International Politics Summer School



  • A two-week residential summer school tackling the vital issues that shape politics in the modern world, with a regional focus.
  • Undertake in-depth analysis of political and social developments in Africa, China, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, Russia and the Former Soviet Union and South Asia.
  • Study in small seminar groups with a specialist tutor, enabling students to study their subject in meaningful detail.
  • Attend daily lecture programme given by world-renowned academics and best-selling authors: previous lecturers have included Archie Brown, Margaret Macmillan, Rosemary Foot, Anand Menon, Laurence Whitehead, and Rana Mitter.
  • Participate in lively discussion groups.
  • Study and live at St Antony's College, Oxford University's only college to focus exclusively on international affairs.

Applicants choose one course from:

  • Critical Approaches to African Politics - Accepting late applications
  • The Politics of the Chinese Party-State - SEMINAR FULL
  • European Union Politics - SEMINAR FULL
  • Latin American Political Economies: Past, Present, and Future - Accepting late applications
  • Politics in the Middle East and North Africa - Accepting late applications
  • Power, Resources and Political Identity in Russia and the Former Soviet Union - Accepting late applications
  • People, Power and Politics in Contemporary South Asia - Accepting late applications

See "Programme details", below, for seminar descriptions. Each seminar has five two-hour meetings per week, and classes will usually contain no more than 15 students.

Contact hours

The programme provides a minimum of 45 contact hours, comprising:

  • 20 hours of seminar meetings (10 meetings, each lasting 2 hours);
  • 15 hours of lectures (10 lectures, each lasting 1.5 hours); and
  • 10 hours of discussion group sessions (10 discussions, each lasting 1 hour).


The daily timetable, Monday-Friday in both weeks, will normally be as follows:

  • 09.00-11.00 - Seminars
  • 11.30-13.00 - Lecture
  • 14.00-16.00/17.00 - Private study
  • 16.00-17.00 or 17.00-18.00 - Discussion groups

Discussion groups

Students will have the opportunity to reflect on the day’s guest lecture in discussion groups. The discussions will enable students to interact with participants from other seminar groups, facilitating debate of global issues from a cross-regional perspective. 

Discusson groups are moderated by researchers active in their field:

Alison Smith is the Director of Political Developments, a consultancy specialising in political transition. She holds a doctorate in Comparative Government and an master's degree in Russian and East European Studies from St Antony's College, Oxford. She has tutored in Comparative politics, Russian politics and European politics at Oxford University. Her publications include Political Party Membership in New Democracies: Electoral Rules in Central and East Europe. She also has 20 years of experience in British politics, and her second book, If Scotland Votes Yes, will be published imminently.

Anna J. Davis is a doctororal researcher in Area Studies at St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford working on how international identity in the former Soviet Union is developed through civil nuclear energy relationships with Russia. Anna holds an Associate Fellowship with the Higher Education Academy and regularly teaches tutorials, seminars, and classes for postgraduate students. She is also a Researcher at the Oxford Belarus Observatory and a Research Associate and former OIES-Aramco Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.

Programme details

Seminar options

Students take one course from the following.

Critical Approaches to African Politics

There is a long history of misunderstanding the politics of African countries. This course challenges these myths and introduces a range of critical approaches to understanding governance and development-related issues, with a particular focus on South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, and the countries of the Great Lakes and the Horn. Seminars are designed to debate issues such as:

  • the politics of race and ethnicity;
  • development, aid and the ‘resource curse’;
  • colonialism and its legacies;
  • nations, post-colonial states and civil conflict;
  • democratisation since the 1990s;
  • land, land reform and agrarian issues;
  • climate change, land reform and conservation;
  • the politics of epidemics, outbreaks and disasters.

Tutor: Dan Hodgkinson is a Lecturer in African History and Politics and Leverhulme Research Fellow at the Department of International Development, Oxford. His research interests include histories of protest and dissent in Zimbabwe as well as political histories of African cinema. He focuses on Southern Africa, specifically Zimbabwe, but has a wider interest in Anglophone Africa, specifically Ghana. He is the author of Zimbabwe’s Student Activists: An Oral history from Colonial Rule to the Coup and has published in Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, the Journal of Southern African Studies, and The Oxford Handbook on Zimbabwean Politics among others. His current project, Visions of Life, is a film-project that explores the political aims of the continent’s first generation of film-makers.

