PhD in International Relations

The Ph.D. program is designed to prepare students for careers as scholars and teachers. It provides students with a solid theoretical foundation while allowing individual latitude for rigorous research on a wide range of subjects. Students work closely with dedicated, internationally recognized scholars.

The following is a brief summary of program requirements. For more information, see the PIR Graduate Catalog

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the Ph.D. program, all applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent, from a recognized institution of higher education, or have received a bachelor’s degree before they matriculate in the program.

Applicants should have a minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.2, or its equivalent, a minimum grade point average of 3.5 for all combined graduate work. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required. The results of the GRE will be taken into account on a case-by-case basis. International graduate student applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit a score for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). A total score of 90 on the iBT TOEFL (equivalent to 575 on the paper-based version, or 232 on the computer-based version of the Test of English as a Foreign Language) is required.

Applications will be reviewed only in the spring term for fall admission.

Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. requires a minimum of 75 semester hours of credit at the graduate level.

Undergraduate courses taken to satisfy prerequisites for graduate courses will not count toward the 75 hour minimum requirement. Students earning a MA degree within the last five years may count 36 credits toward the 75 hour minimum requirement. The Graduate Advisory committee may approve the transfer of a maximum of 12 graduate credits earned in a non-degree capacity at FIU.

Core Sequence (18 credits)

All Ph.D. students must complete a core sequence of six courses (18 credits). These courses are:

  • GEO 6473 Space, Place, and Identity
  • INR 5609 Contemporary Dynamics of International Relations
  • INR 5615 Research in International Relations
  • INR 6604 International Relations Theory I
  • INR 6608 Contemporary International Relations Theory
  • INR 6706 Political Economy of International Relations

Major and Minor Fields (21 credits)

Students must select a major field of study in (1) Global Institutions and Issues (2) Comparative Area Studies (3) Foreign Policy and Security Studies, or (4) International Law by taking four courses (12 credits) from a list of approved courses. Students must also select a minor field of study consisting of at least three courses (9 credits), (a) by choosing a second field from the above list, (b) by taking a Ph.D. field in some other teaching unit of the University, or (c) by creating a field in consultation with the Graduate Director and three members of the University faculty. Click here for a list of INR courses by field.

Electives (21 credits)

To satisfy the Ph.D. program’s elective requirement, students must take 21 credits of additional course work, including independent study courses. Students wishing to select a course or courses offered in the University may do so with permission of the Graduate Director. Students must demonstrate an ability to use a foreign language other than English for scholarly purposes.

Comprehensive Exams

Within 6 months of completing the foreign language requirement and 60 hours of course work, students must sit for written comprehensive examinations on the core sequence and in both of their fields. Students may sit for their comprehensive examination during the term in which they complete these requirements.


Within 3 months of passing the comprehensive examinations, students should publicly present a dissertation proposal that is acceptable to a committee of at least four qualified scholars. Three members of the committee, including the dissertation supervisor, must be graduate faculty members of the Department of Politics and International Relations. One must be from outside the department, but from inside FIU. Other members must be approved by the Graduate Director.

To complete program requirements, Ph.D. degree candidates must enroll for a minimum of 15 dissertation credits and maintain matriculation until the degree is awarded.