2018-2019 Graduate and Continuing Education Catalog 
    Jan 21, 2021  
2018-2019 Graduate and Continuing Education Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

International Relations (Ph.D.)

(48 Credits)

This Ph.D. program is designed to provide students with a regional expertise in an area study of the globe, be that Russia, China, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia or the Americas. To develop such an expertise the students will, first, be exposed to all the different regions of the world by taking at least one class in each one and, second, complete a 12-credit dissertation in one specific area.  For this purpose, students must complete 36 credit hours or 12 of the Ph.D. courses below, pass a language requirement and a written comprehensive examination, defend orally a dissertation proposal, and, finally, defend successfully the 12-credit dissertation.

Admission Criteria

To assure success in the Program, admission criteria will be highly selective.  Applicants should already have earned an M.A. Degree in a related field granted by an English-language institution and have at least 5 years of related professional experience. 

Program Requirements

Each of the courses below will train students in finding and reviewing academic literature, formulating and refining research questions, academic writing, and qualitative research.  For quantitative research student will rely on the course INR675  , which will be a required course. INR690  , which will also be required, will emphasize qualitative research and its major emphasis will be on preparing students for writing and defending a dissertation proposal, on conducting qualitative research and on writing a dissertation.

Language Requirement

By the time of completion of all coursework, students must have also fulfilled a language proficiency requirement, either by passing a test administered by a Program-designated language department or passing two 200-level (or above) courses with a grade of “B” or better.  No graduate credit will be awarded for language courses.  International students, whose mother language is not English, can use their mother language to fulfill the language proficiency requirement.  The language requirement must be completed before taking the comprehensive exams.

Comprehensive Examination

Upon completion of the coursework and the language requirement, students will be required to pass a comprehensive written examination.  They will be required to answer two out of three questions from different areas of study covered by the curriculum.  Students will have four hours to complete the two questions.  Comprehensive examinations will be administered through teleconference. The comprehensive examination requires students to be familiar with the area studies literature, be analytical, comparative, critical, and insightful.  Students who fail the exam, may be allowed to repeat it one time only. Second time failure will result in the student’s termination from the Ph.D. program.  Comprehensive examinations will be graded by either High Distinction, Distinction, Pass or Fail.


Upon the successful completion of the comprehensive examination, students will move to the dissertation-writing phase.  This phase of the program will expose students to the systematic, in depth, and detailed study of their preferred area of study in order to generate original, publication-ready research. Each Ph.D. candidate should secure a first reader from the list of faculty teaching in the Program.  The student and the first reader will discuss possible dissertation topics and focus on a specific one. Once the topic is decided, the Ph.D. candidate and the first reader will discuss possible second readers and settle on a second reader. The first and second reader will be responsible for supervising the candidate’s work.  The first task of the work will be to prepare and defend a dissertation prospectus.   The prospectus will include a title, an abstract with a scope and objectives, the questions to be answered or the hypotheses to be tested, indication of the major sources and methods to be employed, a content outline, a tentative bibliography, and a timetable. The prospectus should be a working plan, a statement of what a student wants to do, why it should be done, and how it will be carried out rather than a substantial introduction to a topic.  Typically, the focus of the dissertation will be in one of the area studies included in the curriculum. When both readers have approved and signed the prospectus, the appropriate form should be submitted to the Graduate Dean’s office.  The Dean’s Office will arrange for the prospectus defense before the Dissertation Committee. 

The Dissertation Committee will be composed of four members: the two readers, the program director, and another member of the faculty of the Political Science and International Relations Department or a member of another department or academic institutions in the case the two readers are both members of the Political Science Department or members of Salve University faculty. The Ph.D. candidate, in consultation with the first and second reader, is responsible for securing the outside member of the Dissertation Committee.  The candidate will defend the prospectus orally before the Dissertation Committee on campus (in exceptional cases the defense can be online if the committee deems it so for a student who might be outside the country and unable to travel).  The successful defense of the prospectus denotes the elevation of the candidate to the A.B.D. status.

A typical dissertation will be at least 200 pages and should definitely be undertaken with the intention of making it an original contribution to the international relations field.  It should be publication-ready, and its substance should not be covered by existing literature unless it fundamentally questions existing literature. The dissertation process will end with the successful defense of the work before the Dissertation Committee.

Dissertations will be graded on a pass/fail scale where pass denotes the grade of “A” and fail the grade of “F.”

Students must be registered for at least six credits per academic semester (summer will be considered an academic semester).

Students must complete the program in no more than seven years after matriculation.