Ph.D. Program

The Jackson School of International Studies is proud to be one of the first schools in the nation to offer a paradigm shifting Ph.D. program combining a new cross-disciplinary approach with intensive area studies. The goal of the program is to advance problem focused graduate education in international studies in the face of contemporary global and local challenges.

Jackson School student taking notes in class

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Ph.D. students

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The Jackson School Ph.D. Program seeks to integrate the renowned area-based capabilities of its existing graduate programs with leading-edge scholarship and practice in the field of international studies. This new and innovative program is aimed at those scholars and practitioners who want to develop deep knowledge of areas in the context of specific contemporary global themes, policy challenges, and real-world problems. It combines an intensive research tutorial system with specific coursework to allow doctoral candidates to finish in 3-4 years.

Foundational Fields

The Jackson School Ph.D. in International Studies is framed around four foundational fields that provide cohesion across our existing area-based graduate programs and courses:

  1. Religions, Cultures, and Civilizations (RCC), which exposes students to the diversity of cultural and religious life anchored in concrete studies of world areas, histories, cultural and political movements, as well as religious institutions and practices;
  2. States, Markets, and Societies (SMS), which exposes students to theoretical and empirical debates about the engagement of states with their societies and with transnational actors in their historical, political, and social settings;
  3. Peace, Violence, and Security (PVS), which exposes students to theoretical and foreign policy debates about global security challenges, conflicts, and violence, as well as issues of their prevention; and
  4. Law, Rights, and Governance (LRG), which exposes students to theoretical and policy debates about the causes and consequences of legal evolution, rule of law, and a broad range of governance concerns in world affairs.

The Jackson School Ph.D. Program offers a two-track option for the dissertation. One track involves writing three thematically-linked article-length research papers; the other track requires writing one book-length monograph. Students will choose the appropriate track in consultation with their advisors. Doctoral candidates are required (i) to situate their dissertations under an overarching theme/topic in one of the four foundational fields of the Ph.D. Program, and (ii) to also ground them in one of the existing area-based MAIS degrees in the Jackson School.