Our PhD programme

Our Study Programmes

The Graduate Institute’s International Relations/Political Science Department offers graduate students two degrees: a two-year MA in International Relations/Political Science and a four-year PhD in International Relations/Political Science. Our master’s programme prepares students for careers in academia and beyond where understanding and working with IRPS research is central. Our PhD programme prepares students for careers in academia and beyond where the ability to conduct IRPS research independently is required. Students who enter at the master's level can complete both a master’s and PhD degree within five years, through the fast-track master’s/doctoral programme.
Currently, 97 students are enrolled in the International Relations/Political Science department.

PhD in International Relations/Political Science

Guidelines for the "Mémoire Préliminaire de These"

PhD in International Relations/Political Science

Paper-Based Thesis Guidelines (IR/PS)

PhD in International Relations/ Political Science


Programme Description

The PhD programme is designed to prepare students for a career involving the conduct of independent research in International Relations and Political Science. Students admitted to the programme must have a solid master's level grounding in International Relations, Political Science or cognate disciplines. 

The first year of the PhD programme is divided between advanced core courses and specialized electives. The third semester is dedicated to developing a dissertation prospectus that will be the basis of the student’s research for the next few years. The coursework and dissertation prospectus, combined with specialised doctoral seminars, participation in colloquia and doctoral retreats, where students get individualised feedback from all the professors, and close work with an adviser, gives students the range of skills needed to develop and carry out independent research projects. They show this in their  PhD dissertations that can take the form of a monograph or a collection of 3 articles.

Students work closely with their advisors, other faculty and peers. They have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the interdisciplinary research environment of the IHEID and with the wide array of research centres based at the Graduate Institute. Students are also given the opportunity to take part in international research networks and present their research at national and major international meetings. 

Each year, approximately 12 students are admitted to the PhD programme. Admission is highly competitive. Some of our students apply through the fast-track master or stay on after their Master at the Institute. Most are applicants from outside the IHEID. The Graduate Institute offers competitively awarded funding for PhD students through scholarships and teaching assistant positions. Find more information here. In addition, a number of our students work as research assistants for research projects run at the institute (such positions are announced here) or have been successful in obtaining individual funding for their studies through external grants, such as the Swiss government’s Doc.CH grants.”


The P8 programme, initiated by Swissuniversities in 2019, aims to enhance digital skills in education. Specifically focused on supporting universities, the programme offers workshops for PhD students from the Geneva Graduate Institute.  These workshops combine traditional presentations with practical exercises to impart knowledge and skills, creating new learning opportunities. While these workshops do not provide academic credits, students who attend and complete a workshop will receive a certificate.  Further information regarding upcoming workshops and our previous workshops can be found on the Libguide