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PhD in International Relations and Diplomacy

Objectives of the PhD

The PhD program in International Relations and Diplomacy at USILD aims to prepare students for careers in academia, high-level policy analysis, international organizations, and government roles through advanced research, theoretical development, and practical application. The program is designed to foster original research, deep theoretical understanding, and specialized expertise. Here are the key objectives of the PhD program:

  1. Original Research Contribution:

    • Objective: Enable students to conduct original research that contributes to the body of knowledge in international relations and diplomacy.

    • Outcome: Students should produce a dissertation that offers significant insights, new theoretical perspectives, or empirical findings in the field.

  2. Advanced Theoretical Mastery:

    • Objective: Achieve an in-depth understanding of advanced theories and their application to international relations and diplomacy.

    • Outcome: Students should be able to critically engage with and apply complex theoretical frameworks to analyze international phenomena and contribute to theoretical debates.

  3. Expertise in Specialized Areas:

    • Objective: Develop specialized knowledge and expertise in specific areas of international relations and diplomacy.

    • Outcome: Students should become experts in their chosen area of specialization, such as international security, global political economy, international law, or regional studies, and be able to contribute to academic and policy discussions in that area.

  4. Advanced Research Methodology:

    • Objective: Equip students with advanced research methodologies and techniques.

    • Outcome: Students should be proficient in designing and conducting sophisticated research projects using both qualitative and quantitative methods, and be able to critically evaluate and apply appropriate methodologies.

  5. Scholarly Communication and Publication:

    • Objective: Enhance students' ability to communicate their research findings effectively in academic and professional settings.

    • Outcome: Students should be able to publish their research in reputable academic journals, present at international conferences, and contribute to scholarly debates.

  6. Policy Analysis and Advocacy:

    • Objective: Develop advanced skills in policy analysis, evaluation, and advocacy.

    • Outcome: Students should be able to critically assess international policies, develop policy recommendations, and advocate for policy changes based on rigorous analysis.

  7. Teaching and Mentoring:

    • Objective: Prepare students for academic careers, including teaching and mentoring roles.

    • Outcome: Students should gain experience in teaching undergraduate or graduate courses, designing curricula, and mentoring students.

  8. Ethical and Responsible Conduct:

    • Objective: Foster a deep understanding of ethical considerations and responsible conduct in research and professional practice.

    • Outcome: Students should be able to identify and address ethical dilemmas in their research and professional activities, ensuring their work adheres to high ethical standards.

  9. Interdisciplinary Integration:

    • Objective: Promote the integration of interdisciplinary approaches in research and analysis.

    • Outcome: Students should be able to draw on insights from related disciplines, such as economics, political science, law, and sociology, to enrich their research and provide comprehensive analyses of international issues.

  10. Professional Development and Networking:

    • Objective: Support students' professional development and networking opportunities.

    • Outcome: Students should build professional networks through participation in academic conferences, workshops, internships, and collaborations with scholars and practitioners in the field.

The PhD program in International Relations and Diplomacy at the USILD is designed to produce graduates who are capable of conducting original, high-quality research that advances the field. By the end of the program, students should have a deep theoretical and methodological understanding, specialized expertise, and the ability to communicate their findings effectively. They should also be prepared for academic and professional roles that require advanced analytical skills, ethical conduct, and interdisciplinary integration. These objectives ensure that PhD graduates are well-equipped to contribute to the academic community, influence policy, and address complex international challenges.

PhD in International Relations & Diplomacy

Designing a doctoral curriculum for a Ph.D. in International Relations and Diplomacy involves advanced, in-depth study and research. The curriculum is tailored to prepare students for careers in academia, high-level policy analysis, international organizations, or government roles. It emphasizes original research, theoretical development, and practical application. Here is a structured doctoral curriculum:


First Year:

First Semester:

  1. Advanced Theories in International Relations

    • Overview: Critical examination of advanced theories and contemporary debates in international relations.

    • Key Topics: Post-colonialism, feminism, critical theory, green theory, and advanced applications of traditional theories.

    • Assessment: Research papers, theoretical critiques, and seminar presentations.

  2. Research Design and Methods

    • Overview: In-depth study of advanced research methodologies and design specific to international relations.

    • Key Topics: Qualitative and quantitative research methods, mixed-methods approaches, and case study methodologies.

    • Assessment: Research proposals, methodological critiques, and practical research projects.

  3. Global Governance and International Institutions

    • Overview: Detailed study of global governance structures and the role of international institutions.

    • Key Topics: United Nations system, regional organizations, international regimes, and transnational governance.

    • Assessment: Research papers, group projects, and class discussions.

  4. Foreign Language Proficiency I

    • Overview: Advanced language course focusing on proficiency for academic and professional use.

    • Key Topics: Academic writing, professional communication, and advanced reading comprehension.

    • Assessment: Quizzes, oral exams, and written assignments.

Second Semester:

  1. International Security Studies

    • Overview: Comprehensive study of contemporary security issues and strategic analysis.

