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Welcome to the PhD programme in International Relations at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, an active and engaged community that provides you with leading-edge research opportunities.

Our PhD students will engage in a supportive research environment. The Postgraduate School and the School of Humanities and Social Science work to foster this community through research seminars and academic development sessions.

Based at XJTLU, our programme is a strategic research collaboration between XJTLU and the University of Liverpool. Upon successful completion, you will receive a University of Liverpool degree that is recognised by the Chinese Ministry of Education.

As a registered full-time PhD student, you may apply for a research visit to the University of Liverpool for up to six months. XJTLU and the University of Liverpool would cover your accommodation and travel costs.

Pursuing a full-time PhD normally involves three years of conducting research and one year of writing a thesis, supported by skills training and development. It usually takes three to four years to complete the full-time PhD programme; part-time PhD four to six years.

XJTLU provides every registered PhD student with up to 16,500 RMB over the course of study for expenses related to attending academic conferences. The purpose of this fund is to support your academic experience, encourage the dissemination of research, and enhance XJTLU’s research profile domestically and internationally.

We offer supervision across a wide range of subjects, including most areas of International Relations, Area Studies, and Politics focusing on any part of the world.


We welcome proposals from students interested in relevant areas of expertise, including:

  • International relations in China, including security, policy and economy
  • International policies and relations in Africa, America, Asia-Pacific, and the European Union
  • International political economyI
  • Approaches to peace and state-buildi
  • Critical security studies
  • Post-structural approaches to IR
  • International development studies
  • International communication
  • Propaganda studies
  • Political ideology
  • Soft power studies
  • Cold War: international history
  • Intelligence studies
  • Ethnic minorities studies.


  • Opportunities to work with active researchers who are making an impact in their fields
  • Support and supervision for your research project
  • Receipt of a range of professional skills to help you maximise your future employability
  • Travel budgets for participating in international conferences
  • The chance to apply for a research visit to the University of Liverpool for up to six months
  • Opportunities to work as a teaching assistant and develop communication skills

Please check the FAQ for further studies of PhD at XJTLU

Potential supervisors


XJTLU offers a range of scholarships to highly motivated and qualified PhD candidates.


Each academic year includes two application rounds for PhD candidates’ proposed projects:

First round – applications submitted by 17:00 CST(UTC+8), 15 October will be reviewed in the first round and the decision will be announced in December.

Second round – applications submitted by 17:00 CST(UTC+8), 15 April will be reviewed in the second round and the decision will be announced in June.

Go to the Scholarship page for more information.