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Postgraduate research (PhD)

Our three year structured Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programme is inspired by the need to conduct rigorous, in-depth research and analysis on the impact and outcomes of contemporary and historical crises.

Combining action research and reflective, practice-inspired pedagogy will give postgraduate researchers a broad and well-rounded understanding of fundamental issues in humanitarianism and conflict responses.

The ways in which States, NGOs and individuals respond to conflict has become a particularly salient issue since the end of the Cold War. The global aid industry has experienced the dual pressures of rapid growth, accompanied by a significant expansion in the roles it is expected to fulfil and range of tasks it has tried to perform. This, combined with a considerable rise in the number of nation-states (and thus bilateral actors), governmental organisations and NGOs, has resulted in a fragmented geopolitical system in which there is little policy coherence and even less clarity of action. Decision-makers are therefore no longer able to interact exclusively with the diplomats, senior civil servants and international leaders who constituted the contours of global governance of yesteryear, but must instead entertain inputs from a diverse set of stakeholders.

Educational programmes looking at the ways in which these actors respond to conflict- and disaster affected contexts are still comparatively scarce. Unlike the better established fields of peace studies, conflict theory and war strategy, important work is required before governments, policy makers and citizens involved in organising humanitarian and other responses to conflict- and disaster affected contexts, are able to discern and incorporate academic research into functional outcomes. Without such inputs, there is, in an increasingly interdependent and information-rich world, an imminent danger that those seeking to intervene in conflict- and disaster affected contexts will merely replicate the errors of previous generations.

This structured PhD is inspired by the need to conduct rigorous, in-depth research and analysis on the impact and outcomes of contemporary and historical crises. It is driven by a desire to inform and support policy and decision makers (inc. World Health Organisation, Foreign Office), to optimise joint working between partner organisations, and to foster increased understanding and debate within the field of humanitarianism and global health. We welcome applications from students wishing to study in the interdisciplinary research areas of global health, disaster response and humanitarian aid.

We welcome applications from students wishing to study in one of the following areas:

  • Emergency humanitarian assistance in conflict and catastrophe
  • Theory and empirical research concerning contemporary violent conflict
  • Theory and practice of conflict resolution
  • Militarism and the use of force in humanitarian interventions
  • Critical peace studies
  • Response, mitigation and preparedness for natural/man-made disasters
  • The history of humanitarian relief from the 19th century onwards
  • Turkey, political violence, conflict theory and state formation
  • Performance and artistic responses to war and disaster
  • The politics of modern peacebuilding
  • Post-conflict governance in the third world
  • The history of population displacement from the 19th century onwards

Entry Requirements

To be accepted onto the HCRI PhD programme, candidates are required to hold one of the following:

  • A Master's degree with an overall classification of Merit or higher, or its overseas equivalent, in Humanitarian and Conflict Response, History, Politics, Anthropology, Medicine or related subject.
  • A Master's degree with an overall classification of Merit or higher, or its overseas equivalent, in a related subject plus appropriate professional accreditation or experience.

English language - students whose first language is not English are required to take either the IELTS or TOEFL test. On the IELTS test, applicants require an overall IELTS score of 7.0 with 7.0 in the writing component; on the TOEFL test, applicants require a score of score of 600 paper-based test or 100 internet-based test.

Study details

We will offer a flexible approach to the provision of teaching, to cater for the current needs of the aid industry and prepare the next generation of crisis response researchers and practitioners; the programme will seek to engage directly with people affected by situations of ongoing crises. This PhD therefore reflects the need for structured forms of professional development and dynamic knowledge practices that function effectively across multiple academic and non-academic contexts. Action research and reflective practice-inspired pedagogy can respond to and influence the complex, unpredictable and shifting social, political and cultural contexts within which professional practitioners operate. The PhD will introduce students to a range of dynamic and challenging concepts and methods with which to reflect critically and constructively on their current professional experience/context. This pedagogical approach enables students' professional context to become a primary research resource. The programme includes:

  • Enrolment on the Course Unit Research and Evaluation Methods
  • Research seminars and discussions with peers and HCRI academic staff
  • Participation in the School’s Arts Methods workshops
  • One to one academic supervision
  • Professional mentoring
  • Reflective practice conducted via enquiry based learning, including online reflective conversations
  • Independent research with supervision and mentoring
  • Participation in the annual HCRI PGR conference

Students will be able to access SALC’s skills awareness programme which offers generic training programme for postgraduate students. Students will have access to Faculty of Humanities training programmes as well as relevant training programmes from the Global health programme of the Medical School.

The taught course elements of the programme will include the Research and Evaluation Methods course unit, taught in the first semester of the first year; in addition workshops will take place throughout the programme which will involve students working with their peers, fostering the concept of a cohort who can share experiences and expertise.

Career Opportunities

HCRI offers a doctoral programme inspired by the need to conduct rigorous, in-depth research and analysis on the impact and outcomes of contemporary and historical crises. It is driven by a desire to inform and support policy and decision makers (including WHO, FO) and to optimise joint working between partner organisations, and to foster increased accountability within a knowledge gathering framework. We will offer a flexible approach to the provision of teaching so as to cater for the current needs of the aid industry as well as prepare the next generation of crisis response researchers and practitioners, these programmes will seek to engage directly with people affected by situations of ongoing conflicts and crises.

The PhD programme in Humanitarian and Conflict Response therefore reflects the need for structured forms of professional development and dynamic knowledge practices that function effectively across multiple academic and non-academic contexts. The action research and reflective practice inspired pedagogy can respond to and influence the complex, unpredictable and shifting social, political and cultural contexts within which professional practitioners operate. The programme will introduce students to a range of dynamic and challenging concepts and methods with which to reflect critically and constructively on their current professional experience and context. 

We anticipate students to be engaged with the NGO world and to prepare them to further their role in the field of humanitarian and conflict response. Furthermore, students in receipt of school or discipline funding will be expected to conduct a number of hours of teaching or administrative work within the Institute. We would also encourage other PhD students to gain teaching experience to add value to their overall PhD programme and ensure contact with those from the field who are participating in our variety of Bachelors and Masters level programmes.

Fees and applications

Course fees for entry in September 2016

PhD (full-time)

  • UK/EU students (per annum): £5,250
  • International students (per annum): £15,500

PhD (part-time)

  • UK/EU students (per annum): £2,625

For funding information please view the associated page.

Applications

To formally apply for the programme, the PhD application process can be accessed at this link.

Programme entry points are in September and January.

The deadline for entry in September 2016 is the end of July 2016.

You can find more information on how to write an academic research proposal on the University of Manchester website.

For all academic lead/course enquiries please contact Jessica Hawkins, HCRI Director of Postgraduate Research jessica.hawkins@manchester.ac.uk

For admissions process/administrative enquiries please contact PHDSALC@manchester.ac.uk.