The Politics of the Chinese Party-State - SEMINAR FULL

As the Chinese Communist Party installed the next generation of the country’s leaders at the 20th Party Congress in autumn 2022, this course explores the anatomy of the Chinese Party-state. It considers both the organisational structure and ideology of the Chinese Party-state and explores the dynamics of contemporary Chinese politics and the many challenges its leadership faces. It will focus on questions such as: 

  • Does Xi Jinping matter in how Chinese politics is being run?
  • What role does ideology play in contemporary China?
  • How can we understand the relationship between the Communist Party, the state, society, and the economy?
  • To what extent is “law” autonomous from the Party?
  • What are the prospects for liberal political reform?
  • How can we understand China’s role in the international order?

Tutor: Jean Christopher Mittelstaedt is a Departmental Lecturer in Modern Chinese Studies at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Oxford. His work explores how the Chinese Communist Party governs itself and structures Chinese politics, with a focus on law, social management, and ideology. This research has been published in journals such as the China Quarterly and China Information

European Union Politics - SEMINAR FULL

The creation of the European Communities in the 1950s marked the beginning of a bold new experiment in Europe. Today the European Union represents the most advanced example of regional integration. The EU has not only transformed policy-making in Europe in profound ways, it has also emerged as an important international actor. This course explores the history of European integration, the institutional set-up of the European Union and key policies including EU Enlargement and Common Foreign and Security Policy. It also focuses on democratic backsliding in the EU and the future of European integration. It will examine questions such as:

  • What role do treaties play in developing European integration? 
  • Is there a democratic deficit in the EU?
  • What kind of power is the EU?
  • What are the limits to the EU’s transformative power?
  • Can the EU counter democratic backsliding?

Tutor: Eli Gateva is a Lecturer in European Union Politics in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Oxford. She has held academic posts at the University of Manchester, Queen Mary University of London, University of York and University of Nottingham. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She is the author of European Union Enlargement Conditionality and Eli recently contributed to The Oxford Encyclopedia of European Union Politics. Her current research explores if and how the EU can enhance the quality of democracy in EU member states.

Latin American Political Economies: Past, Present, and Future

Inequality, violence, and corruption are but a few of the economic, social and political challenges faced by countries across Latin America. Adopting a multidisciplinary perspective, we will examine how politicians, institutions and the international arena have shaped past and contemporary social outcomes in the region. As such, the course provides the analytical tools to examine topics such as:

  • colonial origins and post-colonial development;
  • Latin America after independence: the roots of institutional weakness;
  • democracy and autocracy in the 20th century;
  • developmental models, volatility, inequality, and the aftermath of Covid-19;
  • territorial unevenness: subnational units, a new frontier?;
  • party systems and party collapse;
  • populism, radicalisms, and democratic backsliding;
  • governance and corruption;
  • security, violence, and organized crime;
  • Latin America and world politics.

Tutor: Javier Pérez Sandoval is the Departmental Lecturer in Latin American Studies at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies (OSGA). He received his doctorate from the University of Oxford and Javier’s research looks at the dynamics linking socio-economic development and political regimes at the subnational level. His work has been recognized by the American Political Science Association (APSA), the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) and has been published in Agenda Política and Perfiles Latinoamericanos.

Politics in the Middle East and North Africa

It is not uncommon to encounter discourses presenting the Middle East and North Africa as an exceptional region, whose politics stands out from ‘regular politics’. This course studies politics in, rather than of, the Middle East and North Africa. It explores the modern history of this region, notably the debates on the resilience of authoritarianism, through a conceptual and interdisciplinary approach. It invites students to question what is behind exceptionalising discourses by looking at the development of various ideologies, national and transnational movements, ethnic conflicts, political institutions, and economic policies. The course encourages students to engage in theoretical debates and aims to empower them to use, challenge, and redefine political concepts to best describe the political realities of the region. The course adopts a thematic approach, examining topics such as:

  • colonialism and its legacy;
  • nation, nationalism, and nation-building;
  • Islamism;
  • sectarianism;
  • the state and its political and economic institutions;
  • authoritarianism;
  • civil society;
  • democratisation;
  • gender;
  • the Arab Uprisings and the counter-revolution;
  • rethinking the Middle East and North Africa.

Tutor: Kaoutar Ghilani is a postdoctoral fellow at the Forum Transregionale Studien in Berlin. She completed her DPhil at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford, as an Ertegun Scholar. She was a tutor of ‘Politics in the Middle East’ at Oxford and a visiting researcher at the Centre Jacques Berque in Morocco. Kaoutar is currently preparing a monograph on language politics and nation-building in Morocco and her research has been published in the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, the Journal of North African Studies, the Bulletin of Francophone Postcolonial Studies, and the Review of Middle East Studies.

