PhD in International Relations/ Political Science

Programme Description


The PhD programme is designed to prepare students for a career in international relations involving research, whether as a producer or consumer. Students admitted to the program must have a solid master's level grounding in international relations and, if possible, in political ccience more generally.

Students can complete the PhD degree in two structured programs – a stand-alone four-year PhD program (8 semesters); or a fast-track doctoral program (7 semesters), designed for advanced master’s students at the Graduate Institute who are transitioned to doctoral research after three semesters of master’s studies. The fast-track master’s/doctoral program allows students to complete a master’s and PhD within five years (10 semesters).

Students with a bachelor’s degree interested in a PhD are encouraged to apply to the fast-track master’s program. The first year of the stand-alone PhD program is divided between advanced course work in qualitative and quantitative methods, as well as in substantive subfields. The third semester is dedicated to developing a dissertation prospectus that will be the basis of the student’s research for the next few years.

The fast-track doctoral program condenses the first three semesters into two semesters, so that students develop and present a dissertation prospectus after two semesters, and commence their own research in the second year of the program.

The coursework and dissertation prospectus, combined with specialized doctoral seminars, participation in colloquia and doctoral retreats where students get individualised feedback from all the professors, and close work with an adviser, gives students the range of skills needed to design and implement their own research.

Students work closely with advisers and other faculty; they have the opportunity to work on multiple projects and present their research at national and major international meetings, as well as contribute to a wide array of research centers based at the Graduate Institute.

Each year, approximately 12 students are admitted to the PhD program. Most of our students benefit from the Graduate Institute’s financial support, whether through research assistantships, teaching assistantships or fellowships. Students who might find financial support useful are encouraged to apply.