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School of International Service, PhD

The PhD Program Handbook

This Handbook serves as a comprehensive resource for students and faculty delineating the components, policies, and procedures for earning a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in International Relations at American University's School of International Service (SIS). PhD students and faculty should refer to this Handbook for answers to questions they might have regarding PhD degree requirements and for information regarding other SIS PhD Program procedures and practices. American University Academic Regulations and the American University Catalogue establish the framework for this Handbook.  

American University regulations take precedence over the SIS PhD Program Handbook. The information in the Handbook is subject to change. Only the most recent version of the Handbook, the one available on this page, is valid. 

Download the Handbook (pdf)


The primary means of communication between AU faculty, staff, and students is the AU email account. PhD students are encouraged to check this account regularly as they are responsible for all correspondence they receive. If you would like, you may have email forwarded from this account to one of your choosing.


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