Power, Resources and Political Identity in Russia and the Former Soviet Union

The fifteen post-Soviet states that emerged from the collapse of communism faced similar challenges in 1991. Yet, their political trajectories have differed significantly over the last quarter of a century. This course explores the reasons for this variation in post-communist political development. Focusing on the non-EU states of the former Soviet Union – Russia and the Eastern European (Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine), Central Asian and Caucasus states - it will explore topics such as:

  • the factors that determined the collapse of communism and their legacies;
  • the types of political regimes that have emerged and their institutional dynamics;
  • the nature of property ownership;
  • the sources of conflict: elite, ethnic and clan;
  • the political consequences of the oil curse and corruption;
  • the influence of Russia on regional political developments.

Tutor: Paul Chaisty is Professor of Russian and East European Studies at St Antony's College, Oxford. His publications include Legislative Politics and Economic Power in RussiaCoalitional Presidentialism in Comparative Perspective: Minority Executives in Multiparty Systems; and articles in journals such as Electoral Studies, Europe-Asia Studies, European Journal of Political Research, Government and Opposition, The Journal of Legislative Studies, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Party Politics, Political Research Quarterly, Political Studies and Post-Soviet Affairs.

People, Power and Politics in Contemporary South Asia

How should we go about studying the political aspirations and agency of almost two billion people in South Asia, governed by contradictory and unstable regimes, where religion, language, caste, class, gender, and other identities unite and divide such vast populations? This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to learning about South Asia’s politics, societies and relationship with the world. We will examine key topics of contemporary relevance in South Asian politics such as:

  • drivers of democratic backsliding and authoritarianism;
  • variation in, and evolution of, ethnic and religious nationalism;
  • rule of law and judicialization of politics;
  • the impact of domestic politics on inter-state rivalries;
  • the role of external powers in regional and domestic politics;
  • social movements and popular mobilization.

Tutor: Yasser Kureshi is a Departmental Lecturer in South Asian Studies at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies. His research is focused on judicial politics, comparative authoritarianism, constitutional formations and civil-military relations, with a focus on South Asia. His publications include the 2022 monograph Seeking Supremacy: The Pursuit of Judicial Power, and articles published in Comparative Politics, Journal of Conflict Resolution and Democratization.


Certification and credit

All students who complete the programme will receive an attendance certificate.

Oxford University does not offer credit for this summer school. Those wishing to obtain credit from their home institution for attending this programme must make appropriate arrangements with that institution in advance.

Those seeking credit at their home institution may request a detailed certificate which lists contact hours (for lectures, seminars and discussion group sessions) and the grade (as a percentage) achieved for their written work. Certificates will usually be sent to students' home institutions within a month of the end of the summer school.

Assessment methods

Tutors will monitor students’ contribution to class discussions.

Students who request a detailed certificate, including those who are taking the course for credit at their home universities, are expected to submit an assignment of 2,000 words in length for assessment.


Description Costs
Residential: En suite single room (private bathroom) £3390.00
Residential: Standard single room (shared bathroom) £2890.00


The deadline for the scholarship (28 February 2023) has now passed. Please note there are no further sources of funding (scholarships, bursaries, etc) available for applicants.


Programme fees

The programme fees include:

  • tuition (1 seminar, the daily lecture programme and discussion groups);
  • access to IT facilities and libraries;
  • accommodation in a single room (standard or en suite as outlined above) for the nights of Sunday 30 July to Friday 11 August 2023 inclusive;
  • meals in hall from dinner on Sunday 30 July to breakfast on Saturday 12 August 2023 (except lunch and dinner on Saturday 5 August, and lunch on Sunday 6 August).

We offer a non-residential fee rate strictly for University of Oxford students who have arranged to stay in their home college for the duration of the summer school. Please contact for details. 

Invoicing and payment

Successful applicants who accept their offer of a place on the summer school will be invoiced for the appropriate programme fee once they have been formally enrolled on the programme.

Invoices will be emailed to participants together with full instructions for payment. Fees may be paid online with a credit or debit card, or by bank transfer. Participants are required to pay the full fee within 30 days of the date on which their invoice was issued.

Please note that:

  • participants are expected to take out vacation cancellation insurance to cover the programme fee and travel costs (see "Cancellations", below);
  • a place on the summer school is confirmed as soon as fee payment is received in full by OUDCE. You will receive a receipt for your payment via email.
  • places will not be held for participants whose fees are not paid in full by the due date; and
  • in no circumstances will participants be admitted to the summer school unless all fees have been paid in full.
  • If you are a non-UK participant you will receive a letter via email confirming your enrolment and course details which may be used to support a visa application. 


