PhD Studentships in Citizenship, Civil Society and Rule of Law 2017-20, University of Aberdeen, UK

Publish Date: Jan 19, 2017

Deadline: Feb 10, 2017

2017-20 PhD Studentships

Deadline: 10 February 2017

We are delighted to offer TWO 3-year PhD studentships with an EU/Overseas fee waiver and a full living stipend of £14,539 per annum, starting in September 2017.

We welcome applicants from a variety of disciplines, including anthropology, cultural and literary studies, education, history, legal theory and socio-legal studies, philosophy, politics, religious studies, sociology, and theology.

The Centre

Founded in 2009, CISRUL studies the application of political ideas globally. The Centre draws on expertise across disciplines to examine how political principles function within and beyond the contemporary West. Concepts such as ‘citizenship’, ‘civil society’, and the ‘rule of law’ are used as often by policy makers as by scholars. Core to CISRUL’s mission is informing academic and public debate on how they are used, and to what effect.

Selection Criteria

Our selection criteria for the PhD bursaries are:

1. Quality of application – we are looking for world-class applicants, so please make sure you submit the very best application you are capable of.

2. Closeness of fit to CISRUL’s ongoing debates – please browse this website for detailed information about our interests, which include radical protest, political community, religion and the secular, democracy, constitutionalism, human rights and pluralism.

3. Closeness of fit to one or more of the CISRUL core members – see CISRUL Faculty Members under Home tab. We are also happy to consider co-supervision with other Aberdeen staff.

NB: Applicants must hold or be close to completing a postgraduate Masters degree in a relevant field.


The deadline for receiving complete applications is Friday, 10 February 2017.

How to apply

What PhD programme should I apply for?

You can either apply to the Centre’s own inter-disciplinary PhD in Citizenship, Civil Society and Rule of Law, or to PhD programmes within Anthropology, Divinity, Education, French, Hispanic Studies, History, Law, Sociology, Philosophy, Politics, and International Relations.

The PhD in Citizenship, Civil Society and Rule of Law is perfectly suited to students whose interests cross more than one discipline, and who are worried about being told that their PhD project does not fit with the strictures of a single discipline.

However, you are equally welcome to apply for CISRUL funding if you are interested in our topics but decide to enrol for a PhD in Anthropology, Divinity, Education, French, Hispanic Studies, History, Law, Sociology, Philosophy, Politics, and International Relations. Several of our current PhD students are enrolled in one of these disciplines and are supervised (or co-supervised) by CISRUL Faculty in that discipline.

Programme Details page

Whichever PhD programme you apply for, please indicate on the Programme Details page under “Scholarship / Studentship Title and Code (if applicable)” that you are applying for a University of Aberdeen CISRUL studentship. To make sure your application finds its way to CISRUL, you should also email our secretary Lisa Baxter to let her know you have submitted it.

The full requirements for applying to non-CISRUL Aberdeen University graduate programmes and funding are listed on the official website.

Please note that applications that do not include all these elements will not be considered.


Under “Name of proposed supervisor, if known” please write the name of the CISRUL member or members whose interests are closest to yours (see CISRUL Faculty Members on the Home tab). You should also write any other Aberdeen staff who you believe may be able to supervise you, especially if you have had contact with them. You are encouraged to make contact with possible supervisors before you submit your application.

Research Proposal:

The most important document is the Research Proposal, which you upload on the Programme Details page. You must give a full, clear account of your proposed research. Clearly identify your proposed research topic, make clear what you think the significance of the research is, and make sure you also reflect on what data/sources you will need to gather, what methods you will need to use (will you need additional methods training?), and if your research requires fieldwork also reflect on how that fieldwork will be undertaken.

Remember we will also consider how closely your research proposal fits with our CISRUL research profile – the best way of learning about our research is by reading on this website about our previous and future events, as well as publications.

  • Give your application reference and your name in the research proposal, and state that you are applying for a PhD studentship from the Centre for Citizenship, Civil Society and Rule of Law.
  • If you are also applying for an Elphinstone studentship, make it clear how your proposal is relevant to this programme, too.

Other supporting documents:

You must also upload evidence of the following:

  • Degree certificate
  • Academic transcript
  • Two letters of reference; and
  • Proof of English proficiency if you are not a native speaker.

You may also wish to include a personal statement/covering letter.

Other sources of funding at Aberdeen:

In addition, you should consult the list of Elphinstone studentships and search for any project which is relevant to your proposed research. If we are unable to offer you a CISRUL studentship, you may still be considered for an Elphinstone studentship, though these provide only a fee waiver and no stipend. Some of the Elphinstone projects are supervised by CISRUL members such as Karin Friedrich, Tamas Gyorfi, Trevor Stack, Andrea Teti, and Cristina Flesher Fominaya. You can add the name of the relevant Elphinstone project under “Scholarship / Studentship Title and Code (if applicable)” after you put CISRUL studentship.


If you have any questions about the CISRUL application process, please email Lisa Baxter in the first instance.

Any queries about the process of applying to non-CISRUL funding or PhD positions should be directed to the University’s Admissions Office (

In advance of submitting your application, you are encouraged to contact potential supervisors to discuss the potential topic of your research.

For more information please click "Further Official Information" below.

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