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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

General information regarding the PhD program should be directed to

Admissions-related inquires:
Johns Hopkins SAIS | Office of Admissions
1740 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington DC 20036
+1 (202) 663-5700
+1 (877) JHU-WASH (US toll free)


The PhD program at Johns Hopkins SAIS will help you to further your expertise as scholars of international relations. During your studies you will work closely with a faculty advisor to develop an academic plan that best supports your dissertation research.

Become an Expert

Throughout your PhD studies you will gain a comprehensive understanding of qualitative and quantitative analytic skills, international relations, economics, and regional studies. The program is divided into a pre-dissertation, resident stage based in Washington DC, and a non-resident, dissertation stage.

You are encouraged to contact the academic program in which you are interested to learn more about PhD opportunities and be prepared to share information about potential research topics.

International Policy Concentrations

Regions of the World Concentrations

What Your Schedule Will Look Like

The PhD program will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of qualitative and quantitative analytic skills, international relations, economics, and regional studies.

The Pre-dissertation resident stage status lasts up to two years if you have completed the two-year Master of Arts degree at Johns Hopkins SAIS and up to three years without the two-year Masters of Arts degree from the school. You will complete coursework, comprehensive exams, and defend the dissertation prospectus.

During this portion of the PhD program you will be based at the school's main campus in Washington DC and take a full course load or approved independent study. 

Required Courses

You will be required to take the following courses, in addition to coursework agreed upon by a faculty advisor:

  • Research Methodology
  • International Economics
  • Statistics and Econometrics

You are also required to successfully pass Theories and Methods of Qualitative Political Research and Research Design and Causal Inference. Prerequisites for Research Design and Causal Inference include successfully completing Statistical Methods for Business and Economics and Econometrics, or passing a statistics or econometrics waiver.

Within six months of passing the third comprehensive exam, you must prepare a written prospectus of the dissertation and present it in a formal defense that is open to members of the university faculty.


During the dissertation non-resident stage, you can explore opportunities to study at SAIS Europe, the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, or at other prominent global institutions.

You will advance to the dissertation stage after successfully defending a prospectus. You are not required to be on campus, however you are still considered full-time status. You should defend the dissertation within five years of the prospectus defense.

Thomas Rid

Professor of Strategic Studies

Adria Lawrence

Aronson Associate Professor of International Studies and Political Science

Hal Brands

Henry A. Kissinger Distinguished Professor

Jessica Fanzo

Bloomberg Distinguished Associate Professor of Ethics & Global Food and Agriculture, Director of the Global Food Ethics and Policy Program

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Dec 12 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Online SAIS Event

Hopkins-Nanjing Center Information Session

The Hopkins-Nanjing Center Washington Office will host an information session on how you can earn your master's degree or a one-year graduate certificate in Nanjing, China. The Hopkins-Nanjing Center, an...

Dec 12 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm Admissions Conference Room

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Dec 13 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm Online SAIS Event

MIEF Virtual Information Session

The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Office of Admission invites you to learn more about the Master of Arts in International Economics and...