Christian Bueger

Do I supervise PhD projects?

On a regular basis I receive emails from people who are interested in writing a PhD dissertation. In this short comment I like to give a general response to some of these emails and provide some guidance to consider before you get in touch with me.

Firstly, I am always delighted to hear from great talent from across the world. In principle I like to help, but since I receive many inquiries, I am not always able to respond as detailed as I would like.

Secondly, I can only further discuss proposals and ideas for PhD projects, which align relatively closely to my expertise and research interests, which is in

  • theory driven international relations research that engages with contemporary social theory, in particular practice theories and related approaches (see my book with Frank Gadinger for my general understanding of practice theories);
  • studies on expertise and knowledge production in world politics, that investigates the role of knowledge and science in international governance processes (see my reconstruction of the literature here, and the approach I am developing here);
  • studies of ocean governance, maritime security and blue crime, that are interested in conceptual innovation, theory development as well as empirical depth. At present I am in particular interested in maritime regional cooperation processes, maritime domain awareness, capacity building and issues such as pollution from shipping, subsea infrastructure (cables, mining, etc.) and naval base strategies.

If you’re project is not closely related to those issues, I might not be the right supervisor for your project.

Thirdly, my current home institution, the University of Copenhagen has very particular requirements on accepting PhD candidates. One of the features of the Danish system is that PhD positions are paid full time positions. For the application process at the University of Copenhagen procedures see here. Key is a solid early academic track record and a very well developed PhD proposal that lays out contribution to the field, methods, organization of thesis, a timeline and why our department is the best place to carry out the project. PhD positions are highly competitive and my department usually employs 4-6 scholars per year across the political science sub-disciplines. The University of Copenhagen might hence not be your primary choice for carrying out your project, and it might be useful to explore other options.

There are many excellent PhD programmes in the world, and in particular the UK and German systems are comparatively easier to gain access to. If you are interested in writing a PhD in a maritime security or ocean governance related topic, I recommend to explore a number of other PhD programmes including possibilities at

This is just a small collection of places and supervisors to consider. Should you get accepted to one of these programmes and if your research is closely aligned to my research interest under extra-ordinary circumstances I might consider acting as an external co-supervisor.

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