Home » Departments and Centres » Political and Social Sciences » Ph.D. in Political and Social Sciences


Our researchers study the important issues of our time that the social science can uniquely address, with Ph.D. opportunities across politics and comparative politics, political theory, international relations, and sociology.

Our active faculty, and strong cohort of Ph.D. researchers and post-doctoral scholars, creates a stimulating environment for study. By covering key fields across the political and social sciences within one department, we enable cross-disciplinary research conversations to take place, meaning ideas and research findings are easily shared and discussed further. 

While our experienced staff offer intense supervision, you also receive the academic freedom and time for your own independent research. In addition, our researchers benefit from interacting with the academics, practitioners and other leaders in their field, who are regular visitors to our Department, so able to offer their advice and thoughts on your work.



Read through all tabs of this application guide to make sure that you have the right qualifications and that you file all required documents and information when you apply.

To qualify for a national PhD grant , you must meet the specific requirements set by the national grant authorities. These may include conditions with regard to your nationality, residence, degree and its time of award.

The?application for admission to the EUI doctoral programme is automatically an application for a national grant, with the following exceptions:?Greece, Portugal,?Slovenia?and the? United?Kingdom. If you apply for a grant from one of these countries, your application to the EUI can ONLY be accepted if you separately?file with the grant authority an application or a specific set of documents?by the deadline specified by the relevant grant authority.

EUI Contracting States

Grants and tuition fees for Ph.D. candidates are covered by the national grant-awarding authority for Austria,? Belgium,? Bulgaria,? Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia,? Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland,? Italy,? Latvia,? Luxembourg, Malta,? The Netherlands,? Poland,? Portugal, Romania,?Slovakia,?Slovenia,? Spain,? Sweden,? United Kingdom.


Other EU Member States not adhering to the EUI Convention ?

EU Member States: Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania and Slovakia have not yet signed the EUI Convention. Consequently, there are currently no national grants available for Ph.D. candidates from these countries.

Candidates from these countries may therefore be admitted on condition they are able to secure external sponsorship.


Associate Member States

Candidates from? Norway?and Switzerland?may be admitted to the EUI under the Association Agreements.

Grants and tuition fees for doctoral candidates are covered by the national grant-awarding authority.


Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation "Grants for Foreigners" Programme

The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation awards grants to candidates from the following states:? Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, People's Republic of China (PRC), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Russian Federation, Serbia, Turkey, United States of America (USA) .?The programme's tuition fees are also covered.


Other Countries

Candidates that do not fit in with any of the above-mentioned grant programmes may be admitted under the?易博平台首页EUI special doctoral fellowships programme?or on condition they are able to secure?external sponsorship.

Candidates from Latin American countries members of the Ibero-American Community of Nations may consider applying for the?external scholarships funded by the?Fundaci n Carolina.

You?must meet the minimum degree requirements set by the?relevant grant authority for admission to the EUI Ph.D. Programme. ?As a general rule, you should fulfil the minimum degree requirements by 31 August 2020, but please note that this is not valid for candidates applying for some national grants whose eligibility requirements include conditions regarding the degree and its time of award (see section above):

