PhD Students

2016-19 PhD Studentships

Deadline: 30 May 2016


We are delighted to be able to offer 2 PhD studentships with an EU/overseas fee waiver and a full living stipend of £14,296 per annum, starting in September 2016 for 3 years.

We welcome applicants from anthropology, cultural and literary studies, education, history, legal theory and socio-legal studies, philosophy, politics, religious studies, sociology and theology.

Founded in 2009, CISRUL studies the application of political ideas globally.  The Centre draws on expertise across disciplines to examine how political principles function within and beyond the contemporary West. Concepts such as ‘citizenship’, ‘civil society’, and the ‘rule of law’ are used as often by policy makers as by scholars. Core to CISRUL’s mission is informing academic and public debate on how they are used, and to what effect.

Our criteria for selection will be:

1. Quality of application - we are looking for world-class applicants, so please make sure you submit the very best application you are capable of.

2. Closeness of fit to CISRUL’s ongoing debates - please browse this website for detailed information about our interests, which include radical protest, political community, religion and the secular, democracy, constitutionalism, human rights and pluralism.

3. Closeness of fit to one or more of the CISRUL core members - see CISRUL Faculty Members under Home tab - though we are happy to arrange co-supervision with other Aberdeen staff.

Note that applicants must hold or be close to completing a postgraduate Masters degree in a relevant field.

Instructions for applying

Please apply at

What PhD programme do I apply for?

We offer our own inter-disciplinary PhD in CISRUL (Citizenship, Civil Society and Rule of Law). This is perfectly suited to students whose interests cross more than one discipline, and who are worried about being told that their PhD project does not fit with the strictures of a single discipline.

However, you are equally welcome to apply for CISRUL funding if you are interested in our topics but decide to enrol for a PhD in Anthropology, Divinity, Education, French, Hispanic Studies, History, Law, Sociology, Philosophy, Politics or IR. Several of our current PhD students are enrolled in one of these disciplines and are supervised (or co-supervised) by CISRUL members in that discipline.

Programme Details page

Whichever PhD programme you apply for, please indicate on the Programme Details page under "Scholarship / Studentship Title and Code (if applicable)" that you are applying for a "University of Aberdeen CISRUL studentship". To make sure your application finds its way to CISRUL, you should also email our secretary Lisa Baxter to let her know you have submitted it.

In addition, you should consult the list of Elphinstone studentships and search for any project which is relevant to your proposed research. If we are unable to offer you a CISRUL studentship, you may still be considered for an Elphinstone studentship, though these provide only a fee waiver and no stipend. Some of the Elphinstone projects are supervised by CISRUL members such as Karin Friedrich, Tamas Gyorfi, Trevor Stack and Andrea Teti. You can add the name of the relevant Elphinstone project under "Scholarship / Studentship Title and Code (if applicable)" after you put CISRUL studentship.

Under "Name of proposed supervisor, if known" please write the name of the CISRUL member or members whose interests are closest to yours (see CISRUL Faculty Members on the Home tab). You should also write any other Aberdeen staff who you believe may be able to supervise you, especially if you have had contact with them. You are encouraged to make contact with possible supervisors before you submit your application.

The most important document is the Research Proposal, which you upload on the Programme Details page. You must give a full, clear account of your proposed research. Remember we will consider how closely your research proposal fits with our CISRUL research profile – the best way of learning about our research is by reading on this website about our previous and future events, as well as publications.

  • Give your application reference and your name in the research proposal, and state that you are applying for a PhD studentship from the Centre for Citizenship, Civil Society and Rule of Law.
  • If you are also applying for an Elphinstone studentship, make it clear how your proposal is relevant to it, too.

Other supporting documents

You must also upload evidence of your degree certificate, transcript, two letters of reference, and proof of English proficiency if you are not a native speaker.


If you have any questions please email Lisa Baxter in the first instance. However, you are encouraged to contact possible supervisors about the topic of your research.


Deadline is 30 May 2016.

In This Section