Admission

Bachelor studies

General admission:

All international students wishing to take the Bachelor’s degree programme in Politics of Global Challenges 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 school (secondary or equivalent) graduation certificate and marks sheet/list (academic transcript).

If you are currently studying in the final year of high school/secondary school and your school cannot issue a final graduation diploma before the application deadline, you should submit the recent transcript of academic records and the certificate indicating the date of receiving a final secondary school certificate.

Please contact Admission Officer (admissions@cr.vu.lt) to find out whether it is possible to submit final diploma later (each case will be considered individually).

All applicants have to fulfil general admission requirements and programme specific requirements (if applicable). Programme specific requirements are listed under each programme description.

If you have any questions about enrolling into Challenges of Global Politics Bachelor’s programme, please contact gintare.prosceviciute@tspmi.vu.lt

Master studies

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.

Eligibility:

  • Candidates must be non-EU and non-European Economic Area citizens who apply for Eastern European and Russian studies master programme.
  • Candidates cannot have other financial support covering tuition fee from other Lithuanian or Foreign organizations.

How to apply:

  • Application deadline for a tuition fee waiver is 1st of July. Applicants must submit a written request, together with a motivational letter by e-mail gintare.prosceviciute@tspmi.vu.lt
  • The final list of students who receive tuition waiver will be announced no later than 15th of July.

State Scholarships For Full-time Master degree studies

  • A monthly scholarship and a grant covering the standard study cost is offered for the nationals of the Republic of Ukraine,the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Georgia and foreign citizens of Lithuanian origin (50 grants altogether, 40 of them – to the nationals of the Ukraine);
  • A monthly scholarship is offered for the nationals of the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Moldova, Japan, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Korea, the State of Israel (10 grants altogether);

General admission:

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.

PhD studies

General information about admission procedures is announced on Vilnius University webpage.

Full-time PhD studies

Application

Applicants will have to submit the following documents:

  1. an application addressed to the Rector;
  2. a copy of the passport or valid identification card;
  3. copies of the Master’s diploma or of a higher education diploma equivalent to it and their supplements;
  4. Curriculum Vitae;
  5. a completed questionnaire with a photo;
  6. a prospective research project;
  7. motivational letter
  8. a list of research works and their copies, conference presentations, works awarded at academic competitions (if there is any);
  9. recommendations by two academic referees from the topic of the relevant field of science;
  10. a certificate of assessment of academic qualifications issued by the Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education (if asked);
  11. 15 Eur instalment cheque.

Research projects, motivational letters and all the required documents must be emailed to apply.phd@cr.vu.lt and arenida.glusinskiene@tspmi.vu.lt by June 10th.

Selection

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:

  1. The grade of MA thesis;
  2. Grades of courses relevant to the research project topic, provided in the appendix of the MA diploma.

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 June 28th, 11.00 (GMT+3) at the IIRPS VU (Vokiečių str., 10, Vilnius), room 102. If you wish to participate in an online interview, please contact Arenida Glušinskienė, arenida.glusinskiene@tspmi.vu.lt.

Requirements for the prospective research project

Prospective research project is the main component of PhD studies application. Requirements for prospective researched project:

  1. A concise prospective topic of the research and its relevance;
  2. Literature review of prior research in the field and assessment of prospective research novelty;
  3. Clear aim and tasks of the research (preferably, formulated as questions), preliminary hypotheses, if applicable;
  4. Research methods;
  5. Major literature sources (approximately 10 positions).

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:

  1. Motivational letter, in which the applicant proves his/her motivation for doctoral studies, concisely presents his/her scientific activities and experience as well as plans for the professional career;
  2. Two recommendations. At least one of the recommendations should be written by consulting researcher/prospective supervisor and include a project review.

The following topics of doctoral dissertations in political science at the IIRPS VU were approved by the Doctoral Committee (protocol No. DK-2022-02) on February 24th, 2022:

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. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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?

8. The concept of the referent object in cyberspace: the changing meaning of the individual (consulting scientist assoc. prof. Margarita Šešelgytė)

The classical model of securitisation theory and the Copenhagen School refer to the state as the main securitising subject and referent object simultaneously. This means that the state is at the same time the actor constructing the threats and the object whose security is paramount and necessary to ensure. The growing significance of cyberspace over the last few decades has allowed us to introduce the notion of the individual as a referent object and, at the same time, as a threat actor, into the theory of securitisation. The low cost of entry and anonymity give the individual a greater capacity to exert power against larger actors such as states. It also means that the individual with more power in cyberspace, previously considered to be of little relevance to state security by theories of securitisation and the Copenhagen School, becomes a referent object.

