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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

Pre-dissertation, Resident Stage

Pre-dissertation 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.

You will be based at the school's main campus in Washington DC and take a full course load or approved independent study. During this time you are required to take Research Methodology, International Economics, Statistics and Econometrics in addition to coursework agreed upon by a faculty advisor.

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.

Dissertation, Non-Resident Stage

During the dissertation 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.


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News & Events

Find out what's going on in the Doctor of Philosophy program at the Johns Hopkins SAIS.

Professor Jonas Nahm named National Committee on U.S.-China Relations PIP fellow

Assistant Professor of Energy, Resources, and Environment Jonas Nahm has been appointed to the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations’ Public Intellectuals Program (PIP).

Improving Safety in Trinidad and Tobago Through Johns Hopkins Social Innovation Lab

"Equipped with the conflict management knowledge I have gained so far, I came up with an idea to put into reality."

Aug 21 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm Online SAIS Event

MA Virtual Information Sessions 2019

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 (MA) degree by joining...

Aug 28 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm Online SAIS Event

Doctor of International Affairs Virtual Information Session

The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Office of Admissions invites you  to learn more about our newest degree offering - the Doctor of...

Sep 6 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm Room 417, 1740 Massachusetts Avenue NW

On-Campus Master of Arts Information Session

Come learn about our dynamic regional studies offerings within our Master of Arts program by attending this on-campus information session. The session will be moderated by a faculty member and...