PhD Program

About Us

Our PhD program focuses on providing students with the best training and research opportunities in the broad areas of Democratic Engagement, Global Justice, and Urban Politics and Local Governance.

The curriculum exposes students to a diverse range of theoretical approaches and methodological skills that they can use to tackle any academic or real world problem that interests them.

While we offer supervision and coverage in a broad range of topics and subfields (please consult individual faculty member webpages for a full listing), some of our more specific areas of strength include:

Our doctoral students are active members of the department and the political science community, publishing articles in Canadian Public Administration, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, International Studies Perspective, Politics, Groups and Identities, Res Publica, and The International Indigenous Policy Journal. They have presented papers at the annual meetings of the Canadian Political Science Association, the International Studies Association, and the American Political Science Association, to name a few. They have also attended or served as teaching assistants at the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), the Laurier Summer Institute of Research Methods, and the Workshops on Social Science Research (WSSR).

Our graduates have secured academic positions at Carleton University, Durham University, Ryerson University, The University of Manitoba, The University of Saskatchewan, and The University of Winnipeg, as well as prominent positions in the public and private sectors. 


The PhD program requires

  • 6 half courses in the first year including:
    • 2 courses in the first field
    • 2 courses in the second field
    • Scope and Methods of Political Science
    • 1 elective course
  • Comprehensive exams in the first and second fields completed in the Fall of the second year (view guidelines)
  • A cognate skill completed in the second year such as a second language test or extra methodology course (qualitative or quantitative methods)
  • Thesis proposal completed in the second year
  • PhD thesis including dissertation defense

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.