Application process

The Global Development Institute provides PhD researchers with the opportunity to study a wide variety of exciting topics in global development.

Admission to studying for a PhD is highly competitive, so please allow as much time as possible to prepare your application, browse our research pages and academics' profiles, and familiarise yourself with the application process and any important deadlines.

Many of the scholarships have early deadlines so if you are looking for funding you are advised to apply early.

Application requirements

Your completed application should include:

  • two references, one of which should be familiar with your academic work, on headed paper from the institution, signed, dated and stamped;
  • a degree certificate and transcript for your bachelor's and master's degrees;
  • a research proposal;
  • evidence of your English language proficiency;
  • a personal statement outlining your reasons for wishing to study on the programme, and the experience and skills you will bring;
  • a detailed CV.

Finding a supervisor 

Your supervisor will be an important part of your PhD programme. It's a close relationship over many years, through which you develop your ideas, skills, thinking and research. As a result, your supervisor's research interests need to closely align with yours. PhD study is structured through the PhD Supervisory Framework and PhD researchers are part of the Rory and Elizabeth Brooks Doctoral College.

If you aren't applying for a specific project, you'll need to find potential supervisors who will support your research. Details on recent publications, ongoing projects and particular research interests are all available on our academics' profiles.

It is important to approach academics who complement your research interests before you apply.

Most potential supervisors will also be happy to provide pre-submission feedback on a well-developed draft proposal that closely matches their research expertise. For more guidance, see How to write a research proposal.

Potential PhD supervisors

The following researchers are currently available to supervise PhD students.

Digital development 

Digital technologies have the potential to catalyse development, but they can also accentuate inequality and fuel injustice.

Digital development research group

Migration, refugees and asylum

The contemporary world is characterised by a high degree of mobility, making people on the move important political and developmental actors.

Migration, refugees and asylum research group

Global urban futures

The geography of many cities is characterised by inequality, segregation and fragmentation, with concentrations of poverty and wealth in close proximity.

  • Dr Nicola Banks - Lecturer, International Development: Urban Development and Global Urbanism
  • Dr Tom Gillespie - Lecturer, Poverty, Inequality & Pro-Poor Politics
  • Prof Diana Mitlin - Professor, Global Urbanism, Director of Global Urban Research Centre
  • Dr Seth Schindler - Senior Lecturer, Urban Development and Urban Transformation

Global urban futures research group

Growth and distribution

Poverty and inequality are at the heart of the link between growth and distribution and their alleviation depends on effective political and governance mechanisms.

Growth and distribution research group

Politics, governance and management

Building more effective and inclusive institutions that can deliver development is one of the most significant challenges in the Global South.

Politics, governance and management research group 

Global production networks, trade and labour

Global production is undergoing a significant evolution, with more polycentric trade, new technologies, and the challenges of sustainable development.

Global production networks, trade and labour research group

Agrarian change and political ecology

Ending extreme poverty and hunger requires a transformation of agricultural production systems and linkages to the rest of the economy.

Agrarian change and political ecology research group