Doctoral Studies (PhD)
A PhD programme in Political Science is offered at the University of Tartu since 2000. Since 2007, the programme is offered entirely in English and the Institute welcomes applications from international students. The Political Science PhD programme has full accreditation and has received a positive external review in 2011 and 2019.
Currently, around twenty PhD students are enrolled in the programme, about 15 of them as resident PhD researchers. An increasing number of them are international students, coming from Germany, Ireland, Georgia, the UK, Canada, Latvia, Ukraine, Romania and Russia.
Competition in spring 2021
The next admission round takes place on 1-15 May (candidates with previous degrees from outside Estonia) and on 1-15 June (applicants with previous degrees from Estonia), with studies set to commence in September 2021.
Topics for this round of admission include:
- Applications of logical models in Social Sciences
- E-Governance and Digital Public Services
- Mobile Cross-Border Government Services for Europe
- Changing Political Cleavages and their Implications in Europe
- Contemporary Challenges to the Process of European Integration and their Political and Institutional Implications
- Popular culture, national identity and inter-state relations
- Self-Determination of Peoples in Historical Perspectives
- Topic of own choosing, matching the supervision competences available
Study places will be divided as follows: one study place for topic 1, four study places for topics 2-3 and three study places for topics 4-8.
Persons holding a Master's degree or a corresponding level of education may apply for PhD studies.
- Applicants from Estonia, who earned their previous degrees from Estonian institutions of higher education should follow the instructions given here.
- Applicants with a previous degree from other universities, please carefully read the following information, consult the UT webpage on admission to doctoral programmes and/or contact the International Student Service.
The admission process into the PhD programme in Political Science includes both a PhD research proposal (50%) and an admission interview (50%).
The PhD research proposal (at a minimum of 5 pages, including a list of sources) must be added to the application documents. It should include the following:
- topic of the proposed PhD thesis (presentation of the research problem, positioning it in the context of the existing literature);
- objectives of the thesis;
- description of data and research methods;
- expected results, their novelty and importance;
- brief timeline of the proposed research;
- list of sources;
- brief summary of previous academic or practical experience relevant to the proposed PhD research.
Applicants whose research proposals are evaluated positively (see details below) are invited to an admission interview with the aim of determining their motivation and academic potential for participating in the programme.
Topics discussed during the interview can include the following:
- the applicant’s prior academic and work experience (based on the applicant’s CV);
- choice of topic and the research proposal, in particular its relevance and feasibility;
- motivation to receive a PhD in political science and future career plans;
- readiness to adapt to new institutional and cultural settings.
The interview lasts around 20 minutes. Invitations to the interviews are sent 5-7 days before the interview. Applicants who reside abroad can participate in the interview via telecommunication means.
Assessment criteria for the research proposal:
- Appropriateness and justification of the chosen theoretical and methodological approach (40%);
- Novelty and relevance of the proposed research (30%);
- Feasibility of the proposed project (30%).
Assessment criteria for the interview:
- Motivation to pursue a PhD in Political Science and readiness to commit to the programme (30%);
- Relevance of previous academic and work experience to the programme and the proposed PhD research (30%);
- Ability to justify the research proposal, including in the context of major debates in the field (30%);
- Presentation skills, interpersonal skills (10%).
Both the research proposal and admission interview are assessed on a scale of 0 to 100 points. To be invited to an interview, the applicant must earn at least 51 points for the research proposal. To be considered for the position, the result of the admission interview must be at least 51 points.
For detailed information about the Political Science PhD programme’s requirements after admission, see here.