PhD Programs in International Relations: Degree Program Overviews

A Ph.D. in International Relations program allows individuals to explore areas of international security and political economy, international organizations, policy and law. Upon completion of the doctoral program, students are able to further research or become professors of international relations.

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Essential Information

Ph.D. programs in international relations offer students training in theory and methodology related to political theories, philosophies, social inquiries, international organization and law. Doctoral candidates should have an undergraduate degree and related experience, as well as have competitive GRE scores, and in some cases writing samples of related coursework. Many programs offer students the option of pursuing a concentration in the field, such as political communication, global institutions, and security studies, while other programs allow students to customize their own curriculum.

Ph.D. Programs in International Relations

Throughout an international studies program at the Ph.D. level, students may explore ideologies, policies, and statistics related to international security and economy. Students will be able to concentrate in program specializations such as international political economy, foreign policy analysis, comparitive politics, and others.

Students may also participate in fellowships and assistantships in teaching or research, and most doctoral programs require students to complete a dissertation or publish research as well as pass a comprehensive examination prior to graduation. Students may be expected to gain proficiency in a foreign language. Graduates may seek post-doctoral fellowships.

In a Ph.D. program in international relations, students may enroll in courses that address issues such as:

  • Social construction
  • Epistemology
  • International trade
  • International relations dynamics
  • Current societies
  • Multivariate statistics

Popular Career Options

Ph.D. degree programs in international relations prepare students for careers in academia and research as professional scholars. The degree may also prepare individuals for work in policy making, government or nonprofit sectors. Doctorate degree recipients may find positions as:

  • Foreign service diplomats
  • Government agency analysts
  • Clandestine operators
  • Foreign commercial service specialists
  • Foreign service officers

Doctoral degree programs in international relations focus on building skills for students who are interested in further researching or teaching in the field of foreign policy. With a wide array of concentrations offered, students are afforded the opportunity to teach in almost any sub-field regarding international relations upon completion of the Ph.D. program.

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