All enrolments are subject to OUDCE's Short Selective Course Terms and Conditions.

A contract between OUDCE and a participant comes into being when a participant accepts an offer of a place on the summer school.

  • You have the right to cancel this contract at any time within 14 days, beginning on the day you accepted the offer.
  • Places cancelled at any time after the expiry of the 14-day period will not be entitled to any refund of the price paid for the summer school under any circumstances.

If you wish to cancel your place on the summer school you must inform the Programme Administrator by email at

All participants need to purchase travel insurance to cover the programme fee, travel costs, and any other expenses incurred. OUDCE does not provide any insurance cover and the cancellation policy applies in all cases.

OUDCE reserves the right to alter details of any course should illness or any other emergency prevent a tutor from teaching, and to cancel a course or seminar if exceptionally low enrolment would make it educationally unviable.

The status of this course will be reviewed on 15 May 2023. If it is likely that individual seminars or the course may be cancelled, all those affected will be notified by email within 7 days, and possible options clearly explained.

If you have not heard from OUDCE by 22 May 2023, you should assume that the course and your seminars will be running; there is no need to contact us to confirm. You may wish to delay finalising your travel arrangements until after this date.

Teaching methods

Students will:

  • participate in seminars in their region of interest - elements of seminar teaching will normally include tutor-led discussions and student presentations;
  • attend a lecture programme focusing on all regions covered by the summer school; and
  • attend a daily discussion group on the topic of the day's lecture moderated by a senior research student from Oxford University.


Before you submit your application

  • ensure you meet the admissions requirements (see "Selection criteria", below);
  • make sure you have all the required supporting documents listed below;
  • ensure you are familiar with the terms and conditions of enrolment on the summer school, especially those relating to payment of fees and cancellations (see "Payment", above);
  • read the 'Important information regarding immigration and visa requirements' (see "Level and demands", below).

The application process

Download and complete the APPLICATION FORM.

Please ensure all sections are completed fully, clearly, and in BLOCK CAPITALS.

The form must be accompanied by:

  • A brief statement of purpose (250-300 words) detailing your academic reasons for wishing to attend the summer school. This should include what you hope to get out of the programme, and what you are likely to contribute to the intellectual life of the summer school. This may include details of politics, international relations or political science courses you have previously taken, or the relevance of the summer school to your present course of study or professional development. It is essential that you clearly state your reasons for wishing to enrol on a specific seminar.
  • In the case of non-native speakers of English, official evidence of English language proficiency.
  • JPEG portrait photo (only used for Bodleian Reader card following successful enrolment).

Applications should be emailed to:

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

After you have submitted your application

You will receive an email from confirming receipt of your application materials, and informing you when your application will be reviewed by the Programme Director.

Application deadline

Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis until 15 May 2023.

There is a limited number of places available on every seminar, and in assigning successful applicants to seminar groups the Programme Director will pay particular attention to applicants' personal statements.

Subject to the availability of places, late applications may be considered until 15 June 2023.

Notification of the Programme Director's decision

Applicants will normally be notified of the Programme Director's decision by email from within 14 days of their application having been received.

Applicants who are offered a place on the summer school must respond in writing within 14 days to accept or decline the offer. In accepting an offer of a place applicants are committing to paying their programme fees in full by the due date.

Late applicants will be notified within 7 days of their materials having been received, and successful applicants will then have 7 days in which to accept or decline the offer of a place.


Students will be formally enrolled on the summer school once they have accepted their offer of a place. Following enrolment the student will

  • be issued an invoice together with full instructions for payment (see "Payment", above);
  • in 2023, recieve the longer course descriptions and detailed reading lists, joining instructions, and arrival day arrangements.


Level and demands

All participants are expected to

  • undertake preparatory reading in advance of the programme;
  • attend all seminar meetings, lectures and discussion group sessions;
  • be actively engaged with their seminar topic;
  • give several short (10-minute) class presentations;
  • undertake approximately 80 hours of private study during the programme (elements of private study will include: reading and other preparation between seminar meetings and discussion sessions, work in libraries, etc).
  • Students who request a detailed certificate, including those who are taking the course for credit at their home universities, are expected to submit an assignment of 2,000 words in length for assessment.

Disabled students (including those with mobility difficulties)

Disabled students who have registered or are planning to attend a college-based summer school with OUDCE should please contact the Programme Administrator, via email at, to discuss any support needs.

If you would like more information about support available to students with disabilities, please see: or consult the University Access Guide.

