Analysis & Opinions - War on the Rocks

Thinking about a Policy-Oriented PhD in International Relations?

| Oct. 05, 2017

SPECIAL SERIES - THE SCHOOLHOUSE

Friends and family often ask, "So why a PhD?" It is a common question for doctoral students in any field, one posed by earnest relatives over the holidays, concerned parents fretting financial futures, and forlorn friends lamenting the loss of buddies to fieldwork. Yet the question takes on a special importance for those pursuing a PhD in international relations at policy-oriented programs. For starters, the majority of those studying international relations do so in political science departments, which mostly offer only mixed encouragement to students with policy interests. These departments insist that the primary purpose of a doctoral degree is to prepare for a university career. Meanwhile, according to one survey, nearly three quarters of international relations professionals do not have a PhD. Instead, the most common credential is a terminal master’s degree, making it easy to question the value of a research degree for policymaking....

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For Academic Citation: Potter, A. Bradley, Nathaniel Allen and Torrey Taussig.“Thinking about a Policy-Oriented PhD in International Relations?.” War on the Rocks, October 5, 2017.

The Authors