Research Degrees

The Institute of Commonwealth Studies has been supervising interdisciplinary doctoral degrees for over half a century. The focus of research degrees has increasingly been on the social sciences, particularly on the subjects of human rights, globalization and development, politics, and Commonwealth history. Students pursue their academic interests in the friendly and supportive environment of the Institute; their research is enhanced by the outstanding libraries of the University of London, including the Institute’s own prestigious collection.

Areas of supervision

The following list details members of staff who are able to supervise research at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and their research interests:


Dr. David James Cantor

  • Protection of refugees and other displaced persons, particularly during situations of armed conflict
  • Human Rights and refugee law


Dr. Corinne Lennox

  • Minority rights protection
  • Ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities
  • Multiculturalism
  • Human rights and development and human rights-based approaches to development
  • UN human rights mechanisms
  • Transnational social mobilisation and norm entrepreneurship
  • Indigenous peoples' rights
  • Afro-descendants in Latin America
  • Dalits and caste-based discrimination
  • Roma in Europe


Professor Philip Murphy 

  • Twentieth Century British and Commonwealth History
  • Post-War British Decolonisation


Dr Sue Onslow

  • Southern Africa 1974-1994, especially liberation movements, white minority regimes, and the Cold War struggle
  • Post-war British politics, decolonisation, and foreign policy
  • Britain's bilateral and multilateral Commonwealth relationships between 1965-1990
  • Oral history methodology


Dr Damien Short

  • Sociological and anthropological approaches to human rights
  • Indigenous rights
  • Reconciliation initiatives
  • Ecocide
  • Genocide Studies


Dr Sarah Singer

  • Refugee law and policy, human rights and migration
  • Asylum seekers and other migrants suspected of serious criminality
  • Terrorism, anti-terrorist measures and foreign nationals


Why the ICwS?

The Institute of Commonwealth Studies offers a unique scholarly environment in which to pursue doctoral research. Doctoral candidates are able to draw on the wide-ranging expertise of staff in a supportive, friendly environment. The Institute is located in Bloomsbury, the heart of intellectual London; students at the Institute have access to the world-class Senate House libraries as well as to the libraries of all the colleges of the University of London.

The School of Advanced Study draws on its expertise in research and teaching to provide programmes of varied and challenging research and skills training. These programmes help support our students and graduate researchers in their wider preparation for careers, in academia or elsewhere.






Funding opportunities within the ICWS and School of Advanced Study