Research Degrees in

Digital Politics

in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities


In the world of hashtag protest, cyberwars, fake news and algorithmic biases, the topic of Digital Politics is both most timely and exciting. An interdisciplinary field, located at the intersection of international relations, political economy, sociology, media, and communication studies, the subject of digital politics brings together innovative research on recent and acutely relevant matters to national and global politics.

With a PhD, MPhil or Master's by Research in Digital Politics you will:

  • Work with experts in the field. You will become part of a growing, innovative research cluster focusing on digital society and culture.
  • Choose from our flexible study pathways. We offer a range of courses that can be taken full- or part-time. Our distance learning programme is ideal for anyone around the world who wants to pursue a PhD but has professional or personal commitments that prevent traditional, campus-based study.
  • Join a lively research environment. You will work alongside a large, interdisciplinary cohort of research degree students, working across the social sciences, arts, and humanities. The research community is enhanced through a wide range of events, development workshops and networking opportunities.
  • Engage in innovative public engagement programmes. RAH! (Research in Arts and Humanities) is a curated programme of public lectures, performances, film screenings, fairs, interventions, discussions, artist happenings and augmented reality.
  • Undertake tailored personal and professional development training. The Postgraduate Arts and Humanities Centre provides a comprehensive development programme for research students.

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Areas of supervisory expertise

We can supervise a wide range of projects looking at all aspects of Digital Politics. Particular research specialisms include:

  • Social movements and political campaigns on social media
  • The use of social media in armed conflicts or in international diplomacy
  • Political propaganda on social media and the Internet
  • Information or infrastructure warfare
  • Algorithmic governance
  • Digital surveillance
  • Digital insurgence
  • Racism and injustice on the Internet.

We invite research projects that are interdisciplinary yet grounded in social science (politics, sociology, anthropology, geography) or media studies, and that explore digital politics in any location around the globe or undertake a comparative study of more than one country.

Find out more about our staff's expertise

Research culture

You will become part of a vibrant research environment at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, in particular around digital society and culture. You will be able to attend postgraduate research training on digital methods and ethics and take part in research events related to digital politics and communication. In addition to your assigned supervisor/s at the Department of Politics, you will benefit from contacts with staff and other research students who work on information and communication systems, social media politics, algorithmic sociality, digital communities, Internet studies, journalism, and more.

More about our research culture

A wide range of seminars and conferences take place on campus, including the annual Alternative Futures and Popular Protest conference which explores the dynamics of popular movements and the ideas which shape them.

Our postgraduate researchers are a key part of our social and intellectual environment. You will be a member of our Postgraduate Arts and Humanities Centre (PAHC). PAHC is a dedicated forum for postgraduate students in the Arts and Humanities. It provides:

  • HARTS Online, an online community, news and events portal
  • A thorough research development programme
  • A space for cross-disciplinary discussion, support and experimentation
  • Hive, an academic e-journal, edited by current students
  • RAH!, an innovative programme of socially and culturally engaged public engagement events.

Courses offered, duration, and start dates

Programmes offered

  • PhD (3 years full time, 6 years part time)
  • PhD by Published Work or Professional Practice (course duration varies by route taken and candidate's background)
  • Master's by Research (1 year full time, 2 years part time)
  • MPhil (18 months full time, 36 months part time).

Find out more about the different research degrees we offer

Start dates

The majority of our students enrol in October. We offer further enrolment points in January and April.

Distance learning

Research degrees are available to study on-campus or through distance learning.

Career prospects

Our intellectually rigorous research degrees will equip you with the necessary skills to pursue academic research in Politics, Information & Communications, Media, International Relations or a range of related disciplines.

You will also gain higher-level skills in research, critical argument, project management, and communications. These equip you for a wide range of careers in areas such as politics, journalism and digital technologies. 

Course structure

The course is research based. You will meet your supervisor(s) regularly, and work independently on your own research. Depending on your previous experience as well as on the focus of your project, you may be advised to audit specific lectures (by negotiation with your supervisors and unit tutors), such as those focusing on research methods or on thematic subjects.

Fees and funding

Find out more

2018/19 entry


  • Full time: £4,260
  • Part time: £2,130

Tuition fees are likely to increase each academic year in line with UK Research and Innovation guidelines.

International Students

International fees are categorised into five bands. Your tuition fee band will depend on the resources required for your project. We will confirm your band in your offer letter.

Read more on our tuition fees

2019/20 entry


Tuition fees for the academic year 2019/2020 will be:

  • £4,327 for full-time students
  • £2,164 for part-time students.

International students

International fees are categorised into five bands. Your tuition fee band will depend on the resources required for your project. We will confirm your band in your offer letter.

Additional project costs

For some research projects, we may need to charge you additional costs to cover, for example, access to specialist equipment, resources or materials. We will discuss these costs with you during your interview, and they will be clearly outlined in your offer letter before you accept a place here. Where we advertise specific research projects, the complete project costs will be included in the advert.

Loans for research degrees

Many of our PhD and Professional Doctorate programmes are eligible for the government's Doctoral Loan Scheme. MPhil and MA/MSc by Research degrees are eligible for a Postgraduate Loan.

Find out more about tuition fees and financial support


Each year we offer a number of competitive scholarships to support high quality research projects. Current scholarship opportunities in Digital Politics are advertised on our site.

Sign up to be notified when relevant scholarships are advertised

Entry requirements

Find out more

You should, as a minimum, have a first or 2.1 honours degree or an equivalent qualification.

International students must demonstrate a sufficiently high standard of English language ability.

We welcome interest from applicants from non-standard backgrounds. We will take subject knowledge, professional experience, publications, or other appropriate evidence of accomplishment into consideration.

See more about our standard entry requirements.


Before applying for a research degree, you should have a preliminary discussion with a member of staff about your project and ideas. To arrange this, please email Dr Adi Kuntsman,, the Research Degrees Co-ordinator for Information and Communications.

For further information on the application process, contact the Faculty’s research degrees administration team:, +44 (0)161 247 6673.

How to apply

Apply now

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online using the link below. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Before you apply, you should discuss your project with a member of academic staff. You should also complete the Postgraduate Research Degree Supplementary Information form which you will then upload to the ‘Student documents’ section of the application form. This collects key information about your research application and there may be delays if you do not submit this document.

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Postgraduate Study