The aim of the research is to examine the significance of the individual for security in cyberspace, to identify the relationship between cyberspace security and the individual as a counterbalance to the classical theories of B. Buzan and the Copenhagen School, to explore the notion of the individual as a new object and subject of security, and to assess its impact on the understanding of national and international security.

9. Politics of the (Post)Soviet Aesthetics: Communities, Media, and Emancipatory Strategies (consulting scientist prof. dr. Natalija Arlauskaitė)

In the late Soviet period, on the verge of independence and during the 30 years since its restoration, aesthetic/artistic activity has in various ways established a critical relationship with the past, with one’s own present, and with the circulating visions of the future. Social and political activism (artivism), the creation of institutions, the formation of stable and situated communities, new forms and formats of aesthetic activity, individual and group aesthetics have all been and continue to be part of the public debate about the state and society. However, the political content of all these discussions has been rarely examined. The topic of this research implies an interdisciplinary approach, a tendency to work with empirics and theoretical connections.

10. Political economy and public policy of climate change (consulting scientist assoc. prof. Vytautas Kuokštis)

Social scientists are increasingly focusing on the problems related to the politics and political economy of climate change, although not so long ago climate change adaptation was referred to as “the most important topic political scientists are not studying” (Javeline, 2014).

Economics offers means to address climate change, such as subsidies for renewables and taxation on activities contributing to global warming. Nonetheless, these policy tools are often insufficiently applied largely due to political factors, as this issue area encounters massive collective action problems both at the global and national levels. Furthermore, tax increases are seldom popular policies, facing popular dissatisfaction and interest group resistance.

The project could encompass the following guiding questions: Why do some countries apply more green taxes than others?; How and why do tax reforms happen?; What individual-level factors can explain the support and resistance to different policies to tackle climate change? How could support for such policies and reforms be created and sustained?

Moreover, the project aims to pay attention to behavioural political economy and public policy. Traditional public policies based on market mechanisms may be insufficient. Other interventions, such as nudges and default settings, especially when combined with traditional policy tools, can help to achieve goals faster (Linden et al. 2020). The behavioural public policy perspective could also enhance our ability to understand reasons behind resistance to various policies as well as come up with better ways to build support for them.

11. Emerging powers as the source of multifaceted challenges and opportunities for Lithuania and the EU (consulting scientist assoc. prof. Konstantinas Andrijauskas)

As the shift of economic and military power from Euro-Atlantic space to the rest of the world continues, particular role has been secured by countries that can be described as relatively novel significant actors in the international arena. These rapidly rising middle and great powers are characterised not only by ambitions associated with “new-comers”, but also deep and grand-standing historical identities as well as objective capabilities increasingly commensurate with their bold aims. Throughout these last several years, Lithuania has also come in close contact with this phenomenon, both individually and as part of the EU. Starting from challenges brought by bilateral crisis in its relationship with China, exploitation of migrants from the Muslim world in neighbouring Belarus, or consistent penetration of Turkey’s influence to the Eastern Partnership countries, and ending with Lithuania’s own attempts to diversify its foreign policy towards the Indo-Pacific region, Asia and the “Global South” have become objectively significant not only for Brussels, but also Vilnius.

This call prepared on behalf of the Institute’s Asian, African and Latin American Research Group is intended to those doctoral candidates who aim to study the impact of non-European rising powers for Lithuania and the entire EU within disciplinary framework of international relations and comparative politics. Particularly encouraged are those candidates who besides general competences for doctoral studies in political science have relevant linguistic capabilities (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Turkish, Persian, Kurdish, Hindi-Urdu, Hebrew, French, Spanish or Portuguese).

12. 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, prof. dr. Ramūnas Vilpišauskas, prof. dr. Tomas Janeliūnas, prof. dr. Violeta Davoliūtė, prof. dr. Natalija Arlauskaitė, assoc. prof. Vytautas Kuokštis, assoc. prof. Mažvydas Jastramskis, assoc. prof. Žilvinas Martinaitis, assoc. prof. Inga Vinogradnaitė, assoc. prof. Margarita Šešelgytė)

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:

Political behaviour and institutions

History of ideas and political philosophy

Global and regional processes as well as the role of Lithuania in them

Contemporary Europe

Public administration and public policy analysis

For detailed information about admission to VU doctoral programs and deadlines for submission of documents, please visit VU page.