Tuition Fee Waiver Offered by the Institute of International Relations and Political Science
Tuition waiver will be awarded to the most motivated and competent international non-EU/EEA student applying for the Master’s degree programme of Eastern European and Russian studies. This scholarship only covers the full cost of the tuition fee.
How to apply:
All international students wishing to take the Master’s degree programme in Eastern European and Russian studies must apply online using the University Admission website.
More information about admission procedure can be found here.
To apply for this programme, you need a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and English level of B2*. The selection criterion is based on the weighted average of all grades recorded in the transcript of your academic report (50%) and the evaluation of your motivation (motivational essay) (50%).
*In order to apply for Master’s degree program, you are not required to submit a certificate of English language knowledge (IELTS or TOEFL scores), nevertheless, you will need an official English language certificate to apply for state/University grants.
General information about admission procedures is announced on Vilnius University webpage.
Full-time PhD studies
Applicants will have to submit the following documents:
Research projects, motivational letters and all the required documents must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by the 21st of June.
Application score is calculated according to the following formula:
Prospective research project is evaluated together with motivational letter and recommendations (see Mandatory appendices of prospective research project). The assessment of a research project is carried out based on clarity of its aim, relatedness of the aim and the central theme of the doctoral studies, novelty, and suitability of proposed research methods.
When evaluating the interview, special attention is paid to the motivation of a candidate, ability to reasonably defend the project proposal, relevance of the project, originality, and novelty of a chosen topic. This information is drawn from the interview as well as motivational letter and letters of recommendation, submitted by the applicant.
In the assessment of applicant’s scientific activities, attention is paid to the participation in research activities as well – additional points are granted to applicants who have taken part in research projects or fieldworks, have presented their papers in conferences, etc.
In case of equal evaluation of a few prospective students, priority is determined by:
The prospective research project is evaluated by the Admission commission. The Commission makes a decision concerning the admission of a candidate on the basis of evaluation of the research project and interview with a candidate. During the interview, a candidate may be asked to comment on his/her research project and answer related questions and remarks.
The admission interview will take place on the 30th of June via Zoom platform: https://zoom.us/j/92500808923
Requirements for the prospective research project
Prospective research project is the main component of PhD studies application. Requirements for prospective researched project:
The prospective research project should be around 20 000 symbols in length or 10-12 numbered A4 pages. The project should be written in English with 1,5 intervals between the lines, 12 pt. font size.
Mandatory appendices of the prospective research project
Mandatory appendices of prospective research project:
The following topics of doctoral dissertations in political science at the IIRPS VU were approved by the Doctoral Committee (protocol No. DK-2021-02) on March 9th, 2021:
1. Transformation of US and China‘s Power in the Battle for Technological Domination: The Impact of 5G and Artificial Intelligence Development on the Global Competition (consulting scientist prof. dr. Tomas Janeliūnas)
For a long time, especially looking from the theoretical perspectives of realism (and its variations), the technological advantage was intended to strengthen a state’s military and / or economic power. At present, technology is becoming the most important, potentially determining source of power (Chin, 2019; Bates, 2019). The competition for innovation in artificial intelligence, 5G connectivity (as well as genetic engineering, quantum computers, space technology, etc.) is becoming the epicentre of the geopolitical clash between China and the US (Mazarr et all, 2018; Hoffmann, Bradshaw and Taylor, 2019; Graham, 2020). Domination in these areas is seen as a prerequisite for acquiring (in the of China) or maintaining (US) hegemonic power in the international system.
The proposed Phd research would aim to revise classical and modern IR theories explaining the concept of power in the light of the rapidly changing impact of technology on international politics. The practical part of the study would analyse how China and the US seek to strengthen their global influence by promoting or limiting the acquisition of innovative technologies, creating “technology alliances”, implementing or enforcing standards and technical protocols that could help establishing their technological superiority.
The development of this topic would help IIRPS to engage in more and more “technical” scientific debate on international policy topics and academic networks that seek to connect social ideas with the challenges of technological change.
2. The Impact of the Public Space Digitalization on Foreign Policy and Diplomacy (consulting scientist prof. dr. Tomas Janeliūnas)
The digitalization of various public activities, including politics, provides new forms of communication that help not only to inform but also to express emotions and creativity, as well as to change the ways of acquiring knowledge and spreading ideas. Even diplomacy, long understood as a “semi-private” activity (often than not related to non-public negotiations, coordination of interests in informal meetings or under the carpet, etc.), is becoming increasingly digitalized: Twitter posts are gaining official status, and, in the face of a pandemic, interpersonal communication has become a kind of luxury. This is a new challenge for diplomacy and foreign policy, where digital communication skills and impact have a greater impact than the classical interpersonal political process.
