Postgraduate research

PhD Humanities and Social Sciences

Self-funded opportunities

Self-funded PhD opportunities are available across the range of specialisms within our three internationally-excellent research centres:

The Institute of Criminal Justice Studies

Including policing, forensic investigation, counter-fraud, cybercrime, resilience, justice and penality.

The Centre for Studies in Literature

Covering literary studies from the early-modern to the contemporary. 

The Centre for European and International Studies Research

Including a broad range of historical, political and social-scientific topics.


Closing date for applications: Saturday 1 July 2017

Applications should be made via the University of Portsmouth online system.


For those students without English as a first language or without a first degree from an English speaking University, an English Language Proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0 is required. Applicants to subject areas recognised as having a particularly linguistically demanding standard (Law, Applied Linguistics, Translation Studies and English Literature) will be required to have achieved an IELTS score in band 7.0 or equivalent, providing that no component of the IELTS profile is more than 1.0 below the overall score.

Interdisciplinary connections

Applications are particularly encouraged that will address potential interdisciplinary connections within the broad themes of

  • Security and risk; or 
  • Democratic citizenship.

These themes have been selected amongst those making up areas of priority focus for the University of Portsmouth, and are defined in our Research & Innovation Strategy as follows:

Democratic Citizenship

Only active, informed and engaged citizens can fully safeguard democratic and sustainable societies against their many challenges. We will develop critical, multidisciplinary insights on past and present conditions, generating richer and more robust understandings of the contemporary human situation. In communicating these to a variety of audiences, we will build greater awareness of the impact of change and the consequences of conflict over identities and resources. Exploring the development and potential futures of social and institutional structures as well as their implications for human wellbeing and justice, we will work to foster positive cultural and social exchange and engagement.

Security & Risk

Security is an inescapable issue facing society. The security of individuals and societies worldwide is threatened by natural disasters and climate change, by political and criminal violence, conflict, fraud, and other issues, all requiring analysis and interventions to secure peace, prosperity and justice. Our activities will address the challenges of achieving and safeguarding the physical and electronic security of individuals, organisations and societies, and exploring and understanding the tensions and conflicts arising in an interconnected world. We will work to plot responses to unpredictable change, develop strategic decision-making and leadership capabilities, and build understanding of the mechanisms and approaches required for effective, efficient and equitable collective security.