PhD Program

The IR Department is part of the Doctoral School of Political Science, Public Policy, and International Relations, and is responsible for administering the International Relations Track of the school’s PhD Program.

In the first year of the program, students on the track are required to take both mandatory and elective courses. The courses are designed to provide students with the necessary disciplinary and sub-disciplinary foundations together with extensive training in Social Science methods. On the International Relations track, a concentration on International Relations Theory is supplemented by specific concentrations on the two major sub-fields of Security Studies and International Political Economy. The aim of the track is to enable students to both understand and explain material (economic and military) as well as ideational factors that account for continuity and change in the international political system. Although therefore necessarily global in its outlook, the track is also committed to a particular focus on the European context; with concentrations on, for example, the European Union as a global political and economic actor. In doing so, the track draws upon positivist and non-positivist approaches in a commitment to pursue both traditional and critical theoretically-informed and policy-relevant scholarship.

At the end of the first year, following the passing of the Comprehensive Examination and the successful defence of the PhD Prospectus, students progress into the research stage of their work. During this period of time, students are supported by a primary supervisor together with a supervision panel. The supervisor and the panel guide and oversee the work of the student right through to the defence of their thesis. In addition, institutional funds are available for both conference travel and required elements of fieldwork.

Students graduating from the IR track are extremely well placed to successfully pursue academic careers both inside and outside of the Central and East European region. Not only can graduates in this way expect to be sought for research and teaching opportunities at leading academic institutions, but are also expected to progress to advanced academic and policy-oriented management positions in international, national, governmental and non-governmental institutions and initiatives.


For more information about the program and admissions, please visit the CEU Doctoral School website.

Find out more about our current IR tack PhD students here.