The proposed Phd research would aim to assess changes in diplomacy and foreign policy practices in the context of intensifying digitalisation. The focus should be on the changed diplomatic processes and methods since 2020, when the impact of the pandemic has forced the relocation of most activities to the digital space. The transformation of Lithuanian diplomacy and / or EU policy in 2020-2024 could potentially be studied.
The transformation of society (including the political sphere) due to the effects of digitalisation is becoming the focus of the EU’s research program CHANSE (Collaboration of Humanities and Social Sciences in Europe), funded by Horizon2020. The potential Phd student could be involved in the preparation and implementation of the intended CHANSE project application. In any case, the development of the topic promoted by CHANSE would allow a student to get involved in networks, events and other academic activities of scientists and researchers in this field.
3. Dilemmas of Energy Security and Diplomac: Reconciling Baltic Interests on Synchronization and the Astravyets NPP Electricity Boycott (consulting scientist prof. dr. Tomas Janeliūnas)
The last important issue for Lithuania’s energy independence and security is the project of synchronization of electricity networks with continental Europe. Related to this are the problems of Astravyets NPP and the efforts to ensure that electricity produced in Belarus is not traded on the Baltic power exchanges. The latter issue in particular raises a great deal of political disagreement between Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian politicians as well as representatives of the energy sector. Decisions and processes of decision making are not only technical but reach the highest political levels, including the heads of the Baltic states. This has recently become one of the most important tasks of Lithuanian diplomacy.
The research would aim to conduct a consistent process tracing analysis, identifying key Baltic interests and sources of conflicts, as well as the entire decision-making process, including negotiations on a synchronization model and various proposals for electricity trade with third countries after the start of Astravyets NPP. Qualitative interviews with Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian decision-makers as well as energy sector representatives and experts should become the most important data sources. Such a study (the process tracing of practical diplomacy of Lithuania) would possibly be the first research of its kind in the IIRSP, which would undoubtedly attract a great deal of public interest as well.
The supervisor of a possible dissertation could acquaint the potential doctoral student not only with the process tracing method in the field of energy diplomacy (example of a typical research: the study “Synchronization of Electricity Networks with Continental Europe: Political Process 1999–2019” conducted by Janeliūnas in 2019) but also to help establish contacts with the most important actors of the energy policy of Lithuania and other Baltic States.
4. Changing nature of Lithuanian/Baltic states external interdependencies [trade, migration, cyberspace, information and others]: causes and impact on foreign policy (consulting scientist prof. dr. Ramūnas Vilpišauskas)
The aim of the study is to assess the structure, nature (asymmetry) of Lithuania’s external relations, links between areas, foreign partners and analyze the reasons for their change (membership in international organizations, domestic policy decisions to change external relations, etc.) and discuss their impact on Lithuanian foreign policy. The study could be based on the EU-STRAT methodology of the Horizon 2020 project applied to the analysis of the external dependencies of Ukraine and other Eastern Partnership countries.
5. China’s rise in international arena: internal conditions and external manifestations (consulting scientist assoc. prof. Konstantinas Andrijauskas)
The People’s Republic of China (China) is expecting to finish its fundamental milestone in becoming a global superpower in the coming years that would, in practice, eliminate any chance to stop this process from the outside without employing military force. As Chinese Communist Party will be celebrating its centenary in the middle of 2021, Beijing is increasingly pointing out that the country will soon become the largest economy in the world. Meanwhile, the on-going pandemic helps to reduce the gap between China and the USA even faster. In addition, it helps to improve China’s image on the global scale by the example of surprisingly effective fight against the virus and the diplomacy of masks and vaccines. The resistance for power transfer among the Party members, which was planned in 2022, will only highlight the authoritarianism of Xi Jinping, who is being increasingly challenged not only by the USA but also by the neighbouring powers. However, multifaceted status quo and the clash of rising superpowers will not limit itself to the East Asia, because China is getting more and more active far beyond its geographic region – from the Latin America to the Central and Eastern Europe. The latter tendency is not only stressed by the activities of Beijing in the Visegrad group or the Southern Balkans, but also in the Baltic states, including Lithuania. Bearing in mind the position of the current Lithuanian government towards China, there is no basis to expect that the relevance of the Asian giant would decrease on a global or a national scale any time soon.
