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5 Fully Funded PhD Programs in International Development

PhD International Development Studies, Ruhr University of Bochum

This PhD program in International Development Studies is offered through the Institute of Development Research and Development Policy. The program takes a multidisciplinary approach, teaching students courses on research methods, statistical analysis, and various international development theories and methods. Students can choose from a wide range of teaching modules. Additionally, students must develop their own research project, which they can present and discuss to peer groups. The program also includes a semester of field research and courses on general skills needed to perform and present research.

This tuition-free program is a 3-year, full-time, on-campus study taught in English. Registration fees equal €267.66 per semester, which includes free public transportation to students. Costs to and from the field study in Germany are also not included. Applicants must have a master’s degree, preferably in a relevant field, and an overall grad equivalent to 1.3 in the German grading system.

PhD Transnational Studies, Berlin Graduate School for Transnational Studies

This PhD program brings together multiple areas of study to provide a unique platform for research in transnational and international relations. In addition to independent thesis research work, students must complete courses on various subjects related to international relations, research methods, and multidisciplinary skills. Students are required to present their research findings regularly at various events and conferences.

This is a free, 3-year, full-time, on-campus program. Although tuition is free, students have multiple scholarships available through the school for living and travel expenses through the Hertie Foundation, German Academic Exchange Service, and Chinese Scholarship Council. Master’s graduates in a related field are eligible to apply for this PhD program.

PhD Sustainable Development, Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs

The PhD in Sustainable Development at Columbia provides students with an interdisciplinary approach involving social, natural, engineering, and health sciences. Students take a number of course in development, economics, qualitative analysis, natural sciences, and social science. Following this, they conduct research and take electives as needed to supplement research. During the final year, students defend their dissertation research to complete their degree.

This 5-year, full-time, on-campus program is fully funded for all admitted students who do not have other sponsorship. This funding includes health insurance. The program enrolls 4-6 students per cohort. Applicants must have a strong background in social science, including 4 college-level courses, with a minimum of 2 economics courses. They also must have at least 2 college-level courses in calculus and 1 in algebra, plus 3 or more college-level classes in natural science or engineering. Other admissions requirements can be found on the Columbia Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

PhD Global Politics, Freie Universität Berlin

This program is presented through Freie Universität Berlin and four Chinese partner universities: Fudan University (Shanghai), Jinan University (Guangzhou), Renmin University (Beijing), and the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. Courses include colloquium and theory of global politics, methodology in social research, and a variety of other topics related to politics in Europe and East Asia. This partner program allows students based in Germany to spend 6-12 months in one of the Chinese universities, and students based in China will spend 6-12 months in Germany to exchange ideas and perspectives. To complete their degree, students must research and present a dissertation.

This is free, 3-year, full-time, blended program. Tuition is free, and multiple scholarship opportunities are offered to PhD candidates for registration fees, travel costs, and living costs. 8-10 students are accepted each year. Applicants must submit all relevant experience, proof of a completed Master’s degree or equivalent, a statement of purpose, and a dissertation proposal with two expert opinions of professors. They must be fluent in English, but basic knowledge of German and Chinese is helpful.

PhD Doctoral Programme in Governance, Hertie School of Governance

This PhD program focuses on governance and public policy, bringing together various perspectives from political science, economics, law, sociology, and management. The first year is dedicated to training in research design and support in dissertation research. They also take courses in theories and methods of governance issues. Students will also complete skills workshops to train in research methods, professional development, and more. Throughout the program, students will participate in doctoral research and research colloquium to support their dissertation work.

This program is a free, 3-year, full-time, on-campus study. Living cost stipends are available, as is funding for travel, workshops, conferences, etc. through Hertie School, PHD GLOBAL project, and other offers. To apply, applicants must be able to prove financial means to support their studies. Applicants should have a master’s degree or equivalent in a related field. The application requirements include an online application form, transcripts, CV, proof of English proficiency, funding statement, letter of motivation, research proposal, and two letters of references from scholars at universities or research institutions.

