PhD Program

About Us

Our PhD program focuses on providing students with the best training and research opportunities in Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Theory, and Urban Politics and Local Governance.

The curriculum exposes students to a diverse range of theoretical approaches and methodological skills that they can use to tackle any academic or real world problem that interests them.

While we offer supervision and coverage in a broad range of topics and subfields (please consult individual faculty member webpages for a full listing), some of our more specific areas of strength include:

You do not need to obtain a supervisor before applying to the programMinimum requirement for admission is an MA in Political Science with superior standing and a statement of research interest that demonstrates compatibility with the strengths and supervisory capacity of our department.

Our doctoral students are active members of the department and the political science community, publishing articles in Canadian Public Administration, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, International Studies Perspective, Politics, Groups and Identities, Res Publica, and The International Indigenous Policy Journal. They have presented papers at the annual meetings of the Canadian Political Science Association, the International Studies Association, and the American Political Science Association, to name a few. They have also attended or served as teaching assistants at the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), the Laurier Summer Institute of Research Methods, and the Workshops on Social Science Research (WSSR).

Our graduates have secured academic positions at Carleton University, Durham UniversityThe University of Manitoba, The University of Saskatchewan, and The University of Winnipeg, as well as prominent positions in the public and private sectors. 

The PhD program requires

  • 13 half courses in the first and second year including:
    • 9502A, 9590A, 9591B*, 9593B (required PhD courses)
    • 9 elective courses (must include at least 2 of the following core Political Science courses - Political Theory, International Relations, Canadian Politics, Urban Political Economy, Comparative Politics) (9592A recommended)
  • Comprehensive exams in the summer of the second year (view guidelines in the Political Science graduate handbook)
  • Thesis proposal completed in the third year
  • PhD thesis 

*Students who will be completing a Political Theory Thesis will be exempt from having to take 9591B but still must take a total of 13 courses.

Your PhD thesis is a major piece of research and writing on a subject chosen by the candidate and approved by the department. It is undertaken under the supervision of a faculty member in the department who is a specialist in the field, with the assistance of a committee. The latter may include a member of a related department or faculty. In view of the importance attached to the doctoral thesis and the research orientation of the program, applicants are expected to have a fairly well-developed idea of their proposed research topic at the time of application.