Michael Nicholson Thesis Prize

The Michael Nicholson Thesis Prize is awarded annually for the best doctoral thesis in International Studies. The prize is named after the late Michael Nicholson, formerly Professor of International Relations at the Universities of Kent and Sussex.

The Nicholson Prize gives us the chance to support the work of new scholars. It has promoted outstanding work in many sub-fields over the years. Previous winners have often gone on to pursue successful academic careers. Could you be next?


To be considered for the prize, your thesis must have been awarded in the calendar year 2023. Theses that sit in the broad area of International Studies are considered eligible.


Nominations for the prize can be made by PhD supervisors, theses examiners and Heads of Departments and Schools, but only one thesis per Department/School may be entered. It is the Department/School’s responsibility to ensure that a process is in place to avoid multiple nominations.

All nominations must be made online using the online nomination form. Nominations open on Monday 8 January and close on Monday 12 February at 11.59pm (UK time). Nominations made outside of this period will not be considered.

The judging process

The Prize will be judged by a committee appointed by the BISA Chair, acting on behalf of the BISA Executive Committee. The prize will be awarded at the 2024 BISA Annual Conference. We reserve the right not to make an award in any particular year.

Enquiries about this award should be sent to the BISA Secretary, Toni Haastrup: toni.haastrup@manchester.ac.uk

"I was hugely surprised to get this award….It will be a hugely important award for helping me grow in my career, and especially as I try to transform the thesis into a book that will reach the BISA audience."
Margot Tudor, Winner 2021
Margot Tudor

Past recipients

  • 2023 Niharika Pandit (London School of Economics): Life Under Military Occupation: An Anticolonial Feminist Analysis of Everyday Politics of Living in Kashmir
  • 2022 Franco Galdini (University of Manchester): The Post-Soviet Space and Uzbekistan in the International Division of Labour: From Transition to Capital Accumulation
  • 2021 Margot Tudor (University of Manchester): Blue Helmet Bureaucrats: UN Peacekeeping Missions and the Formation of the Post-Colonial International Order, 1956 – 1971
  • 2020 Aiko Holvikivi (London School of Economics): Fixing Gender: the Paradoxical Politics of Peacekeeper Training
  • 2019 Lewis Turner: Challenging Refugee Men: Humanitarianism and Masculinities in Za’tari Refugee Camp
  • 2018 Barbara Yoxon (University of York): Disaggregating Authoritarianism: The Effects Of Territorial Dispute Involvement On Regime Survival And Democratisation In Four Types Of Autocracies’
  • 2017 Jakub Eberle (University of Warwick): Logic of Foreign Policy -Discourse, Fantasy and Germany's Policies in the Iraq Crisis
  • 2016 James Eastwood (SOAS): The ethics of Israeli militarism: soldiers'testimony and the formation of the Israeli soldier-subject; and Darcy Leigh (University of Edinburgh): Post-liberal agency: Decolonizing politics and universities in the Canadian Arctic
  • 2015 Stefan Scheel (Open University): Rethinking the Autonomy of Migration: On the Appropriation of Mobility within Biometric Border Regimes
  • 2014 Christopher Rossdale (University of Warwick): Anarchism, Anti-Militarism, and the Politics of Security
  • 2013 Erzsebet Strausz (Aberystwyth University): Being in Discourse - An Experience Book of Sovereignty
  • 2012 Jennifer Martinez (University of Nottingham): Comites de Tierra Urbana (CTUs) and the "Right to the City": Urban Transformation in Venezuela a Bolivarian Revolution
  • 2011 No prize awarded
  • 2010 Malfrid Braut-Hegghammer (London School of Economics): Nuclear Entrepreneurs: Drivers of Nuclear Proliferation
  • 2009 Omar McDoom (London School of Economics): The Micro- Politics of Mass Violence: Authority, Security, and Opportunity in Rwanda's Genocide
  • 2008 Priyanjali Malik (Oxford University): Debating "The Option": India's Nuclear Policy in the 1990s
  • 2007 Columba Peoples (Aberystwyth University): Technology, common sense and missile defence: A critical approach to understandings of technology employed in American missile defence advocacy
  • 2006 Lauren Phillips (London School of Economics): Title unknown and Andrew Neal (University of Keele): Title unknown
  • 2005 Milja Kurki (Aberystwyth University): Rethinking the concept of cause in IR theory
  • 2004 Emma Haddad (London School of Economics): Between Sovereigns: The Refugee in International Society
  • 2003 Samantha Jane King (University of Plymouth): Locating Moral Responsibility for War Crimes; and Anne Hammerstad (Wadham College): Title unknown
  • 2002 Tore Fougner (University of Keele): Politically at Sea - problematising the new Norwegian shipping policy of 1996
  • 2001 Martin Coward (University of Newcastle): Urbicide and community in Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • 2000 Debbie Lisle (Univeristy of Keele): Worlds apart: Politics, Discourse and Contemporary Travel Writing
  • 1999 James Malcolm (University of Sheffield): The political economy of finance globalisation: does japan "Big bang" herald convergence?
  • 1998 Charlotte Hooper (University of Bristol): Manly States: Masculinities, International Relations and Gender Politics; and Edward Keene (London School of Economics): The Colonising Ethic and modern international society
  • 1997 Molly Cochran (London School of Economics): International ethics as pragmatic critique: Confronting the epistemological impasse of the cosmopolitan/communication divide
  • 1996 No record available
  • 1995 No record available
  • 1994 Tim Dunne: International Theory in Britain - the Intervention of an International Society Tradition
  • 1993 Erica Benner (Oxford University): Marx and Nationlism
  • 1992 Sharon Karman (Oxford University): Rights of Conquest
  • 1991 inaugural award Susan Rice (Oxford University): The commonwealth initiative in Zimbabwe 1988/89 - International Peacekeeping
Professionals engaged in conversation

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