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Engage in problem-driven research with a truly global focus

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program in International Relations trains scholars to conduct cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research across key areas of international affairs and political science. A combination of in-depth hands-on fieldwork and comprehensive theoretical study enables Fletcher's PhD students to uncover the meaningful questions that ultimately shape both their future research and their careers.

Developing tomorrow's thought leaders

With approximately 50 students engaged in coursework or research, the PhD program is an integral and vibrant component of the Fletcher community. Working alongside our world-renowned faculty, Fletcher doctoral candidates acquire the theoretical and practical skills needed to produce research that will help shape future discourse on international relations. After completing their degrees, graduates go on to successful high-level careers in academia and research, and in the non-profit, government, and private sectors.

Shaping your PhD

In shaping their curriculum, Fletcher PhD students start with a primary field of study, through which they develop a depth of expertise unique to their interests. The primary fields of study that support PhD studies are:

Students build on their primary field of expertise by developing a breadth of foundational knowledge in a second field of study, which can be any of the fields offered at Fletcher or might be a self-designed field. Regardless of their choice of field, all students pursue foundational courses in international relations theory and in research methodology.

Students seeking additional opportunities to individualize their studies may cross-register for up to a quarter of their classes at another graduate school at Tufts University or at Harvard University.

Our People

Fletcher’s PhD candidates come from around the world, bringing perspectives and experiences that inform their research and goals. Get to know their stories and learn how they plan to shape the future of international affairs.