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, studying your chosen seminar subject in meaningful detail.
  • Attend a daily lecture programme, given by world-renowned academics and best-selling authors. Previous lecturers have included Ben AnsellArchie 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 - closed to new applications
  • Making Sense of Chinese Politics and China’s Global Ambitions - closed to new applications
  • European Union Politics - closed to new applications
  • Latin American Political Economies: Past, Present, and Future - closed to new applications
  • Politics in the Middle East and North Africa - closed to new applications
  • Power, Resources and Political Identity in Russia and the Former Soviet Union - closed to new applications
  • People, Power and Politics in Contemporary South Asia - accepting late applications

See "Programme details", below, for seminar descriptions. Each seminar usually contains no more than 15 students.

Contact hours

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

  • 20 hours of course seminars (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 sessions, 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
  • 14.00-16.30/17.30 - Private study
  • 16.30-17.30/17.30-18.30/19.30-20.30 - Discussion groups (students join one group only)

Discussion groups

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

Discusson group moderators:

Alison Smith teaches Comparative Politics at VU Amsterdam. She holds a DPhil (PhD) in Comparative Government and an MPhil (Master’s) 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. Building on two decades of experience in British politics, her second forthcoming book, If Scotland Votes Yes, analyses the implications of Scottish independence. She has consulted for NATO on the defence implications of Scottish independence.

Anna J. Davis is a DPhil Researcher at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies at the University of Oxford. In 2023, Anna was selected as a Grímsson Fellow by the Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson Centre in cooperation with the Arctic Circle Secretariat. She is an Associate Fellow of Advance HE, and at Oxford University teaches Area Studies Research Methods, International Politics, Cold War International Relations, and Russian and East European Studies. She is also a Researcher at the Oxford Belarus Observatory and previously worked as an OIES-Aramco Fellow at The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, conducting a project entitled, “The Role of Nuclear Energy in the Global Energy Transition”.

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 Southern, East and West Africa. Seminars are designed to debate issues such as:

  • the politics of race and ethnicity
  • ‘development’, culture, and ‘modernisation’ 
  • natural resources and the ‘resource curse’
  • colonialism and its legacies
  • post-colonial states and civil conflict
  • democratisation, civil society, and social movements 
  • gender, youth, and democracy
  • land, reforms, and agrarian issues
  • climate change and conservation

Tutor: Doris Okenwa is a Lecturer in African Studies and a Fellow in African Anthropology at the African Studies Centre, University of Oxford. A social anthropologist by training, her research interests include the politics of oil extraction. This work advances both an epistemic and empirical critique of the global ethics of extractive industries and their intersection with moral economies, national development and distributive politics. She is the co-author of Land, Investment & Politics: Reconfiguring Eastern Africa's Pastoral Drylands and is currently working on her forthcoming monograph Impermanent Development: The ‘Promise’ of Oil and Distributive Politics in Kenya. Other interests include an emerging project on ‘Alternative Politics in Africa’ focused on emerging voices and demographic changes. Prior to academia, Doris worked as a professional journalist in Nigeria and the UK. 

Making Sense of Chinese Politics and China’s Global Ambitions

The rise of China is one of the most compelling aspects of international politics. China’s rapid economic, political and social development has made inevitable China’s rise to global power status. As the world’s second largest economy and growing diplomatic presence in international affairs, China’s global ambitions and imprint are coupled with dynamic transformations within Chinese domestic politics and society. This course will enable students to acquire a knowledge of the contemporary politics of China and its diplomatic ambitions and engagements. Students will gain an understanding of:

  • the transition of China’s domestic politics and society
  • the institutional dynamics of China
  • theoretical and practical knowledge about China’s foreign policv
  • the actors, mechanisms, processes, and practices of China’s diplomacy
  • the economic, climate and security dimensions of China’s international relations
  • the relationship between China, the US, and the EU

Tutor: Lucie Qian Xia is a Departmental Lecturer in the Politics and International Relations of China. She holds a DPhil from the University of Oxford, previously taught Chinese diplomacy and global governance at Sciences Po Paris, and was the postdoctoral China Policy Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Prior to academia, Lucie worked at the Delegation of the European Union to China in Beijing and the UN Representation Office to the EU in Brussels. She is the author of The Diplomatic Making of EU-China Relations: Structure, Substance and Style.

European Union Politics

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 and is a Fellow of Advance HE. She is the author of European Union Enlargement Conditionality, and 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, this course will examine how politicians, institutions, and the international arena have shaped past and contemporary social outcomes in the region. As such, this 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 a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR). He was previously a Departmental Lecturer in Latin American Studies at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies (OSGA), and a Visiting Fellow of the Kellogg Institute at the University of Notre Dame. Javier received his DPhil from the University of Oxford. His research looks at the dynamics linking socio-economic development and political regimes at the subnational level. Javier’s work has been recognized by the American Political Science Association (APSA), the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) and has been published in Democratization, Alternatives, 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 the Abdullah Al-Mubarak Research Fellow in Middle Eastern Studies at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge. She completed her DPhil at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford, as an Ertegun scholar. She was a post-doctoral fellow of the Europe in the Middle East programme at the Forum Transregionale Studien in Berlin, 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. 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, and will explore the various strategies employed to bring about social, political, and economic transformations in the region. We will examine key topics of contemporary relevance in South Asian politics such as:

