Critical geopolitics and international relations in South Asia

Eligibility: UK/International (including EU) graduates with the required entry requirements

Duration: Full-Time – between three and three and a half years fixed term. Up to 3.5 full-time.

Application deadline: 29 April 2024

Interview date: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: September 2024

For further details contact: Serena Hussain


This PhD project is part of the Cotutelle arrangement between Coventry University, UK and Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.

The successful applicant will spend the first year at Deakin University and the following year at Coventry University and then the final 1.5 years at Deakin University

The supervision team will be drawn from the two universities.

Project details

The project will critically examine key issues in geopolitical/international relations between two or more South Asian nations in one or more of the following areas: gender; environmental politics; grassroots/subaltern border politics; politics of soft diplomacy in South Asia; and South Asian diaspora politics. Prospective candidates are also welcome to contact supervisors A/Profs. Yamini Narayanan (Deakin) and Serena Hussein (Coventry) with topics of their choice.

The PhD project under the Deakin-Coventry Universities cotutelle arrangement will undertake a critical analysis of issues that are central in international relations politics and praxis but are relatively understudied in mainstream IR scholarship. These themes include: gender and international relations; South Asian environmental politics; grassroots/subaltern border politics and informal governance and development in contested and/or shifting South Asian borderlands; politics of soft diplomacy in South Asia; and the influence and significance of South Asian diaspora politics to the region.

The project may undertake a transversal or intersectional analysis of two or more of these themes through a clearly proposed case study that demonstrate the frictions, alliances, and complex interactions between specific South Asian nations. The project will ultimately unveil the significance of overlooked actors, sites, and relationalities in South Asia, and contribute to a clearer understanding of conflict and cooperation in South Asia.


Tuition fees, stipend, additional allowances. 


The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities. 

Candidate specification

Applicants must meet the admission and scholarship criteria for both Coventry University and Deakin University for entry to the cotutelle programme.  

This includes:

  • Applicants should have graduated within the top 15% of their undergraduate cohort. This might include a high 2:1 in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 70% mark (80% for Australian graduates) in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 70% overall module average (80% for Australian graduates). 
  • A Masters degree in a relevant subject area, with overall mark at minimum Merit level. In addition, the mark for the Masters dissertation (or equivalent) must be a minimum of 80%. 
  • Please note that where a candidate has 70-79% and can provide evidence of research experience to meet equivalency to the minimum first-class honours equivalent (80%+) additional evidence can be submitted and may include independently peer-reviewed publications, research-related awards or prizes and/or professional reports. 
  • Language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component).
  • The potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a prescribed period of study.  

For an overview of each University’s entry requirements please visit:  

Please note that it is essential that applicants confirm that they are able to physically locate to both Coventry University (UK) and Deakin University (Australia).

How to apply

All applications require full supporting documentation, a covering letter, plus an up to 2000-word supporting statement showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project. 

All candidates must apply to both universities.

To find out more about the project please contact Serena Hussain.

Apply to Coventry University
 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023