Security, Conflict and Human Rights

                             Pathway available at Bath, Bristol and Exeter

What is it?

Security, Conflict and Human Rights is an Interdisciplinary research pathway that explicitly recognises that traditional approaches to security and conflict must encompass different disciplinary perspectives on issues of human (in)security to develop better strategies for resolving conflicts and protecting human rights. Globalisation has altered the security environment. Violence has shifted from organised inter-state war to protracted warfare fought by non-state actors and local militias as well as state militaries. Climate change, forced migration, gender-based violence, radicalisation, humanitarian emergencies, terrorism, WMD proliferation, have to varying degrees been securitised by states, intergovernmental institutions, and non-governmental organisations. This broadening of the global security agenda has highlighted the limits of existing local, regional and global responses to these new challenges, and although human rights are codified within international law, their implementation is often inhibited.  A vital ingredient in addressing the complex agenda is an inter-disciplinary pooling of knowledge and expertise that draws together sociological and socio-legal research on human rights, gender, violence and ethnopolitics; area studies expertise on language, culture and practice; and political and legal research on sovereignty, institutions and intervention.

Who is it for?

The Security, Conflict and Human Rights pathway will train researchers who are equipped with the interdisciplinary skills to impact the research, policy and practice needed to avoid and mitigate security risks. Students from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds will be accepted into this pathway.

What are the prerequisites?

Security, Conflict and Human Rights will offer both 1+3 and +3 studentships. Students applying for the 1+3 programme will have a high honours undergraduate degree or equivalent from a relevant discipline. Students applying for the +3 programme must have completed an MRes or MSc programme with appropriate research training or equivalent by September 2023.

What will I study in the first year?

Research training in the Security, Conflict and Human Rights pathway will follow the standard SWDTP interdisciplinary format; three core research training modules will be selected from the consortium’s offerings in research design, data collection and data analysis; there will be one pathway specific module; and two modules will be selected from an open unit list. The core research training modules will include a new module called Advanced Interdisciplinary Research Design. This module will address the characteristics and challenges of ‘doing’ interdisciplinary research. It will be mandatory core training for this pathway. The pathway specific module will be a custom-designed and co-convened core course for the pathway entitled Interdisciplinary Approaches to Security, Conflict and Human Rights. This core module will be taught by a cross-institutional team directed by a designated pathway co-ordinator. It will introduce students to key concepts and debates in this field including new and traditional theories of war and violence, as well as sections on state and non-state capacities for conflict prevention, gender based violence and human rights. There is also a research dissertation.

Who will supervise my thesis?

All ESRC funded students will have two supervisors, one from each of two institutions in the SWDTP.  The supervisors will come from different disciplines.  Non ESRC funded students will have two supervisors from different disciplines within one institution. The supervisors will convene joint meetings on a regular basis.

When would it start?

Students will be expected to start September/October annually. If you undertake the MRes prior to your PhD please note that there will be two core units that may not be taught at your home institution and will require you to travel. Travel expenses will be reimbursed.

How many studentships are there in this pathway?

PhD studentships will be awarded each year on a competitive basis from a pool of 45 SWDTP studentships across the five universities.

How do I apply?

  • Work out your substantive research topic.
  • Contact the pathway lead at your preferred host University with a brief description of your proposed topic (no more than 1 page). We will then put you in touch with potential supervisor(s) for your topic.
  • Dr Katharina Lenner, University of Bath,; Filippo Dionigi, University of Bristol,, or David Lewis, University of Exeter,
  • Write a 1300-word proposal.
  • Students applying for ESRC funded studentships are encouraged to contact the pathway lead at their preferred host University prior to application in order to discuss their research ideas and identify suitable potential supervisors.  Students are also encouraged to look at ways of incorporating collaboration with external partners into their research proposal.  Collaboration does not always have to be a financial arrangement and could take the form of a placement, voluntary work, data sharing or other payment in kind opportunities.  Students considering overseas fieldwork, overseas institutional visits or difficult language training should also mention this in their application.
  • Submit your proposal to your host University using their online application form.
  • Please see the Admissions Statement & FAQs 2023 Entry for further information about the proposal and collaboration.

Bath: PhD Security, Conflict and Human Rights | University of Bath

Bristol: PhD Security, Conflict and Human Rights | Study at Bristol | University of Bristol

Exeter: Security, Conflict and Human Rights | Postgraduate taught | University of Exeter

How do I apply for a studentship