  • drivers of democratic backsliding and authoritarianism
  • economic growth and rapid social change
  • the project of ‘development’
  • variation in, and evolution of, ethnic and religious nationalism
  • the impact of domestic politics on inter-state rivalries
  • the role of external powers in regional and domestic politics
  • social movements and popular mobilisation

Tutor: Thiruni Kelegama is a Departmental Lecturer in South Asian Studies at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies, and a Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College. Her research is focused on the politics of development, infrastructure, militarisation, and nationalism, with a focus on South Asia. Thiruni's publications include articles published in Modern Asian Studies, Journal of Peasant Studies, and Antipode. She is presently working on a book manuscript titled Central Margins: Sri Lanka’s Violent Frontier.


Certification and credit

All students who complete the programme 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 are taking the course for credit at their home universities must submit an assignment of 2,000 words in length for assessment.


Description Costs
Residential: En suite single room (private bathroom) £3560.00
Residential: Standard single room (shared bathroom) £3035.00


Scholarship applications are now closed, all applicants to the scholarship were informed of the programme directors decision on 8 March.

St Antony’s College are offering one partial scholarship of £1200 for the International Politics Summer School. This will be applied as a discount to course fees.

To apply for the scholarship, applicants must submit an additional 200-word personal statement explaining how attending this course will benefit them, at the same time as their complete application, by 1 March 2024.

All applications which include a request for a scholarship will be reviewed together shortly after 1 March 2024, and applicants will be notified within 14 days whether their applications for (a) a place on the summer school and (b) a scholarship have been successful.

There are no other sources of funding (e.g. scholarships, bursaries) available to applicants.


Programme fees

The programme fees include:

  • tuition (1 seminar as above, 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 28 July to Friday 9 August 2024 inclusive;
  • meals in hall from dinner on Sunday 28 July to breakfast on Saturday 10 August 2024 (except lunch and dinner on Saturday 3 August, and lunch on Sunday 4 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 students together with full instructions for payment. Fees may be paid online with a credit or debit card, or by bank transfer. Students are required to pay the full fee within 30 days of the date on which their invoice was issued.

Please note that:

  • students 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 students whose fees are not paid in full by the due date.
  • in no circumstances will students be admitted to the summer school unless all fees have been paid in full.


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

A contract between OUDCE and a student comes into being when a student 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 fees 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 You may use the cancellation form, however you are not obliged to do so.

All students 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 2024. 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 2024, 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);
  • ensure 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 and in block capitals if handwritten.

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 1 May 2024.

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 1 June 2024.

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 application 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 2024, recieve longer course descriptions and reading lists, joining instructions, and arrival day arrangements.

Level and demands

Students 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 are taking the course for credit at their home universities must submit an assignment of 2,000 words in length for assessment.

Important information regarding immigration and visa requirements

OUDCE welcomes international students on all its courses. However, it is the responsibility of successful applicants to ensure that they conform to UK immigration law.

If you are not a UK or Irish national, you might need to apply for a Standard Visitor visa to study in the UK. We strongly recommend that you establish whether you will require a visa before submitting your application.

Information regarding visiting the UK to study is available on the UK Government’s website as well as Oxford University’s Student Immigration website.

If you will require a visa, you should ensure your summer school application is submitted as early as possible to allow yourself sufficient time to complete the visa application process (see current visa processing times). Please note that the standard cancellation policy applies in all cases. (See "Cancellations").

The Programme Administrator will provide all non-UK/Irish nationals enrolled on the summer school 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; any queries should be addressed to

The University takes no responsibility for a visa being denied at any point before or during a course.

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

Support for students with disabilities

OUDCE welcomes applications from students with disabilities or learning difficulties. Individual student needs are taken into account, and adaptations and assistance provided within the resources available. We ask that students advise us in advance where any special provision might be needed. Further information is available at

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

As students are expected to participate fully in seminar discussions and are required to produce written work, it is important that applicants can demonstrate an appropriate level of proficiency in the four language skills - listening, reading, writing and speaking.

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency 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. You must satisfy one of the following requirements:

The requirement to provide English language test scores may be waived in either of the following circumstances:

  • If you have completed a full-time degree-level programme at a recognised institution where teaching and assessment throughout the course was undertaken entirely in English, and the programme was completed with a gap of no more than two academic years to the course to which you are applying. If you studied this course in a country that is not majority English speaking, you will need to provide evidence that the course was taught in English. This can either take the form of a link to the appropriate page of the institution’s website or a statement from the institution confirming this.
  • If you have worked for a minimum of two years in a majority English speaking country where the main language for the role was English, and your role involved daily professional use of each of the four language components (reading, writing, listening and speaking).



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, allergies) they must complete the relevant section on the application form or notify the programme administrator via before the 1 June 2024.

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.