POIR Program

Welcome to POIR
 
The faculty of the Department of Political Science and the School of International Relations welcome talented candidates from a variety of academic backgrounds. Although a prior degree in political science or international relations is not necessary, it is strongly recommended that applicants have completed at least some course work in related fields, including political theory, statistics and social science research methods.
Admission decisions are based on consideration of applicants' prior academic performance, as reflected in course grades, the results of the Graduate Record Examination, letters of recommendation, and a statement of intent that demonstrates a seriousness of purpose, a high level of motivation and a desire to benefit from our faculty's areas of expertise or interest. Applicants are also required to submit a sample of their written work in English, preferably a research-oriented paper. Business, government and other practical experiences may also be taken into account. Applicants whose native language is not English must take the TOEFL examination.
The Program has recently finished streamlining its requirements. These guidelines present degree requirements copied from the USC catalogue and supplementary information to help students and faculty navigate through the program.  The catalogue should be consulted first; the supplementary sections do not repeat those provisions. Finally a simple check-list summarizes key steps and deadlines.
 

The Department of Political Science and the School of International Relations together offer the Political Science and International Relations (POIR) Ph.D. program.

Combining the research and teaching strengths of two faculties, POIR offers a breadth and flexibility rarely found in separate political science and international relations programs. POIR offers a combination of standard and innovative fields of specialization and is especially strong in Political Communication; Law and Public Policy; International Political Economy; East Asia; Latin America; Foreign Policy Analysis; Race and Ethnicity; and Culture, Gender, and Global Society. Students may also petition to create their own special fields. The goal is to combine rigorous training in the core literatures of political science and IR with flexible, student-centered training in research on the frontiers of the disciplines.

Pursuing a Ph.D. in Political Science and International Relations allows students to work with nationally- and internationally-renowned faculty who bring both academic and public policy experience to the classroom. Additional University of Southern California resources further enrich the doctoral student’s experiences. The Department of Political Science's Unruh Institute and the School of International Relations' Center for International Studies offer a wide range of programmatic support, including fellowships, internships, research assistantships, research seminars, and academic and policy speaker series. USC's location in Los Angeles gives POIR students rich opportunities to experience directly the excitement of local, state, national, and world politics in an ever-expanding multiethnic metropolis. LA is a nodal point of economic and political activity linking North America, South America, and the Asia-Pacific—a great place to live and study.


All POIR students receive a full five-year package of funding, including two fellowship years and teaching and research assistantships with generous annual stipends. Funds are also available to support travel for research and conference participation, in addition to specialized training in methodology and languages.

The Program has recently finished streamlining its requirements. These guidelines present degree requirements copied from the USC catalogue and supplementary information to help students and faculty navigate through the program.  The catalogue should be consulted first; the supplementary sections do not repeat those provisions. The guidelines are listed throughout this site and a PDF version is available here.

Online Application deadline: December 1