School of Social Sciences
Politics and International Relations
PhD Political Studies
Subject to our
ability to provide appropriate supervision, we invite scholars to join our PhD
Programme who wish to study in any of the key areas of politics and
international relations, including political theory, political economy,
comparative politics, security studies, public policy, regional studies,
conflict analysis, diplomacy, and so on.
Thus the scope of any accepted application is potentially broad, but it
is our intention that any research undertaken should be geared to the
enhancement and general development of Kurdistan and the region.
There are good
reasons to commence PhD study in our Department. The UKH is the top university in the
region. We operate on western academic
professional principles, and our international faculty members are established
and well-respected academics in their field.
We deliver a quality education and are thoroughly committed to maintaining
the highest academic standards.
considered on the basis of: a.) a general correlation between the student’s
proposed research area and a potential supervisor’s research background and
interests; and b.) an assessment of the applicant’s educational experience,
qualifications and overall suitability for advanced study. Each application is judged on its merits on a
case by case basis.
It is important
for would-be PhD researchers to appreciate that studying for a PhD involves a
very serious undertaking. A PhD by Research
degree is based on the production of a minimum of an 80,000-word thesis that
makes an original and substantial contribution to the field of study. This commits the student to producing written
work of a standard fit for immediate publication, within a specific
timeframe. UKH will offer full support
and guidance throughout, but applicants must be prepared to take full
responsibility for their own projects, work hard, remain self-motivated and
cope under pressure for the duration of their research. All applicants will be assessed on their
suitability to meet these demands.
graduates will enjoy numerous career options, including government, public
managerial roles in state and private sectors, journalism, consultative work,
and so on. However, the award of the
title of Doctor of Philosophy is generally regarded as the first step toward a
career in academia.
registered for M.Phil., shall undergo and pass a minimum of four credited
modules within the first year. The pass
mark for each module is 60%, and the final CGPA shall not be less than
70%. Candidates who fail to obtain the
necessary final CGPA shall leave the programme. No resit exams are
permitted. Candidates are expected to
attend all of their classes, but at least a minimum of 80%. Failure to comply will lead to the capping of
the overall course assessment in each case at the lowest passing mark. Further courses that are seen as relevant to
the research project that either the supervisors or the student may propose, can
be designed and made mandatory for the student to complete successfully. Again attendance and passing any such courses
would be considered mandatory.
attain a CGPA of 70% from their taught modules shall be eligible to undergo a
final comprehensive written examination with specific reference to their
individual subject specialism. The
passing mark is 70%. Candidates who fail
to achieve the passing mark shall be required to leave the programme. No resit for the final comprehensive exam is
Transfer to PhD.
applicants shall be firstly enrolled during Year One as candidates for the
degree of M.Phil. All candidates will be
allocated a supervisory team which will have extensive academic experience and
knowledge in the field of study. Having
successfully fulfilled the requirements for the degree of M.Phil. (as detailed
above), candidates wishing to progress to PhD study are required to ‘Register
for Transfer’ in writing to the Registrar as soon as is practicable, but no
later than 28 days before the transfer deadline (to be announced).
During the first
two semesters, the supervisory team will guide the student in developing
his/her research proposal to contain a clear description of the research
project, a detailed up-to-date review of the related literature, a
justification of the need for conducting the proposed research, together with
an outline of the expected originality and contributions to knowledge. This is expected to develop the initial
research proposal in the format of a full proposal making around 40 to 60 A4
pages of font size 12.
On submission of
their transfer proposal, candidates shall undergo an oral presentation of their
research proposals to selected members of the Department/School in the form of
an academic seminar. Candidates must be
prepared to explain their proposal thoroughly, set out their research plans,
field questions and be subjected to intense scrutiny. The oral presentation shall be assessed, and
graded by the Department members present.
The minimal grade for the oral presentation shall be 70%.
Upon reaching a
satisfactory outcome of the full requirements of the first year, candidates
will be registered for the degree of PhD and shall complete their studies and
further requirements within the designated period. The duration of study in the PhD programme,
including the M.Phil registration period, is currently set by the Ministry of
Higher Education at not be less than four and not more than six years.
As the UKH PhD
programme is a full-time course of study, candidates are expected to be on
campus 36 hours per week. Note:
employees of government or other agencies or companies nominated/recommended
for admission are required to take study leave after gaining admission to the
programme. Failure to produce proof of
an official ‘leave request’ approval document within one semester of enrolment
will result in the cancellation of admission.
usually conducted in the fall semester once in an academic year. If a candidate
fails to complete enrolment within one month of the published cut-off date,
her/his admission shall be cancelled.
Note: applicants dismissed for any reason from any university, school or
college will not be considered.
The number of
PhD candidate opportunities is limited, and thus applications are subject to a
competitive points-based system. Points
are accumulated on applicant strengths based on the following criteria:
1. Academic qualifications;
proposal and interview;
The medium of
instruction is exclusively English.
Prior to admission, applicants shall have obtained a score of at least
65 in a Pearson Test of English (Academic) for the social sciences, or 7.0 IELTS or 95 iBT-TOEFL, including
UKH or any other English based universities
must have an MPhil/MA/MSc from a recognised institution with a minimum score of
70% or an equivalent CGPA, and majoring in the same area, or extremely close,
to the proposed research topic area. All
applicants are required moreover to have a minimal final grade of 70% (classed
as ‘good’ at UKH, 2:1 UK or international CGPA of 3.0) in their bachelor’s
degree from a recognised institution, again majoring in the same area, or
extremely close, to the proposed research topic area.
submit a research proposal in the format of intended research aims and
literature review of no less than 2500 words, 1.5 spaced in a font size of 12
Arial, following the specific form provided by UKH Registry Office under the
title of “Outlines of the Proposed Research Topic". On receipt of the proposal, selected
applicants shall be subject to a rigorous interview in which the candidate’s
suitability for higher research shall be judged. Successful applicants shall be firstly
enrolled during Year One as candidates for the degree of M.Phil. All candidates will be allocated a
supervisory team which will have extensive academic experience and knowledge in
the field of study.
shall undergo a written entrance examination. Assessment shall be made
according to a.) the general academic competence exhibited by the candidate;
and b.) subject expertise in the applicant’s proposed research area and educational
background. The passing mark is 60%,
which must be attained in both categories a. and b.
USD 6,000 per academic year