6. Identity in the political regimes (consulting scientist assoc. prof. Nerija Putinaitė)
When analysing past and present political processes, increasing attention is being payed to the impact of social identity not only on people’s decisions, but also on political processes, and on political change or its impossibility. Social identity includes such socially constructed identities as national, ethnic, European, religious, racial, Soviet, etc. Social identities are usually supported by emotions, personal attachments and other factors that are related to personal identity and self-awareness. They are invisible for the analysis based on rational choice and interest, but act as essential factors in political processes nevertheless.
Potential research topics cover a wide range of themes. Firstly, these are theoretical questions about the relationship of social identity with the stability or change of a particular political regime (democracy, totalitarianism, etc.), as well as about the possibilities to politically construct or change particular identity. Secondly, these are also practical questions about a certain communal identity and its relationship with other identities under conditions of a certain political regime, its possible impact upon political change or stability, its sustainability, flexibility and a potential to impact political environment.
7. Influence of structural transformations on labour market (consulting scientist assoc. prof. Žilvinas Martinaitis)
Proposed problematics: digitalization and robotization, the establishment of platforms, the changes in work, lifestyle and consumption caused by the pandemic, changing directions and volumes of international trade that determines the shifting economic structure of states as well as the type of work in the “old” professions and sectors.
8. The Political Economy of FinTech (consulting scientist assoc. prof. Vytautas Kuokštis)
The FinTech (financial technologies) revolution has brought major changes to the financial sector. By using new technologies, Fintech companies challenge the established business models and open up new opportunities for users of financial services. Lithuania is among the leading countries in Europe and globally when it comes to creating an environment attractive for FinTech companies and actually receiving foreign investments in this area. Although at present the sector does not constitute a major share in the economy, it is growing exceedingly fast and holds enormous potential.
Due to its novelty, FinTech has not yet received a lot of attention in the academic literature. This is especially true for political science, as contributions have been mainly made by economists and economic geographers. At the same time, political science can offer valuable perspectives on the topic.
The main research question is the following – how can we explain the difference in FinTech regulation across the world? Why has Lithuania succeeded in creating an attractive environment for such companies? To what extent can differences in regulation be accounted for by interests (e.g., preferences and influence of traditional financial institutions), institutions, or ideas?
Additional questions of interest: how and why is FinTech regulated at the EU level? What are the geopolitical implications of FinTech?
9. Influence of Climate Change on the Current World Order and Possibilities for Small States (consulting scientist assoc. prof. Margarita Šešelgytė)
The issue of climate change (the problems caused by it and the opportunities to tackle it) is challenging traditional theories of international relations (IR) that define the state as the main actor of international affairs. The environmental changes demand interdisciplinary approaches and methods and are still insufficiently researched in the field of IR. This topic of research focuses on the role of the climate change in shifting global order structures (international institutions, norms, forms of global governance, the state power) by evaluating the chain of changes, ranging from production, consumption and lifestyle alterations to international interactions and governance. How does the power of states change in this context? The climate change is an example of the classic collective action problem that cannot be solved individually. What sorts of new global governance mechanisms are forming? The small states are particularly dependent on the stability of the international system; therefore, the global changes will affect them more than the big ones. What kind of strategies do they employ to find their place in the mechanisms of climate change?
10. Problems of contemporary politics (consulting scientists prof. dr. Dovilė Jakniūnaitė, prof. dr. Alvydas Jokubaitis, prof. dr. Vitalis Nakrošis, prof. dr. Ainė Ramonaitė, prof. dr. Gediminas Vitkus)
Contemporary political studies rarely ask what it means to think about politics and what politics is. Even though there are political theorists, who investigate the different modes of experience of politics and humanity (e.g., Michael Oakeshott, Robin George Collingwood, Alvydas Jokubaitis) but the diversity of contemplating politics itself has neither been recognized, nor seen as an analytical problem. This kind of unmindful look into the human efforts to reflect on their political life stops us from seeing the state of contemporary politics, because the questions about thinking of politics and about the ability to think of politics are not only fundamentally more primal than any sort of political research, but also the premises of political thinking ground our own political knowledge and the political practices, built on this knowledge.
11. Problems of Contemporary Politics (consulting scientists prof. dr. Dovilė Jakniūnaitė, prof. dr. Alvydas Jokubaitis, prof. dr. Vitalis Nakrošis, prof. dr. Ainė Ramonaitė, prof. dr. Gediminas Vitkus)
We invite you to submit a prospective research project on the selected topic in one of the fields of the research at IIRPS VU. While evaluating proposals in this field, a specific attention will be paid for the relevance and originality of the problem presented and formulated in this project.
The research carried out by researchers at IIRPS VU allows to ensure the intellectual and material basis for the research in the following fields:
For detailed information about admission to VU doctoral programs and deadlines for submission of documents, please visit VU page.