Funded PhD Programs in Peace and Conflict Studies

Notre Dame University (USA)

PhD in Peace Studies

Notre Dame University is home to the Kroc Institute, one of the foremost global centers for interdisciplinary peace research. Their sizeable PhD program allows students to choose amongst 6 different degree programs, each featuring a different disciplinary alignment: anthropology, history, political science, psychology, sociology, and theology. Combining peace studies with traditional disciplines gives students greater options if they choose to enter the academic job market. Graduates are prepared for scholarly research and teaching positions as well as roles in governmental, NGO, and religious organizations.

Funding details: Students receive fellowships or assistantships that provide full tuition and stipend for five years. Additional funding may be available for research travel.

Trinity College, Dublin (Ireland)

PhD, Irish School of Ecumenics

The Irish School of Ecumenics, part of the Confederal School of Religions, Peace Studies, and Theology, is a world leader for studies of dialogue, peace, and reconciliation in both Irish and global contexts. The department also works with the Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation program at the Belfast Campus in Northern Ireland, making this a unique, cross-border degree program. Popular research areas include ethics, human rights, interreligious dialogue, gender, development and globalization, and reconciliation. Students receive rigorous training in both theoretical, foundational texts as well as applied field research in communities, governments, and institutions across the world.

Funding details: Competitive postgraduate studentships are available based on academic achievement. These cover all fees and provide an annual maintenance allowance.

American University (USA)

PhD in International Relations, Concentration in International Peace and Conflict Resolution

This program approaches peace studies from a secular, international relations approach. As such, the training has a strong foundation in public policy research and knowledge production including focuses comparative social theory, region studies, and quantitative methodologies. The department emphasizes the importance of writing and students are urged to author journal articles, present at conferences, and collaborate on faculty research. As a result, graduates are well equipped to teach in a university setting as well as work for government and non-government organization around the world.

Funding details: Admitted students receive four-year fellowships that include tuition remission and living stipend. Additional funding for conference travel is also available.

Upsala University (Sweden)

PhD in Peace and Conflict Studies

With an emphasis on scientific research, this program balances one year of course work with 3-4 years of research and writing. Some popular courses include Classics in Peace Research, Research Design in Peace and Conflict Research, and Ethics of Field Research. In addition, the department partners with the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes to offer an advanced international training program entitled Peace and Security in Africa. Participants gain theoretical and practical knowledge about peace and security in Sub-Saharan Africa and work with regional partners to prevent, manage, and resolve armed conflicts in the region. This unique on-the-ground cross-cultural experience places students at an advantage in the global NGO and development job market.

Funding details: As is typical of Swedish universities, PhD candidates are considered employees and are not charged tuition fees. In addition, there are external fellowships and additional university resources available for qualified applicants.

George Mason University (USA)

PhD Conflict Analysis and Resolution

This PhD program is housed within the university’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Students are given rigorous academic professionalization, including opportunities to publish in academic journals, build a research and teaching portfolio, and apply for prestigious grants and scholarships. In addition, special travel courses allow students to learn by doing in regions that have been affected by conflict, including Colombia, Indonesia, Jordan, Northern Ireland, the Balkans, and Israel-Palestine. Students can further develop their academic profile by completing a certificate program focusing on Collaborative Leadership; Prevention, Reconstruction and Stabilization; or World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict.

Finding details: All graduate students are invited to apply to several competitive university- and department-wide scholarships. In addition, select graduate students are offered research and teaching assistantships that include tuition, health insurance, and a living stipend.

University of Manitoba (Canada)

PhD in Peace and Conflict Studies

Combining conflict resolution, social justice, and peace studies approaches, this program produces versatile scholars and human rights professionals. All students must complete courses within the field of peace and conflict studies as well as a related cognate area of their choice, such as sociology, law, Native Studies, etc. Graduates find work in academia as well as non-profit agencies, governments, hospitals, schools, and the business world. The program is housed within the Arthur Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice which is dedicated to peace, social justice, and human rights with a specific focus on the role of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in promoting global citizenship and harmony. The Centre also hosts a storytelling initiative focused on promoting peace and renewing communities.

Funding details: While funding is not guaranteed, there are a number of competitive fellowships available through the department and university.

