PhD Requirements

The Doctoral Degree in International Studies

The PhD in International Studies is a 66-credit degree program that is designed for students who seek preparation for academic careers in teaching and research. This preparation entails training in social science perspectives and methods that address emerging problems of globalization, international conflicts and humanitarian crises, global environmental change, and international development, among others.

The program faculty consists of experts in international relations, comparative politics and political economy, geographical sciences, ethnographic inquiry, public health, and social inquiry and change. The program has to be completed within eight years, although students may receive credit toward the degree if they have completed equivalent courses elsewhere.

1. Structure of the PhD Program:

1.1  Fields of Specialization:

To organize the study of the current debates in the social sciences, the PhD program offers three major fields of specialization.

International Relations: Theory of international relations; globalization; social movements beyond the nation‐state; security studies; peace and conflict studies; international law and organization; international political economy; foreign policy analysis, global public health, and related fields.

Comparative Politics: Theories and methods of comparative analysis; authoritarian and democratic political regimes and institutions; democratic governance and citizenship, comparative political economy; contentious politics and social movements; civil-military relations; and appropriate courses on selected regions, such as the European Union, Latin America, or the Post-Soviet countries.

International and Comparative Political Economy: The politics and institutions regulating the global trade, investment, and financial regimes; comparative international development; the politics and economics of international environmental regimes; democracy, partisan politics, and global governance, the domestic and international distributive impacts of globalization; and international economic theory.

1.2 Elective Courses:

Besides the core courses required, Doctoral students can select from a wide variety of elective courses, which range from international conflicts, refugee movements and migration, international trade and investment, climate change mitigation and adaptation, poverty alleviation, humanitarian crises, and emerging public health threats.

2. Ph.D. Degree Requirements:

The Ph.D. program’s primary objective is to prepare a select group of highly qualified doctoral students for careers in academic teaching and research. The requirements include:

  1. Complete a total of 66 degree credits (12 semester courses) to obtain the Ph.D. degree(i.e., 36 credits at the doctoral level beyond the MA degree).

  2. Complete one seminar on quantitative methods and one seminar on qualitative methods in the social sciences.

  3. Complete a sequence of two core seminars in two of the Program’s three major fields of study: International Relations; Comparative Politics; and International and Comparative Political Economy.

  4. Pass (1) written MA exam in one of the Program’s three fields of study and (2) written and oral PhD examinations in two of the Program’s three fields of study.

  5. Complete at least one of the basic core seminars in the third (non-examination) field.

  6. Complete the Doctoral Workshop.

  7. Successfully defend a dissertation proposal/prospectus.

  8. Pass a foreign language examination.

  9. Complete 12 dissertation credits.

  10. Research, write and orally defend a dissertation that makes an original contribution to knowledge.

  11. See the INS Graduate Student Handbook (Graduate Student Handbook) for a complete description of the requirements for the Ph.D. degree.