Selection criteria

This is an intensive programme of study taught to an informed international audience aged 18 and over. Applicants should be confident that they are academically and linguistically prepared for such a programme.

Academic requirements

Applications are welcomed from:

  • graduates with a subject-appropriate academic background - this could include students who are currently engaged in postgraduate study, or former students who wish to refresh and update their knowledge of international affairs;
  • teachers of politics, history, law, international relations or related social science courses in schools and colleges;
  • professionals in governmental or non-governmental organisations who have experience of international politics and related fields; 
  • senior undergraduates who have completed at least two years of a full-time university degree programme in politics, history, law, international relations or related social science subjects.

English language requirements

Students are expected to participate fully in seminar discussions and produce written work. Therefore applicants must demonstrate an appropriate level of English language proficiency prior to enrolment.

Applicants for whom English is not their first language must provide evidence of their competency in the form of an original certificate or a certified copy that is not more than two years old on the date the summer school starts. The certification must satisfy one of the following requirements:

Non-native speakers of English who have successfully completed a full-time University degree in a country where English is the official language, and where English is the language of programme instruction, can provide their University degree certificate in lieu of the above. Please contact the Programme Administrator for further details.

Important information regarding immigration and visa requirements

European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss nationals (excludes Irish nationals) 

You do not need a visa to enter the UK to participate in the summer school. You can enter as a visitor for up to 6 months by using your passport or identity card at the eGates. Note that from 1 October 2021, you will not be able to use your identity card and will need to show your passport; this is explained on the UK Government website. The Programme Administrator will provide all non-UK students with a standard format pdf letter by email confirming enrolment and course details once their fees have been paid in full which you should keep in your hand luggage in case you are ever asked any questions on arrival. If you have pre-settled or settled status granted under the EU Settlement Scheme this paragraph does not apply. 

Non-EEA nationals 

a. Nationals from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, USA 

If you hold a passport from one of these countries you can enter via the eGates as a visitor for up to 6 months. However, you should still keep the standard format pdf letter we will provide you in your hand luggage in case of any queries, or in case you need to attend a staffed desk if the eGates are not working or if the eGates cannot recognise the chip in your passport. 

b. Other non-EEA nationals 

You may need to apply for a visa before coming to the UK depending on which passport you hold. You can check if you need a visa before coming to the UK on the UK Government website 

  • If the website shows that you require a visa: you must apply for a visitor visa before coming to the UK. Please check current visa processing times to find out how long getting a visa might take in the country you are applying from. 

  • If the website shows that you do not require a visa: you will still need to bring certain documents to show at the border in order to be admitted as a visitor

If you are not a national in section a. we strongly recommend that you establish whether you will require a visa before submitting your application.

Please ensure your summer school application is submitted as early as possible to allow yourself sufficient time to complete the visa application process.

The Programme Administrator will provide all non-UK students with a standard format pdf letter by email confirming enrolment and course details once their fees have been paid in full.

For legal reasons the Programme Administrator is not permitted to provide any visa advice to applicants. You can find information about visitor visas on the University visa and immigration webpages.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have taken the necessary steps to enable you to be admitted to the UK. The university takes no responsibility for a visa being denied at any point before or during a course.

If you fail to attend the course and are from a nationality that require a visa before coming to the UK, we may need to contact the Home Office if we have issued you with a standard format pdf letter for visa purposes to cancel this visa.

Please note that the standard cancellation policy applies in all cases. (See "Cancellations", above.)



St Antony's College was founded to be a centre of advanced study and research in the fields of modern international history, philosophy, economics and politics. Today, St Antony’s College is the leading graduate college at Oxford University dedicated to international, interdisciplinary and area studies. It houses several regional centres focused on Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Japan, Russia, Eurasia and the Middle East. St Antony’s boasts some of the world’s most revered academics, industrialists and politicians.

Bedrooms and meals

Students will be accommodated in a single study bedroom. Standard rooms have shared bathroom facilities; en suite rooms have a private shower, hand basin and toilet.

Students cannot be accommodated at St Antony's College either prior to or beyond their programme dates. Family members and/or friends who are not enrolled on this summer school cannot be accommodated in college.

Students will take meals in the college's dining facilities. All meals are self-service with a range of options available. The only exception is the summer school's closing dinner, which is a served set menu meal. Should applicants have any dietary requirements (e.g. vegetarian, gluten-free, allergies) they must complete the relevant section on the application form.

IT requirements

Although it is not required, most students bring a laptop to Oxford to assist them with their studies. Wireless internet access is available in all bedrooms and some communal spaces of the college.

Students will be eligible to use the computers and printers in St Antony's College's computer room.