University of Massachusetts, Amherst (USA)

PhD in Social Psychology, Psychology of Peace and Violence

This psychology-focused approach to the study of peace and violence is the first of its kind in the United States. The department aims to use scientific research and approaches to find innovative solutions to resolve conflict, promote reconciliation, and build peace. Students fulfill department requirements for a degree in Social Psychology while also completing additional research in conflict and peace studies. In addition, they complete an internship with a NGO or community-based organization, conduct long-term independent research projects, and assist faculty. Graduates are well placed to work in the either field of academic psychology or peace and conflict resolution.

Funding details: Nearly all students have tuition and fees waived through assistantships, fellowships, or traineeships. These also provide living stipends. Some assistantships and traineeships are also available in the summer.

  1. Humanitarianism and Conflict Response- Manchester, UK

This PhD program, offered by the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, aims to explore the ways in which NGOs, INGOs, states, and individuals respond to conflict. It takes three years to achieve, and is outlined as requiring rigorous, in-depth research and analysis on the impact of both historical and contemporary crises. Through this program, students will be introduced to a vast range of concepts and methods with which to conduct critical analyses and construct meaningful contexts in the humanitarian aid sector. Each student has access to one-to-one academic supervision in addition to professional mentoring.

To qualify, candidates will have successfully completed a relevant Masters course and earned a high degree of merit. As this is a research program, potential students should have experience or training in research and be able to compose a detailed research proposal to be included with the application. The cost of this PhD is quoted at $22,102 per year for international students and $7,151 for citizens of the EU and EEA (European Economic Area).

  1. Security, Conflict, and Human Rights- Bristol, UK

Offered by the University of Bristol in the UK, this PhD program takes an interdisciplinary approach, combining the traditional approaches to security studies with wider strategies aimed at resolving conflicts and securing social justice. The program structure contains many elements for study, such as: mental health, poverty, social exclusion, housing, nutrition, health and social care, violence and gender-based violence, and criminal justice. Its duration is full-time over the course of three years. This PhD is best suited to individuals with a Masters in politics, sociology, geography, history, law, economics, and/or development studies.

In order to be admitted to the program, candidates must possess a Masters qualification with appropriate research training. Exceptions can be made for those in possession of an equivalent. The tuition fee is $20,152 per year for international students and $5,441 for EU or EEA citizens. Funding is available for exceptional research proposals but is competitive.

  1. International Conflict Analysis- Brussels, Belgium

Offered by the University of Kent- Brussels School of International Studies, this PhD is a great opportunity to combine the study of politics with international relations. The program is made up of researchers and lecturers from around the world, each of whom have been internationally recognized for expertise in their fields. Under this program, research spans across the disciplines with particular strengths in conflict analysis and resolution and political theory. Researchers are divided into three core groups to focus their work on: Comparative Politics; Conflict, Security, and Human Rights; and Political and Social Thought.

To be admitted to this PhD program, candidates must possess a high-honors Masters degree in a relevant subject.  A full prospectus can be ordered from the university’s website. To complete the program, students must dedicated three to four years full-time, or five to six years part-time. Scholarships and funding opportunities are available.

  1. Doctoral Program in Humanitarian Studies- Dublin, Ireland

At University College Dublin, the Centre for Humanitarian Action offers a structured doctoral program in humanitarian studies. The purpose of this innovative program is to join researchers and specialists in humanitarian action to join their thinking and research aims. Candidates come from a variety of relevant disciplines and bring many different elements to the table. The program combines research and training to create innovative individuals in the humanitarian action field.

Applications must include a CV, research proposal draft, and funding status. Like may other programs, it takes three years to complete. Non-EU candidates have a yearly tuition fee of 11,200 Euros for full-time statues and 7,500 Euros for part-time. EU citizens are required to pay 5,600 or 3,700, respectively.

  1. Doctor of Social Work- Disaster, Crisis, and Intervention- Online

Rounding out the list is an online PhD program offered by Walden University. This program is designed for working-professionals from around the globe to have the opportunity to come together and learn. Focused on advancing clinical skills in making individual, group, and community assessments, this PhD empowers aid workers to make technical advances in areas suffering after a disaster or conflict. Upon completion, PhD holders should be more equipped to create sustainable social welfare and assistance programs.

While the program is offered online over the course of three years, an intensive six-day residency is required. In order to apply for this program, candidates must be in possession of a Masters of Social Work. Detailed information on the program will be provided to individuals who express interest to the university directly.