Activities sponsored by the ESRC South West Doctoral Training Centre

Three Advanced Training Programmes for Political Theorists

As part of the Advanced Training of the South West Doctoral Training Centre (SWDTC), we offer three Programmes aimed to theoretical, normative and interdisciplinary research areas in the social sciences and humanities, with particular reference to political theory and international political theory.

  1. Programme on Issues in Theory and Normative-oriented Research
  2. Programme on Methodologies in Normative and Theoretical Research
  3. Programme on Interdisciplinary and Integrated Research

 Find out about coming events


Aims of the Programmes

Their main aim is to promote innovative training in theoretical, normative and interdisciplinary areas of research. Although the ESRC guidelines for research training and research design aim to be comprehensive, they tend to leave out specific training and research design for more theoretical and normative oriented aspects of the discipline. This is often limited to the study of the philosophy of the social sciences. Traditional modules on ‘research design’ fail to address the specific problems raised by more theoretical and normative social areas of the discipline. The programmes aim to offer workshops and seminars that combine substantive and methodological reflections on issues such areas of research.


Staff and Students involved in the Programmes

The participants’ composition will be both inter-institutional and inter-disciplinary. The Programmes involve staff and students from SWDTC institutions, but also from other UK institutions. Invited speakers comprise high profile national and international scholars.

Core participants comprise staff, research and taught postgraduates in Political Theory and International Political Theory, but also MRes students from various disciplines, and staff and research students from non-politics departments but with an interest in theory (e.g.: from Law, Philosophy, Sociology, Geography, Gender and Multicultural Studies).

For further information, you can contact: Dario Castiglione:


About the ESRC South West Doctoral Training Centre

The Universities of Bristol, Exeter and Bath have formed one of the UK’s largest Centres of postgraduate research training for social scientists in fields ranging from economics and human geography to quantitative methodology and psychology.

Together, the three Universities educate over 5,000 masters and 1,600 doctoral students in the social sciences. The Centre draws on the established research excellence of the partners, including the expertise of more than 750 social science research staff. This represents one of the largest groupings of social scientists in the UK.

The Economic and Social Research Council has granted doctoral training centre status to the collaboration. The South West Doctoral Training Centre (SWDTC) has been accredited to offer a hub of world-class social sciences research. As one of only 21 Centres in the UK, the SWDTC is part of a national network which will train a new generation of social scientists. The SWDTC has been allocated 41 studentships per annum.

The SWDTC offers +3 training where students register for a three-year PhD programme, and 1+3 training which includes one year of research training through a Masters programme followed by a three-year PhD programme.

Find out more about the SWDTC