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Doctorate in Political Science, Programme in International Relations

Section #presentation


The PhD program in international relations encourages a broad definition of international, a methodology mindful of empirical research, and an effort to conceptualize an increasingly complex world of changes.   

Section #objectifs


This program teaches research through research to students who plan to pursue: 

  • academic careers (research and teaching)
  • careers as experts in public or private international organizations;
  • entrance examinations for international or European civil services, and diplomatic careers.
Section #competences

Skills targeted

The program seeks to develop research and critical analysis skills, very high-level expertise in various methodological tools, and a solid command of the discipline’s fundamental questions.

Section #structure


The programme is split into a two-year master's and a three-year doctoral programme.

The first year of the Master's is given over to the acquisition of the basics in international relations as well as an initiation to research through lectures on method and, from the second semester on, through more targeted classes and personalised tutoring.

The second year of the Master's course completes previously acquired knowledge through specialised classes and seminars in parallel with a general research seminar and the continuation of tutoring. The combination tends essentially to accompany the student in the preparation of their dissertation, the high point of this second year. Click here for more information on the two years at Master's level.

See the programme catalogue

After two years students graduate with a master's in Political Science, option International relations.

Students who apply to the doctoral programme come before a jury that takes in account their grades, the quality of their master's dissertation and the candidate's capacity to commit to a research project. The doctoral programme is open not only to students who have followed the initial Sciences Po programme but also to those with master's degrees from another French or foreign establishment. However, it may be required of students who have not taken Science's Po's political science course to follow some basic or specialised classes that the jury deems necessary before beginning their doctoral research.

To choose a thesis supervisor, candidates are asked to get in touch with a member of the teaching staff and/or one of the members of Sciences Po's laboratories; in International Relations: the Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales (CERI) or the Centre for European Studies and Comparative Politics (CEE).

During the three-year thesis period, doctoral students are supervised by a thesis supervisor and are integrated in one of Sciences Po's research laboratories: the CERI or the CEE. Doctoral students must also take at least three doctoral seminars one of which must be outside the programme of their chosen option.

In the first year of their PhD program, students will take 3 seminars:

Two mandatory seminars:

  1. the seminar of the affiliated laboratory (Labsem): CERI
  2. the seminar on doctoral training in IR: it aims to help PhD students develop their thesis and stay abreast of current research in this subfield. Students must present and discuss their research in front of experts in their field. I will send you the calendar of sessions shortly.     

An elective seminar:

Attendance is required. The IEP Paris policy on class attendance is applicable. Participation in these seminars counts towards meeting the PhD program’s academic requirements (at least 60 hours). 

Students receive a Doctorate in Political Science after three years studying, submission of a thesis and a viva.

Section #equipe-pedagogique

Teaching Staff

The programme also welcomes visiting professors from leading foreign universities, who each year offer a lecture and/or seminar to students in the second year of the Master's programme: K. Olsen et P. Burgess (Oslo), W. Carlsnaes (Uppsala), A. Williams (St Andrews), E. Luck (Columbia), T. Inogushi (Tokyo), N. Lebow (Dartmouth College), etc.

Section #admissions

Admissions to a PhD

See Admission to a PhD

Section #financements

Tuition fees

Des aides à la mobilité sont proposées aux doctorants pour participer à des colloques et pour effectuer des travaux de terrain et des séjours d'études à l'étranger.

See Tuition Fees

Section #contacts


  • Chiara Ruffa
    Scientific coordinator, 
    Professor in Political Science
  • Shan Qin-Petit
    Administrative Officer, coordinator of the programme in Political Science (replaces Marie Hélène Kremer during her absence) 
    Ph.: +33 (0)1 45 49 55 09

Key facts

  • Three-Year PhD Programme
  • Languages: English and French