Our programmes

The Graduate Institute’s International Relations/Political Science Department offers graduate students two degrees: a two-year MA in International Relations/Political Science,  and a four-year PhD in International Relations/Political Science. The master’s program prepares students for doctoral studies, research activities, and public and private careers dealing with different aspects of international relations which require strong analytical and research skills. The PhD program is designed to prepare students for a career in international relations involving research, whether as a producer or consumer. As of the 2010-2011 academic year, students who enter at the master’s level can complete both a master’s and PhD degree within five years, through the fast-track master’s/doctoral program. This program has been tailored to transition advanced students into doctoral research after only three semesters. Students with a bachelor’s degree interested in a PhD are encouraged to apply to the fast-track master’s program, as a way be transferred to doctoral research. There are presently approximately 80 students in the International Relations/Political Science department.

 

Master in International Relations/Political Science


Programme Description

The International Relations/Political Science department offers students the possibility of completing a master’s degree through two programs – a stand-alone two-year master’s program, designed for students wishing to develop expertise in international relations; and a fast-track master’s program, that transfers advanced students into doctoral research after three semesters.

The master’s program prepares students for doctoral studies, research activities, and public or private careers dealing with different aspects in the field of international relations which require strong analytical and research skills. An overview of master's student placement after graduation, can be accessed here.

Students are equipped with the analytical tools and substantive background to understand a wide range of political topics. Engaging with multiple approaches and methods, students have the opportunity to take courses from a number of subfields, including:

  • comparative politics,
  • conflict studies,
  • political economy,
  • international governance,
  • methodology.

The master's program is made up of a standard sequence of core courses, as well as several subfield survey courses; in addition, there are numerous electives that can be taken. During the second year of studies, each student writes a master's thesis or, if he/she is enrolled in the fast-track program, transitions into the coursework that prepares him/her for writing a dissertation prospectus for doctoral research.

Teaching takes place in small classes where students are encouraged to foster a sense of inquiry, critique and argument. Students have extensive access to political science faculty, both regular professors in the department as well as visiting professors.  This, as well as the analytical strengths of the curriculum, the proximity to various international governmental and nongovernmental organizations in Geneva, and the broad geographical and cultural range of students in the program, make for a solid and rewarding grounding in the field.

Admissions are decided on the basis of the quality of the overall application file with priority given to academic achievement, recommendations and the motivation letter. There are no minimum requirements for grade point average, but the selection process is highly competitive. Each year, approximately 30-35 students are admitted to the master’s program. Many students benefit from the Graduate Institute’s financial support. Students who find financial support useful are encouraged to apply.

Master in International Relations/Political Science

Course requirements

Master in International Relations/Political Science

Guidelines for the Master's Thesis (general)

Master in International Relations/Political Science

Guidelines for the Master's Thesis (IR/SP)

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” application is open to our current Master students. Successful candidates can complete both the Master and PhD degrees in just five years of study, one year less than the regular Master + PhD study programme. Students currently completing one of the Institute’s disciplinary Master programmes are eligible to apply to the PhD "Fast Track" in the same discipline or specialisation. They can do so in the third semester of their Master degree, before 15 November. "Fast Track" candidates must obtain all the required credits before the end of their third semester. If admitted, they begin the PhD programme in the following semester (fourth, or spring, semester of their Master degree), which then becomes the first semester of their doctoral programme.

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.

 

PhD in International Relations/Political Science

Course requirements

PhD in International Relations/Political Science

Guidelines for the "Mémoire Préliminaire de These"

PhD in International Relations/Political Science

Paper-Based Thesis Guidelines (IR/SP)