  • Austria:?Completion of university studies (Magister/Master’s degree)
  • Belgium (Flanders):?Master degree -?Belgium (Wallonie-Bruxelles):?Master degree of at least 120 credits
  • Bulgaria:?Master’s degree diploma with a Grade Point Average of minimum “Very good 5” or the respective equivalent from the evaluation system in the country, where the degree is obtained
  • Cyprus:?Bachelor’s degree (ptychio)
  • Denmark:?Kandidateksamen eller en grad der vurderes svarende til. Vurderingen foretages af Styrelsen for Forskning og Uddannelse
  • Finland:?Ylempi korkeakoulututkinto/h?gre h?gskoleexamen, equivalent foreign degree
  • France:?DEA (or Master) or?equivalent to bac + 5
  • Estonia:?Master’s degree
  • Germany:?Completion of university studies and the qualifications required to study for a doctorate
  • Greece:?Higher education degree (ISCED 6), and master’s degree or equivalent (ISCED 7)
  • Italy:?Laurea (vecchio ordinamento);?laurea specialistica / laurea magistrale (nuovo ordinamento) or equivalent
  • Latvia:?Magistra grads vai magistra grada limenim pielidzinata izglitiba (Master's degree or education equal to a Master's degree)
  • Luxembourg:?Master degree or equivalent
  • Malta:?Master’s degree equivalent to Level 7 on the Malta Qualifications Framework
  • Netherlands: Doctoraal examen or Master's degree
  • Norway:?Master’s degree or equivalent degree
  • Poland:?Master’s degree (magister?or an equivalent degree)
  • Portugal:?Licenciatura and qualifications required to study for a doctorate in Portugal
  • Romania:?Candidates should have an undergraduate degree + a master degree (usually 3 + 2 years) or an equivalent qualification needed to study for a doctorate
  • Spain:?Titulaci n de grado o licenciado m s master que supongan 300 cr ditos o titulaci n de grado o licenciado de 300 cr ditos
  • Sweden:?General entry requirements (According to the Swedish Higher Education Ordinance).?A person meets the general entry requirements for third-cycle courses and study programmes if he or she: 1.?has been awarded a second-cycle qualification. 2.?has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second-cycle, or 3.?has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.The higher education institution may permit an exemption from the general entry requirements for an individual applicant, if there are special grounds.?Ordinance (2010:1064)
  • Switzerland:?Completion of university studies (Master’s degree)
  • UK & Ireland:?Good honours degree (min. Upper Second); preference to those with a Master's degree
  • EUI Special Doctoral Fellowships:?Master or equivalent degree in an academic discipline relevant to the doctoral programme of the selected EUI Department and to the research proposal
  • Other countries:?Diploma equivalent to the minimum qualification needed to study for a doctorate in a given country


The expected level of English proficiency is level C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). Applicants are required to submit an English international language certificate to demonstrate their level. Candidates who are English native speakers, or have a degree from a university programme entirely taught in English and have written a thesis in English in such a programme, are exempt from submitting a certificate of English proficiency.

Applicants who submit a certificate with a test score below the threshold indicated hereunder may be conditionally admitted but will have to take English language courses during their first year. Sufficient progress in English language skills will be a criterion for admission to the second year.

The following international certificates of English proficiency are recognised by the EUI:

Type of certificateExpected test score, considered equivalent to level C1 of the CEFR??by the EUI
IELTSFrom 7.5
TOEFL (IBT) - EUI code 9408From 110
Cambridge ProficiencyA/B/C
Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)A/B

The certificate of English proficiency must be attached to the candidate’s application form and submitted by 31 January. Unofficial copies of the above mentioned English proficiency certificates are also accepted.

Candidates who are unable to provide a certificate by 31 January?must attach a personal declaration to the application form?stating the reason for this. Exemption from the requirement to submit an English international language certificate may be granted in the case of extenuating circumstances. Where the certificate of English proficiency is missing and the applicant is still invited for interview, he or she must take an equivalent English Language Assessment test at the EUI in addition to the interview.

Other EUI Working Languages

Applicants who need to be proficient for their specific research project in another working language(s) of the EUI (French, German, Italian and Spanish) which is not their native language, will be asked to take a spoken and written test when invited for interview.

See also: Language Tests

Applicants are selected for interviews on the basis of their academic record and their research proposal. Your research proposal shows that you are ready to write a PhD dissertation that can be supervised at the EUI. The proposal should outline the project that you wish to pursue in your PhD dissertation. It should demonstrate command of the state of the art in the field (with references to the literature) and of research methodology within the discipline, formulate a research question and include a short bibliography. Where appropriate it should also include the theory or hypotheses that will be examined or a description of the empirical content and sources of the research project.

The policy of the EUI is not to offer individual guidance and advice on dissertation proposals. You should not contact potential supervisors and ask them to support your application or to provide you with advice. You should instead read the information on research themes supervised by the department and by individual professors. In the application form and in your research proposal you can indicate one or more professors who you think could supervise your dissertation.

Please also consider the following points when framing your research proposal for studies in the SPS Department.

  1. You should identify a research question that you aim to explore and present your argument with clarity, while also attempting to demonstrate the feasibility of the project. Please remember that ours is a four-year programme and you will need to limit your subject, explain its rationale and clearly focus your research and writing.
  2. The title of your proposal should be well-defined and fully express its content. It is equally important to produce a good abstract, which will be included in the summary of your application file. Your abstract will be read first and faculty members will often decide on that basis whether to read your full application more carefully.
  3. You are expected to elaborate on the methods that you are planning to adopt in your thesis.
  4. The overall length of your proposal must not exceed 2500 words?(including footnotes, references and bibliography). Longer proposals may be excluded from further consideration.

