• KY16 9AL

    United Kingdom

Accepting Postgraduate Research Students

PhD projects

Dr Saunders is interested in supervising PhD projects on forced migration; migrant activism/resistance; digital border controls; and contemporary political theory.

Personal profile


Dr Saunders completed an ESRC-funded PhD in International Relations in the School in 2015, after which she worked as an Associate Lecturer before being promoted in 2019 to Lecturer of International Relations. In addition to her work within the School, Dr Saunders is also a member of the University's Sanctuary Operations Group, which coordinates and supports activities relating to St Andrews' 'University of Sanctuary' status.

Research overview

Dr Saunders' research sits at the intersection of global politics and political theory, focusing on contemporary social and political thought as a framework for analysing pressing global issues. She has a particular interest in issues of forced migration, human rights, and digital border control practices, and in conceptualisations of, and questions about, political responsibility, social justice, political subjectivity, and agency. Dr Saunders is currently in the early stages of a new research project exploing the Ethics of Border Controls in a Digital Age.

Dr Saunders' research has been funded by the ESRC and by the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland. Her most recent project, funded by a Carnegie Trust Research Incentive Grant details the political activism of refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland since 1999, with findings recently published in Millennium: Journal of International Studies. Her research has been published in the European Journal of Political Theory, the Journal of Global Ethics, Refugee Survey Quarterly, and The International Journal of Human Rights. Her book, International Political Theory and the Refugee Problem, was published in 2018 as part of the Routledge Research in the Global Politics of Migration series. She has also contributed to two books on the thought of Hannah Arendt.

Dr Saunders is the Associate Editor of the Journal of International Political Theory. She acts as a peer reviewer for a number of prominent journals in her field, including: Citizenship Studies, Refugee Survey Quarterly, Journal of Refugee Studies, Journal of International Political Theory, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Citizenship Studies, and Review of International Studies.

Teaching activity

Dr Saunders contributes to team teaching at Sub-Honours level, on:

  • IR2005 Theoretical Approaches to International Relations
  • IR2006 Studying International Relations

Her Honours teaching includes:

  • IR3065 Refugees and International Relations
  • IR3204 Migration and Global Politics: Ethics, Politics and Practice
  • IR4565 Contemporary Political Theory

Dr Saunders teaches also teaches the following modules on the MLitt in International Political Theory:

  • IR5401 Texts in International Political Theory
  • IR5413 Topics in International Political Thought
  • IR5046 Migration and Political Theory

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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