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We offer the PhD in International Affairs programme in English, leading to the degree conferred by our British partner, The University of Buckingham. The PhD in International Affairs programme is aimed at policy-makers and experts of international affairs to address critical issues centred on diplomacy, foreign policy, and international relations.

Duration of study period 3 years
Starting date September, February (The admission process can take 4-6 months after the online application.)
Application submission 15 April for the September intake / 15 October for the February intake
Tuition fee per year € 6,200
Tuition fee for the full programme € 18,600
Validation fee € 1,200
Degree awarded by The University of Buckingham
Campus Budapest*
Admission criteria First or second class, upper division Master's degree
Language of tuition English

*Students have to consult with their supervisors on the campus 12 times per year. At the end of the programme, the viva voce examination is also held on the Budapest campus.

Course outline

The PhD in International Affairs programme is aimed at policy-makers and experts of international affairs to address critical issues centred on diplomacy, foreign policy, and international relations.

The PhD in International Affairs is an advanced research degree during which students undertake supervised but independent research that leads to a thesis of up to 100,000 words presenting the results of that research. The thesis must demonstrate extended familiarity with and a comprehensive understanding of the subject and the academic literature in the area; show an ability to construct and execute a plan for primary research, including data collection and its critical analysis; and offer an original contribution to knowledge in the field of international affairs.

Postgraduate students on our PhD programme will first be enrolled on a Probationary PhD Status. All students enrolled onto the programme will be supported by supervisors who will help them develop a research and writing plan and guide them through the preparation of a formal final research proposal during their first two semesters of study. All research students must also subject their work to an annual progress review. Upon demonstrating satisfactory progress at the Annual Review exam at the end of their first year, which includes successfully defending a feasible research proposal, students are upgraded to Full PhD Status. Should students fail to pass their first Annual Review, they may either be asked to resubmit an amended proposal, have their registration changed to an MPhil (Master of Philosophy) degree or, in extreme cases, have their registration terminated.

Recommended PhD Topics for International affairs

IBS welcomes research proposals that match or are similar to IBS staff’s current research topics and/or fall within the potential supervisors’ areas of expertise. Please consult the guide to writing a research proposal below before submitting an application.

Below is a list of PhD topics that our academic staff have suggested as research opportunities for PhD in International affairs students to undertake. IBS encourages PhD candidates to develop a proposal around one of these topics.

  • International migration, patterns and effects
  • Challenges of cohabitation between majority societies and Muslim minorities in Europe
  • Impact of migrants’ remittances on the sending (home) countries' economy and society - at national, regional, family and/or household level
  • International aid: traditional versus emerging donors
  • The European Union's enlargement to the Western Balkans: challenges and perspectives
  • Disintegration in Europe: Brexit and its aftermath
  • Economic and social cohesion in the EU: a critical evaluation of the EU's regional policy

Guide to Writing Your Research Proposal

Academic referee's report


While there is no compulsory teaching in the research degrees at IBS, the Research Programmes Council will be based on the evaluation of their admission file, strongly recommend candidates to attend one or several of the following workshops.

Teaching methods

Candidates spend a considerable part of their studies undertaking supervised research, at the end of which they submit a thesis presenting the results of said research. This thesis must demonstrate familiarity with, and a critical understanding of the academic debates in the field, including an ability to evaluate evidence and assess biases in the writing of others. The subject should be dealt with in a competent and scholarly manner.

Entry requirements and application process

You can read about the entry requirements and the application process here