In addition to the general guidelines above, please also consult Guidelines for writing a research proposal for a PhD in the Department of Political and Social Sciences.

Please also note that you will be required to write a?Short Abstract of your research proposal (max 1000 characters) directly on the online application form.


Before starting your online submission, prepare the required documents:

  • one or two page CV?
  • research proposal of 2500 words?(See above)?
  • degree transcript(s)?issued by your university listing the exams/courses taken at university, grades/marks awarded and (if applicable) the final degree result.?You should also attach your degree transcript(s) from previous degree(s).?Do not attach or send supplementary documents that are not strictly requested, such as traineeships diplomas etc.
  • International English language certificate?(See Above)
  • Copy of?an?identity document?(such?as?passport or ID card) - JPG format.?If you hold dual nationality, you should attach the copy of a second passport/ID card proving your second nationality.?The copy of your ID document(s) will be only processed by the EUI Administration and the relevant grant authority(ies), it will not be distributed to the EUI Departmental selection committee.

Note that attachments must be PDF using standard international fonts (max size 1MB). Do?NOT?use macros, special characters, password-protected attachments, electronic signatures.?The EUI reserves the right to verify the authenticity of the certificates you provide with the competent issuing authorities.


Applicants should register two academic referees in the online application form and ensure that their reference letters are submitted online (directly by the referees) by the applications deadline of 31 January. References will not be accepted after the deadline.


Your referees will be contacted and will be allowed to submit the reference? only after you have completed and registered the first step of the online application form including the names and contact details of referees. In order to receive the references in time by the deadline 31 January, you should register the referee details as soon as possible . This is possible any time and you do not yet need to submit the final version of your application at that time.

Applicants to the Department of Political and Social Sciences must register two referees.

When you register your referees' contact details in the online application form, an email requesting a reference on your behalf - featuring an online submission link and relevant instructions - is automatically sent to the referees.?Nevertheless, it is your responsibility to contact referees directly to inform them of your request, to verify that they have received the email request and to ensure that they submit the reference by the deadline?of 31 January.??You can?check the status of submission of each reference letter directly on the online application form.?Referees are not able to consult your online application details (except your name and the programme you applied for).?Please note?that reference letters can be submitted by the registered referees (before the deadline) even after you have submitted your application.

References must be submitted by academic referees (ie: Professors, Lectures etc.) who are in a position to give an academic evaluation of your research, intellectual qualities, ability and potential.

Letters of reference from current full-time or part-time EUI professors are not accepted except:

  • where the application is from a researcher already registered for an EUI degree (i.e. transfer from LL.M. to Ph.D.)
  • where the professor is a member of a different EUI department to the one where the candidate is applying, and who is able to comment on the academic qualities of the candidate


At the moment when the candidate has registered the referee's details, you as the referee will receive an automated e-mail with access details for submitting your reference letter through a dedicated online portal. The system guarantees full confidentiality of the documents submitted which are not accessible to candidates. Candidates can however directly verify the status of the submission of the reference letter on their application form.?

  • You should give your opinion of the candidate's intellectual ability, knowledge in his/her field, motivation for research, capacity to work in a group, oral?and written expression.
  • Please note that only PDF documents (maximum file size limit is 2.00 MB) can be submitted.?Please do not send password protected or secured files.
  • You may use your own reference format.
  • Do not send a hard copy.
  • You may write in a language other than English, but English will guarantee the widest possible reading.

If you have any problems submitting the file or require assistance, please do not hesitate to contact the Admissions Office at the following dedicated e-mail address:?[email protected]

References are accepted until 31 January.?Kindly note that the EUI encourages candidates to apply and register their referees as early as possible: the EUI post-graduate application process is open from early November to 31 January.?

You must submit your application and all required documents via the interactive online application form which will be available on?1 November.

The?deadline?for completing the application form and for the submission of references and all required documents is:?31 January.?Applications may be submitted until midnight (24:00 - CET) on that day.

There are?two distinct phases?in the application process:

1. Register as early as possible

You are encouraged to register, inserting your personal and referee details as soon as possible after the application form will be activated on 1 November.?This is?important to allow sufficient time for your referees to submit the reference?letters before the deadline. Reference letters will not be accepted after the deadline 31 January (24:00 - CET).

