NPSIA’s PhD program focuses on multidisciplinary policy-relevant research in the area of international affairs. Our objective is to train graduates to have the subject matter expertise and analytical skills that will allow them to become sophisticated consumers and producers of research, critical thinkers on international policy issues, and contributors to the academic and policy worlds.

The program features four broad fields of study: International Conflict Management and Resolution; Security, Intelligence and Defence; International Development Policy; and International Economic Policy. In addition to a seminar that critically examines the essential literature of their chosen field, students have the opportunity to take related classes that reflect their specific interests. All students receive training in policy analysis and applied qualitative and quantitative methodology, in order to develop the skills needed to undertake research in their area of interest, and to complete their dissertation.

PhD Fields of Study

International Conflict Management and Resolution

Interdisciplinary and policy-oriented research on international and intrastate conflict management and resolution. Sources of and responses to conflict, drawing from traditional and non-traditional frameworks with an emphasis on diagnostic and analytic skills. Topics include: diplomacy, conflict management, negotiation, mediation, human security, peacekeeping, peace-building, conflict prevention, human rights and transitional justice. Additionally, an understanding of the new drivers of conflict and insecurity such as climate and conflict, health problems and pandemics, religion and conflict, and strategies for promoting peace and security through sustainable development goals.

Security, Intelligence and Defence

This field focuses on the threats to Canadian national security, how best to manage these threats, and how national security is governed. The coursework includes terrorism, intelligence, military strategy and procurement, civil-military relations, and Canadian and American foreign and defence policy.  The aim is to provide students with analytical skills to understand threats and challenges, how governments assess and respond to these concerns, and how governing institutions and agencies interact when developing policies and making decisions related to national security.

International Development Policy

Interdisciplinary and policy-oriented research on international development. Global, regional, community and institutional dimensions of development as a social, economic and political process. Topics include the linkages between development and trade, finance, regional integration, technology transfer and transnational enterprises, the environment and natural recourses, health, education, labour, and institutions.

International Economic Policy

Interdisciplinary and policy-oriented research on the relationship between the global markets, civil society, and states. Theories and policy approaches to international political economy, drawn from economics, political science and other disciplines. Topics include trade, finance, multinational corporations, international migration, and a critical analysis of the issues surrounding the phenomenon of global integration.

Students may, with the School’s permission, apply to complete a field and an associated comprehensive examination in another Department. The field would have to be in a cognate discipline related to the student’s program of study, and would need the approval of the host department as well. The student would be required to fulfill all of the host department’s requirements for the equivalence of a field designation, including any course work and the associated comprehensive examination.