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REF 2021 news - Politics and International Relations

REF 2021 news - Politics and International Relations

  • Date12 May 2022

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 recognises Royal Holloway as a world leading centre of excellence for research in Politics and International Relations.


Politics and International Relations at Royal Holloway has been placed second in the country by The Times Higher Education following the publication of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 results.

The department received a top score for its research outputs, with 64% judged to be 4* which is the highest standard of excellence, ranking it number one in the country for this unit of assessment.

REF also recognised the strength of our Impact work, which reflects our commitment to research that addresses real world challenges. According to REF 100% of our research impact was judged to be 4* or 3*, with 50% of our impact work graded as ‘world-leading’.

Our research environment, which reflects our successes in securing research funding and supervising PhD projects, as well as fostering a supportive and inclusive research culture was also recognised. According to REF 100% of our research environment was classified as 4* or 3*, with 38% of our research environment being "world-leading".

Professor Oliver Heath, Head of Department of Politics and International Relations said:

“This result is wonderful recognition for all the amazing research and impact that is conducted by colleagues in the department. It’s been a real team effort and we’re grateful to everyone who has played a role in this achievement, including our many collaborators in institutions across the UK and worldwide.

We’re an inclusive department and committed to pluralist research across all subfields in politics and international relations, and it’s been great to see all different areas of the department flourish and contribute to this fantastic result.”

The results published in The Times Higher Education place Royal Holloway's Politics and International Relations department in second place in the UK.

The REF provides a robust and thorough assessment of the quality of universities’ research in all disciplines, providing accountability for public investment in research and demonstrating the benefits of that investment.

About the Department: The Department of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy is part of the School of Law and Social Sciences. It is a research-intensive unit that offers teaching which both challenges and enriches students. We provide a full range of undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral programmes. We carry out research across different disciplines, but place special emphasis on our research centres: the Royal Holloway International Security Centre (RHISC), the Centre for Global Political Development (GLOPOLDEV), the Democracy and Elections Centre, the Centre for Islamic and West Asian Studies, and the New Political Communications Unit. The Department also plays a leading role in the College-wide Gender Institute.

Each of our research centres also run distinctive postgraduate programmes, which reflect our own areas of expertise, and attract students from around the world.
At Masters level, we offer a range of programmes including:
International Relations (MSc)
International Public Policy (MSc)
Media, Power and Public Affairs (MSc)
Politics of Development (MA)
Elections, Campaigns, and Democracy (MSc)
International Security (MSc)

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