2.?Complete and submit your application by the deadline 31 January (24:00 - CET)

Once you have registered you may continue to work on your application (including required documents) until the deadline. ?Submit the application only when you have filled in all the information?correctly and have successfully uploaded the final version of the required documents. ?References can be submitted at any time up until the deadline, before or after you submit your application.

By registering/submitting an application, you give your consent for?processing the data as specified in the?Privacy?Statement for Application and Selection Procedures for EUI Post-Graduate Programmes??and?in accordance with?the EUI’s Data Protection Policy outlined in the?Decision of the President No. 10 of 18 February 2019 (EUI Data Protection Policy)

Selection process and schedule

  • 1 November:?Application procedure opens.
  • 31 January:?Deadline for applications and references.?Applications are screened for completeness by Academic Service.?Professors of the Department start to check the application files and to identify the most promising ones. Grant authorities start assessing the candidates' eligibility for their grants.
  • Early March: National pre-selection committees composed of grant authorities, EUI faculty and representatives of PhD students shortlist candidates for interviews for specific countries or groups of countries.
  • Mid March: Invitations for interviews for shortlisted candidates are sent by e-mail. Candidates who are not shortlisted are also informed by e-mail.
  • 23-26 March:?Shortlisted candidates are interviewed in Florence by Departmental panels.
  • Early April: EUI’s ‘Entrance Board’ decides which applicants will be offered admission on the basis of the Departments’ proposals. Candidates are informed of the admission results by e-mail.
  • May to July: Formal admission letters are sent by e-mail. Practical information for selected candidates is posted on the Academic Service's web pages. Reserve candidates may be contacted during this period if selected candidates withdraw.
  • End of August: Registration of new researchers.
  • 1 September: Academic Year begins.?

Selection criteria ?

  • Academic record

National pre-selection committees have the expertise to interpret academic grades, degrees and rankings of departments and universities and make sure that comparable standards are used for assessing all applicants.

Candidates are expected to have sufficient background in theory and research methodology relevant to their discipline and research project.

  • Quality of the research proposal

The originality and feasibility of a PhD proposal play a crucial role both in the initial pre-selection by the EUI Professors and in the interviews in the Departments of History, Law and Political and Social Sciences. Applicants for the Economics Department provide a short research statement rather than a full research proposal.

  • Potential supervision

The department carefully examines whether it can provide suitable supervision for the candidate, taking into account the profile of the department and distribution of supervision among its academic staff for the whole of the period concerned.

  • Language abilities

All candidates must have a good knowledge of English. The expected minimum level of English language proficiency is C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

Complete information on the selection procedure are available in?凯撒彩票首页Academic Rules and Regulations for the EUI Doctoral Programme.

See also: Interviews and Language Test

Do not contact us about the outcome of your application or interview. We will keep you informed by email of all developments in your application.

The policy of the EUI is not to offer individual guidance and advice on dissertation proposals. Do not contact potential supervisors but read the information on 火箭网彩票首页research themes and indicate one or more professors who could supervise your dissertation in the application form.

If you have any questions on the programme, grants, requirements, application and selection procedures, please contact the EUI Admissions Office – Email: [email protected]


Applications Deadline: 31 January 2020 

The deadline for completing the application form and for the submission of references and all required documents was Friday, 31 January 2020 at midnight (24:00 - CET) on that day. It is no longer possible to apply.


The Political and Social Sciences Department (SPS) is one of Europe’s leading centres for research and doctoral studies in comparative politics, sociology, international relations and social and political theory.  It has a long tradition of supporting a pluralist approach to research and methodology.

Our faculty consists of full-time, part-time and visiting academics from a wide range of universities throughout Europe and beyond.

Research Themes

The Department of Political and Social Sciences specializes in comparative politics, sociology, political and social theory and international relations. Research and supervision at the department focus on major contemporary challenges to the European Union and its member states, such as long term trends in socio-economic inequality, rise in populism, migrant crisis, welfare state transformation, tax reforms, debates on solidarity and identity, religious conflicts and international security.

These research themes are reflected in the high-level research projects and theses produced in SPS.

Structure of Programme

The EUI offers a fully structured doctoral programme in Political and Social Sciences.

In addition to offering close supervision of a dissertation manuscript, the programme includes training in teaching, writing, research and other skills.

Our graduates are prepared for careers in academia, European and national-level government institutions, international organisations, and the private sector.

PhD in Political and Social Sciences

Page last updated on 31 January 2020

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