Ph.D. in International Relations and Diplomacy

The Ph.D. in International Relations and Diplomacy at AGS allows students to specialize in a specific domain of knowledge while gaining the recognition that is instrumental to pursue advanced careers in academics, think tanks, international organizations, or government research.

AGS admits very few selected Ph.D. candidates every year and tailors the international affairs program based on each one's interests and career objectives. The highest academic standards are sought in the coursework as well as in the methodology, research, and writing of the doctoral dissertation. A unique aspect of the Ph.D. program at AGS is the very close guidance provided to students throughout the dissertation process.

The program takes full advantage of its location in Paris, which offers access to countless research libraries, archives and special collections, and provides internship opportunities with government institutions, inter-govermental organizations and NGOs.

Please note that the Ph.D. degree is not accredited in the United States. Based on acceptance, Ph.D. projects may be conducted jointly with AGS's partner Université Paris-Sud (Faculté Jean Monnet), leading to two doctoral degrees: AGS's American Ph.D. and Paris-Sud University's French and European accredited Doctorate.


The International Relations and Diplomacy curriculum has a multi-disciplinary scope. Required courses cover the disciplines of international relations, political science, economics, international law, international organizations, and diplomacy. The choice of electives is made in accordance with the domain in which the candidate wishes to pursue his or her research.

International Relations and Diplomacy Ph.D. candidates must successfully complete:

  • Five required courses

  • Seven elective courses, including two area courses

See the list of courses below (please click on each link to get the course description).

Note: Required as well as elective courses can be transferred from another university if they meet the standards of AGS.

Required Courses

IRD-R-580 : Factors and Theories of Analysis in International Relations and Diplomacy

IRD-R-581 : Research Methodology and Design

IRD-R-682 : Foreign Policy Formulation and Diplomacy

IRD-R-583 : International Public Law

IRD-R-684 : Current Economic Problems and Policies

Elective Courses

IRD-E-621 : Current Issues in International Relations and Diplomacy

IRD-E-622 : International Organizations

IRD-E-601 : Theory and Origins of Global Conflict

IRD-E-602 : Strategy and Conflict Resolution

IRD-E-603 : Cultural Development and Awareness

IRD-E-501: Geopolitics

IRD-E-502: Geopolitics of Religion

IRD-E-504 : Global Communications, Media and International Affairs

IRD-E-605 : International Trade, Banking and Finance

IRD-E-507 : Principles of Economics

IRD-E-508 : Beginnings of the Contemporary Political Order

IRD-E-509 : Anthropology and Politics

IRD-E-610 : Post-Modernity and International Relations and Diplomacy

IRD-E-611 : Comparative Politics

IRD-E-514 : International Environmental Politics

IRD-E-616 : Extreme Crisis Situations: Terrorism, Government and Media

IRD-E-617: Gender, Militarization and War

IRD-E-618 : NGOs: An International Perspective

IRD-E-619 : NGOs: Principles and Management

IRD-E-620 : Diplomacy and International Law

Elective Area Courses

IRD-EA-613 : Issues in U.S. Foreign Policy

IRD-EA-630: A History of the Modern Middle-East

IRD-EA-631: Conflict in the Modern Middle-East

IRD-EA-640 : Contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa

IRD-EA-641: The Scramble for African Resources

IRD-EA-650 : Central and South America

IRD-EA-660 : South Asia: Geopolitical Developments Since WWII

IRD-EA-661 : East Asia: Geopolitical Developments Since WWII

IRD-EA-670 : European Foreign Policies

IRD-EA-671 : The European Union and the World

IRD-EA-672 : Russian Politics

Degree requirements

In order to be awarded the AGS's Ph.D. degree in International Relations and Diplomacy, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Having successfully completed the coursework (including possible transfers from other universities) with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0

  • Having passed a pre-dissertation comprehensive examination

  • Having achieved the writing and defense of a doctoral dissertation of at least 75,000 words of research, analysis, and corroborating data.

All requirements for the Ph.D. degree must be met within six years of admission to Ph.D. candidacy, with a minimum of two years for the research and writing of the dissertation.

Stages of the program

  • Depending on the number of transfer credits, the coursework can be completed in 12 to 18 months on a full-time basis.

  • Once the coursework is satisfactorily completed, Ph.D. candidates must pass a pre-dissertation comprehensive examination.

  • At this stage Ph.D. candidates must identify a dissertation advisor. The candidates may choose their doctoral advisor from the school's faculty or from a pool of accomplished international scholars working with AGS, according to the domain in which they wish to pursue their doctoral research. External advisors are also permitted upon approval of the Academic Committee.
    Note: Ph.D. candidates are responsible for finding their own advisors. AGS assists them in this process by putting them in contact with potential advisors when needed.

  • Ph.D. candidates must submit a research proposal which has to be approved by the methodology counsellor, the dissertation advisor and the Academic Committee. Please note that students must have the ability to use primary sources in any foreign language(s) necessary for the doctoral dissertation.

  • The methodology, research and writing of the dissertation are conducted by the candidate under the close guidance and supervision of the Ph.D. advisor.

  • The Ph.D. dissertation defense involves a five-member jury including the advisor, AGS professors, and external specialists when helpful.

Combined M.A.-Ph.D. program

AGS offers a combined M.A.-Ph.D. program per the American model. The combined M.A.-Ph.D. program allows students to take the five required courses for both degrees simultaneously. Ph.D. candidates having done their M.A. in International Relations and Diplomacy at AGS would therefore not have to take the required courses again, but would only have to take seven elective courses.

Note: Passage from the M.A. to the Ph.D. program is not automatic. It is subject to approval by the Academic Committee.


Graduate Course Catalog

Current Course Offering

Optional French Language Courses

Class Schedule

Academic Calendar



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Brad Svenningson USA
M.A., School of International Relations
Class of 2005

If you take advantage of AGS, you can go very far. I am very happy with my decision to go to AGS and soak up Paris as much as two years will allow.

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