    • Key Topics: Terrorism, cybersecurity, nuclear proliferation, regional security complexes, and conflict resolution.

    • Assessment: Security policy papers, research papers, and seminar presentations.

  2. Comparative Politics and Policy Analysis

    • Overview: Advanced comparative analysis of political systems and policy-making processes.

    • Key Topics: Comparative governance, policy analysis frameworks, and case studies of various political systems.

    • Assessment: Comparative essays, policy analysis papers, and exams.

  3. International Political Economy

    • Overview: Examination of the interaction between global politics and economics.

    • Key Topics: Global trade, international finance, economic crises, development economics, and economic policies.

    • Assessment: Policy briefs, economic analysis papers, and class discussions.

  4. Foreign Language Proficiency II

    • Overview: Continued advanced language studies focused on professional and academic use.

    • Key Topics: Professional vocabulary, advanced communication skills, and cultural immersion.

    • Assessment: Quizzes, oral exams, and written assignments.

Second Year:

Third Semester:

  1. Dissertation Proposal Development

    • Overview: Preparation and development of the dissertation proposal, including topic selection and literature review.

    • Key Topics: Research design, hypothesis formulation, literature synthesis, and proposal writing.

    • Assessment: Dissertation proposal, literature review, and oral defense.

  2. Advanced Topics in Diplomacy

    • Overview: Study of advanced diplomatic practices and complex negotiation techniques.

    • Key Topics: Diplomatic strategy, conflict negotiation, multilateral negotiations, public diplomacy, and cultural diplomacy.

    • Assessment: Simulation exercises, negotiation role-plays, and analytical papers.

  3. International Law and Human Rights

    • Overview: Advanced study of international legal frameworks and human rights issues.

    • Key Topics: International human rights law, humanitarian law, international criminal courts, and case studies.

    • Assessment: Legal analysis essays, case studies, and exams.

Fourth Semester:

  1. Dissertation Research I

    • Overview: Initial phase of dissertation research, including data collection and preliminary analysis.

    • Key Topics: Fieldwork, data analysis, theoretical application, and research refinement.

    • Assessment: Research progress reports, draft chapters, and presentations.

  2. Advanced Seminar in International Relations

    • Overview: In-depth discussion and critique of contemporary issues and research in international relations.

    • Key Topics: Current global issues, emerging research, and theoretical developments.

    • Assessment: Seminar presentations, research critiques, and discussion participation.

  3. Teaching Practicum

    • Overview: Practical experience in teaching undergraduate courses in international relations.

    • Key Topics: Curriculum development, pedagogical strategies, classroom management, and student assessment.

    • Assessment: Teaching evaluations, reflective essays, and mentor feedback.

Third Year:

Fifth Semester:

  1. Dissertation Research II

    • Overview: Continuation of dissertation research, including advanced data analysis and writing.

    • Key Topics: Data interpretation, theoretical synthesis, and dissertation writing.

    • Assessment: Research progress reports, draft chapters, and presentations.

  2. Professional Development Seminar

    • Overview: Preparation for academic and professional careers in international relations.

    • Key Topics: Academic publishing, conference presentation skills, job market preparation, and professional networking.

    • Assessment: Professional development plan, mock interviews, and networking activities.

Sixth Semester:

  1. Dissertation Completion and Defense

    • Overview: Final phase of dissertation research, writing, and defense preparation.

    • Key Topics: Dissertation finalization, defense preparation, and presentation skills.

    • Assessment: Completed dissertation, oral defense, and committee feedback.

  2. Advanced Policy Analysis

    • Overview: Examination of advanced techniques in policy analysis and evaluation.

    • Key Topics: Policy evaluation methods, impact assessment, and policy recommendations.

    • Assessment: Policy analysis papers, evaluation reports, and class discussions.

Additional Components:


Internships and Practical Experience:

  • Internship in International Relations and Diplomacy: Practical work experience in relevant organizations such as government agencies, NGOs, or international bodies.

    • Assessment: Internship reports, reflective essays, and supervisor evaluations.

Workshops and Seminars:

  • Research Skills Workshop: Advanced workshops on research techniques, data analysis, and academic writing.

  • Diplomatic Skills Workshop: Interactive sessions on high-level diplomatic communication, protocol, and negotiation techniques.

Extracurricular Activities:

  • Participation in International Conferences: Present research at international relations conferences and network with professionals.

  • Publication of Research: Submission of research articles to academic journals and participation in peer review.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the doctoral program, students should:

  • Have advanced theoretical and practical knowledge in international relations and diplomacy.

  • Be capable of conducting independent, original research that contributes to the field.

  • Understand complex international security, economic, and legal issues.

  • Be proficient in high-level diplomatic practice and negotiation.

  • Achieve fluency and professional proficiency in a foreign language.

  • Be prepared for leadership roles in academia, international organizations, government, or policy analysis.

This curriculum is designed to provide students with the depth and breadth of knowledge required for a successful career in international relations and diplomacy, combining rigorous academic training with practical experience and professional development.

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