Welcome to the University of Southern California's Ph.D. program in political science and international relations (POIR). We are a community of scholars who study American politics; comparative politics; international security and foreign policy; and international political economy.  USC's POIR was recently ranked in the top 20 Ph.D. programs in the field in the National Research Council R-rankings.

Our Ph.D. alumni are researchers and teachers at some of the finest institutions in the world. For instance, all six POIR students (100%) who completed their Ph.D.s in 2015 and were on the 2015-16 academic job market received tenure-track, permanent, or postdoctoral positions. This year's tenure-track and postdoctoral placements included Oxford, N.C. State, ITAM, Occidental, and Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Our students, faculty, and alumni contribute to our understanding of the political, economic, and societal dynamics of the U.S. and the world. Our goal is to produce scholars, researchers and educators grappling with questions examining the challenges of the 21st century. 

We emphasize theoretical and methodological training. Graduate students work with and learn from world-renowned faculty to produce specialized research in political science and international relations. In addition to specialized research, our students are exposed to multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches. Many of our students also receive extensive methods training, both quantitative and qualitative.


Christian Grose
Director, POIR Program

Recent POIR News

Jordan Carr Peterson (4th year) and Jihyun Shin (4th year) had their research profiled by the Washington Post's Monkey Cage in an article about whether Hillary Clinton will have gender parity in her Cabinet, if she is elected. Peterson and Shin's research examined party leader selection of members of Cabinet.

Joey Huddleston (4th year) has received the Best Graduate Paper at ISA-West. His paper entitled “Booed Off Stage: Syria and the Audience’s Revealed Preferences" explores the Obama administration’s policy crisis concerning intervention in the Syrian civil war following the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government. The award-winning paper can be read here.

Adam Feldman (5th year) has received the 2016 Emerging Scholar award from the Denver Law Review.  The award goes to young scholars researching law and allied areas.  Adam is being recognized for his research on judicial decision-making in the United States. More information about the award can be found here.

Stephanie Kang (Second year) has received the Korea Foundation Fellowship for Graduate Studies. This is an external fellowship that will fund graduates studies for Stephanie in the POIR program.  The fellowship is for "fostering new generations of Korean studies scholars around the world. More information on the fellowship is here

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