Details on the new PhD in Security Studies

The Department of Political Science will offer a new Ph.D. in Security Studies starting fall 2013.

The Ph.D. in Security Studies will offer rigorous training for students interested in national security, international affairs, world politics, and transnational problems. The program emphasizes considerable flexibility in terms of the theoretical diversity and intellectual breadth that characterizes security studies. Students will be confronted with traditional theoretical approaches to international security such as realism and traditional topics such as the causes of war, terrorism, and political violence, but they will also be trained in the use of more recent theories such as social constructivism, feminism, and critical theory, and in “new” security issues such as environmental issues, genocide, poverty and inequality, economic security, and the global spread of epidemics such as AIDS.

International security scholars today offer a broad range of theoretical approaches to a variety of traditional and non-traditional issues, and the program is designed to reflect this diversity in its course offerings. That diversity is also reflected in its broad theoretical and methodological eclecticism; students will be trained in both quantitative and qualitative methods, for instance, as appropriate to their chosen emphasis within security studies. The program is designed to ensure that students graduate with a full range of theoretical tools and methodological skills.

The Ph.D. program will admit students who have completed a Master’s degree in Political Science, International Studies, or a related field. This ensures that admitted students will have a solid grounding in mainstream political science or international relations and are well prepared to take on the more specialized coursework and research required for a Ph.D. in Security Studies. Students admitted to the program will complete 62 hours of course work beyond the Master’s degree, including dissertation research, to obtain a Ph.D. in Security Studies. The course work consists of 15 hours of required core classes in issues and theories of security studies as well as advanced quantitative and qualitative research methods; 15 hours of restricted electives in courses on security; 12 hours of unrestricted electives, which can include up to 6 hours of internship credit; and a minimum of 18 hours of dissertation research.

In addition, students will be required to complete two 1-credit hour professional development courses that will prepare them for a career in academic and non-academic environments, including questions of research ethics in the field, grant proposal preparation, and teaching preparedness. Student progress will be assessed through annual reviews, an oral qualifying exam at the end of the first year, a written candidacy exam prior to enrollment into dissertation hours, an oral defense of the dissertation proposal, and an oral defense of the dissertation.

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