, sociology and criminology)

  • Contemporary democratic theory and practice
  • Critical international theory
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Governance, complexity, resilience
  • Post-colonial politics, development and emerging powers
  • Security, violence and justice
  • Social and cultural lives

Find out more about the Centre for the Study of Democracy.


  • Stress, health and wellbeing
  • Learning and development
  • Brain, cognition and perception
  • Identity, self and society
  • Forensic and investigative psychology