PhD Studentship in Public Policy and Design Thinking

King's College London - Department of Political Economy

King’s College London (King’s) and the University of the Arts London (UAL) are delighted to announce a PhD studentship in public policy and design thinking.

King’s and UAL are world-leading institutions in the fields of policy analysis and design thinking. King’s is home to the Policy Institute, which aims to bring together the experience and expertise of practitioners and academic policy analysts. UAL is home to the Innovation Insights Hub, which provides a unique context for students to explore, develop and assess the intersections between design and policy.

The King’s PhD studentship will be offered on a full-time basis for 3 years or a part-time basis for 6 years. However, priority will be given to applicants seeking to enrol on a full-time programme of study. One studentship is currently available.

The successful candidate will have access to PhD training and development combining the strengths of two very different institutions including their researchers, PhD students, events, networks and visiting fellows.

Research topics

We invite candidates to apply to conduct research on topics that involve the analysis of policy making approaches, such as:

  • Involving users, citizens and stakeholders as actors in policy development through collaborative platforms, events and design challenges
  • Developing and testing policy options to address a particular challenge
  • The differences between and benefits of combining prototyping, trials and pilots within policy experimentation

Eligibility criteria

All applicants must:

  • Qualify for tuition fees at the Home (UK) or EU rate
  • Possess, or be due to obtain, a Master’s-level post-graduate qualification with a grade of Merit overall, and at least 65% on the Dissertation component 
  • Any other criteriarequired by the Department of Political Economy for admission
  • Apply, and be deemed eligible for entry to the PhD in Public Policy in the Department of Political Economy, applying to study from January 2018

Who should apply

Applicants with a Master’s qualification in any field will be considered. King’s and UAL particularly welcome candidates with backgrounds in the following areas which are of direct relevance to this opportunity: politics, behavioural science, sociology and psychology.

Experience of policy making or policy contexts is not necessary but may be an advantage, and a clear interest in and understanding of one or more policy areas would be a strength. 


The successful candidate will be jointly supervised by researchers from both King’s and UAL. Students are invited to indicate which academics they believe would be best placed to supervise their proposed thesis. However, supervisors will be allocated after the application process.

How to apply

  1. Apply for entry onto the PhD in Public Policy in the Department of Political Economy by 15 October 2017 using the King’s online application system. Please indicate that you are applying for the King’s studentship in the Public Policy and Design Thinking in the funding section of your application.
  2. Submit your project proposal of up to 3,000 words plus references (guidance here) with your application, and also send a copy to In your proposal, it would be helpful to have the following sections: Introduction/rationale, theoretical contribution, methods/project plan, and timetable.
  3. Provide a personal statement outlining why you want this particular studentship (maximum 1,000 words).
  4. All materials must be submitted by 15 October 2017.
  5. Panel interviews will be held during November 2017.
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