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School of International Service, PhD

Field Concentrations

During their first year of study, and in consultation with the Director of Doctoral Studies, students select a major field of concentration from among those offered at SIS.  These concentrations include:

Follow the above links for more information on each field of concentration, including relevant coursework and associated faculty members.

Prior to the start of each academic year, a list of approved courses, plus a reading list for the associated comprehensive field examination will be provided for each field concentration. Students then select at least three approved courses, normally to be taken during the second year of study. Each course must be completed with at least a minimal grade of B.

At the end of the second year, students take a comprehensive examination in their field of concentration. This exam includes both written and oral components and requires students to demonstrate competency in theoretical, epistemological, and methodological literature and issues in their chosen field of concentration. Normally, field examinations are offered at the end of the spring semester and the Director of Doctoral Studies will inform students of the exam date at the beginning of the spring semester. Please consult the SIS PhD Handbook for the procedures for the field exam.

Instead of selecting one of these field concentrations, a student may also construct a concentration of their own, with the approval of the Director of Doctoral Studies (see rules for self-constructed concentrations and exams). 


Anne Kantel

                                                                                                 SIS PhD Candidate Anne Kantel and SIS Professor Boaz Atzili recently received the A. Leroy Bennett Award from the International Studies Association for their paper "Accepting the Unacceptable: Lessons from West Germany's Changing Border Politics." You can read more about the award by visiting the International Studies Association website.

The paper was published in the International Studies Review and can be accessed on their website.


Contact Kasey Neil Petri, the PhD Program Coordinator, at 202-885-6582 or

We encourage prospective candidates to visit the University to meet faculty members and current PhD students. To arrange a visit, contact Graduate Admissions at 202-885-1646 or