Western University Political ScienceFaculty of Social Science

PhD Program

Western has excellent research centres and groups as well as a strong researched-oriented faculty who are very diverse. Western also offers financial assistance, employment as a teaching assistant, professional development training on topics such as teaching, publishing, applying for academic jobs and applying for funding as well as a number of exciting seminar series and opportunities for students to present their own work. There is generous travel expense support to reimburse travel expenses incurred to conduct original research for thesis work and conference travel as well. 

Our doctoral students have been very successful. Every year, many of them present papers at key conferences such the Canadian Political Science Association conference and the International Studies Association conference. They have also recently conducted field research in places such as Uganda, Iraq and the Canadian Arctic. Other achievements include publications in scholarly journals such as: Air & Space Power Journal, International Journal, Canadian Student Young Pugwash Publication Volume 2 and have won awards including the International Students Association-Canada Student Paper Prize won by Cameron Harrington.

Applicants to the program must demonstrate a high level of academic performance, such as an A standing in a significant portion of their advanced academic work.  Applications should include sufficient information about research plans to enable the program to identify possible supervisors.

The department offers the PhD degree in the fields of Canadian politics, comparative politics, international relations, local government and political theory .

Our Strengths in Canadian Politics

Our Strengths in Comparative Politics

Our Strengths in International Relations

Our Strengths in Local Government

Our Strengths in Political Theory


The PhD program requires

Your PhD thesis is a major piece of research and writing on a subject chosen by the candidate and approved by the department. It is undertaken under the supervision of a faculty member in the department who is a specialist in the field, with the assistance of a committee. The latter may include a member of a related department or faculty. In view of the importance attached to the doctoral thesis and the research orientation of the program, applicants are expected to have a fairly well developed idea of their proposed research topic at the time of application.