School of Science and Humanities

PhD program in Eurasian Studies at Nazarbayev University is the first interdisciplinary, English-medium doctoral program in the Humanities and Social Sciences in Central Asia. It is designed according to the highest international standards and taught by highly-qualified faculty, but at the same time is adapted to the educational, social and intellectual environment of Kazakhstan and the wider region.

Our program combines a core curriculum of key concepts in the humanities and social sciences, practical training in necessary writing and research techniques and ethics, and rigorous subject-specific training across at least two disciplines. Students have the space, time and flexibility they need to write a doctoral thesis that makes an original contribution to the field. Funding opportunities for research abroad and co-supervision by NU and non-NU experts enables our students to develop a truly international profile.

The online registration period: 

Early admission: from November 4, 2019, until February 16, 2020 (inclusive). The online registration is free of charge.

Regular admission: from February 17, 2020 until May 12, 2020 (inclusive). You need to make a payment to submit your application. The amount of the application fee depends on the program.

Applicants applying to the Program are expected to have:

  1. An undergraduate degree (Bachelor’s degree or equivalent);
  2. A Master’s degree or equivalent
    1. During the application period final year students may submit official current transcript for consideration. 
  3. A competitive CGPA in applicant’s Master’s (or equivalent) degree. 
  4. High level of English proficiency
    1. The absolute minimum requirement for English language proficiency test reports for admission to the Program is:
      1. Overall IELTS test score of 7.0 (with sub-scores no less than 6.0) or the equivalent TOEFL score as posted on the ETS website; 
      2. Applicants, at the discretion of the Admissions Committee, can be exempted from submitting the language proficiency test report if:
        1. – one of their earlier academic degrees was earned in a country with English as the language of official communication, academic instruction and daily life; 
        2. – an undergraduate and/or graduate degree was earned in a program which was officially taught in English.
  5. Strong reading, analytical, and mathematical skills as demonstrated by GRE test (recommended);
  6. High motivation and strong interest in the Program as outlined in a personal statement;
  7. Strong academic writing ability as demonstrated in a writing sample (academic paper, essay, published article);
  8. Relevant research interest and knowledge of research subject as demonstrated in a written research proposal;
  9. Three letters of recommendation.

Application package checklist:

  1. Complete Application form;
  2. National ID (for the citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan) and passport (for international applicants);
  3. Official document confirming name change (if applicable);
  4. Degree diplomas (Bachelor’s and Master’s or equivalents) with transcripts; 
    1. During the application period final year students may upload official current transcript for consideration.
  5. IELTS or TOEFL certificate valid as of date of online documents submission;
  6. Document confirming English as the language of instruction (only for applicants who earned their degree in a program which was taught in English and request an exemption from submitting IELTS or TOEFL).
    1. Applicants should provide a detailed certificate/reference from the university indicating the number and list of subjects completed in English.
  7. GRE certificate valid as of date of online documents submission (recommended);
  8. Personal statement outlining the applicant’s prior educational career, statement of his/her interest in the Program, his/her long-term career goals, and how the program would help him/her to achieve these goals (250-500 words);
  9. Three confidential letters of recommendation written within the last two years (to be provided by referees electronically or in hard copy after receiving an email request);
  10. Writing sample (academic paper, essay, published article);
  11. Research proposal outlining the research topic the applicant would like to pursue in the Program (1500-2000 words);
  12. Consent for the Applicant’s personal data processing (according to the template in the applicant’s personal account).


  • All required documents indicated above (excluding letters of recommendation) must be uploaded by candidates to the Personal account before the indicated deadline. 
  • All submitted documents shall be in English or with notarized English translation.
  • Submission of a complete application package does not guarantee admission to the Program.
  • Applicants recommended for admission must provide hard copies of all documents as requested by the Admissions Department within established period of time.
  • Applicants who obtained their degree diplomas/certificates from foreign education institutions must request their official transcripts to be sent directly to the University: 010000, Astana, Kabanbay Batyr Ave., 53, Nazarbayev University, Admissions Department.
  • Standardized test reports shall be sent by the official test administrator directly to the University.
  • Nazarbayev University  Institutional Codes: 
    1. GRE – 6496
    2. TOEFL – 6762