The Political Science and International Relations Ph.D. program provides a well-structured and suitable education and training that reflects the current state of the disciplines and offers a breadth and flexibility rarely found in separate political science and international relations programs. Through effective and student-centered mentoring, research and teaching assistantships, professionalization workshops, and collaborative support for conference participation and publishing, POIR students train to be leading scholars who are competitive in both the academic and non-academic job markets.

Below are the learning objectives of the Political Science and International Relations Ph.D. program.

Course Work

Students will demonstrate mastery in critically applying theories, methodologies, and knowledge to address fundamental questions in the fields of American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and/or methods, as evidenced by their academic performance in the programs curricular requirements and the qualifying examinations.

Students will gain, practice and evaluate their skills in various quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis to conduct scholarly research consistent with the highest standards of the discipline as evidenced by their academic performance in the core and advanced methodology courses, the passing of their dissertation proposal defense, participation in the POIR Math Bootcamp, and/or completion of the POIR Methods field.

Qualifying Exams

Students will be able to demonstrate mastery in recognizing, assessing and synthesizing the existing literature and research in the fields of political science and international relations as evidenced by students’ academic performance in the program’s core courses and the comprehensive examinations.

Research and Dissertation

Students will gain the intellectual independence and skills to conduct research that results in an original contribution to knowledge as evidenced by the extent of students participating at major conferences, the degree of students with peer-reviewed publications and grant applications, and the completion of their dissertations.


Students will demonstrate a mastery of pedagogical skills and knowledge at a level required for college and university undergraduate teaching in their discipline as evidenced by their academic performance in the teaching practicum seminar, the quality of students’ teaching evaluations, and student participation in POIR and campus wide teaching workshops and trainings.


Students will gain and demonstrate scholarly communication skills adequate to publish, prepare grant proposals and present work not only in the fields of political science and/or international relations, but also across disciplines and diverse audiences as evidenced by the quality of their course papers and presentations, their participation at professional conferences and other research colloquia in various disciplines.

Students will develop the professional skills needed in their intended career placement as evidenced by their level of professionalism in the program, their participation in professionalization activities and training, the quality of their faculty mentorships, and the completion of the placement support group requirements.