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The PhD experience

It is part of our philosophy to encourage graduate students to participate fully in its intellectual life. This includes a considerable range of activities from peer study and support groups and themed writing workshops among students, to departmental research seminars involving both staff and students. There are also a variety of seminar series involving guest speakers that are organised by research centres both within and outside of the department at which you will be very welcome.

Our research activities

Our department is home to three research centres (the Centre for the Study of Democratisation, the Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation and the Centre for Ethics, Law and Public Affairs) and one research group (the Interdisciplinary Ethics Research Group) that are led by members of the department. These interact across our research cluster areas – as well as across disciplines within the University and beyond – and frequently play host to guest workshops, conferences and seminars that you are welcome to join. In addition, Warwick’s Global Research Priorities programme provides a platform for cross-departmental collaboration, enabling students to work together on important issues such as global governance and sustainable cities. Finally, we also offer limited funding for students to attend conferences outside of Warwick and present their research to a wider audience.

Student-led initiatives

There’s more to life as a PhD student than research—in fact, we offer many opportunities for you to engage with the academic community in the department and participate in university-wide activities. One of these is through student-led groups such as the Critical International and Political Studies (CRIPS) Graduate Working Group, which regularly organises different activities including the PhD Research Seminar series, the Mock First Year Review for first year PhD students, professional socialisation workshops, as well as social events. There is also the East Asia Study Group, which holds events on subjects specific to the East Asian region.

Events and societies

We also host a number of events featuring staff members and guest speakers, including our departmental seminar series, the focal point of research culture and activity in the department. Past presentations have covered topics including ‘Twisting Arms and Sending Messages: Terrorist Tactics in Civil War’ and ‘International Election Observers and the Credibility of Elections’. There are also many social activities offered by our department throughout the year, including Christmas dinner and the end-of-year barbeque, where you can meet up and chat with fellow students and staff members in a relaxed atmosphere.

Beyond the department, there is a vibrant campus atmosphere, with many societies and initiatives to get involved with including the Warwick International Development Society, Politics Society, China in Focus and the Warwick Emerging Markets Forum.

"Working as a member of the CRIPS’s organising committee has been an incredible personal and collective experience. CRIPS has long provided a platform for PhD students and early career scholars to present their work and discuss it with each other. This is extremely important, as young researchers may not have many opportunities or the network required to present their in-progress research to an academic audience. During the academic year, CRIPS hosted a number of extremely interesting early career scholars from both the UK and elsewhere in Europe. The turnout and overall participation has been pretty staggering, especially considering how busy PhD students can be.

CRIPS has also delivered career advice and professionalisation workshops where established academics from the department have been providing invaluable advice to PhD students. In an ever more competitive academic labour market, it is crucial to be strategic when it comes to start sketching out a career plan by the end of your PhD. That is why this year CRIPS has organised multiple workshops and seminars with this objective in mind. Of course, CRIPS has also been very active in organising social events. With after-presentation drinks and summer BBQs, one of CRIPS’s greatest achievements for this academic year has been to strengthen the social interaction of the PhD community at PAIS.

Overall, this year’s experience at CRIPS has provided me with an excellent understanding of how things actually work within the department. I learned how to organise research seminars, apply for departmental funds, request seminar rooms and catering, etc. Finally, being in close contact with so many people in the department has strengthened my relationships with the whole PAIS community."

Lorenzo Genito, CRIPS organising committee member and current PhD candidate