Fully Funded PhD Programs in International Relations and International Development

Jan 28, 2013

The United Nations Headquarters with flags of the members of the UN.

Last updated October 14, 2023

In the follow-up to my article on How To Fully Fund Your PhD, here is a list of universities that offer fully funded PhD Programs in International Relations and International Development. There are several competitive, external fellowships that fund doctoral study, but if funding is a concern, it is a better strategy to apply to PhD programs that offer full funding to all admitted students. When a doctoral program indicates that they provide full funding to their PhD students, in most cases this means they provide each admitted student full tuition and a stipend for living expenses for the four to six-year duration of the student’s doctoral studies. Not all universities provide full funding to their doctoral students, which is why I recommend researching the financial aid offerings of all the potential Ph.D. programs in your academic field, including small and lesser-known schools both in the U.S. and abroad.

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Below is a list of universities that offer full funding to all of the admitted students to their PhD programs in international relations, international affairs, and international development:

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1. American University

(Washington, DC): All students admitted to the School of International Service (SIS), PhD in International Relations program as full-time students and who maintain good progress toward completing the degree are granted a Dean’s Fellowship in each of the first four years of study unless a student opts to waive financial aid.

2. Columbia University

(New York, NY):  All students admitted to the School of International and Public Affairs, PhD in Sustainable Development program receive a full-tuition fellowship with a stipend, as long as they are not already sponsored by their governments, employers, or a foundation. The fellowships are offered regardless of citizenship.

3. University of California, Berkeley

(Berkeley, CA): UC Berkeley’s Department of Political Science supports its graduate students through a combination of department fellowships, university multi-year fellowships, and teaching and research assistantships. Most incoming students are awarded five years of funding support consisting of fees non-resident tuition, and student health insurance. The PhD in Political Science program offers a subfield in International Relations.

4. University of Chicago

(Chicago, IL): The University of Chicago Department of Political Science guarantees full funding to students in the PhD in Political Science program, provided they remain in good academic standing. Full funding includes full tuition, a stipend, and paid health insurance premiums for the duration of the program.

5. University of Denver

(Denver, CO): The Josef Korbel School of International Studies provides a three-year full tuition waiver and a living stipend for most students accepted to the International Studies doctoral program. In addition, doctoral candidates can take advantage of opportunities to serve as research assistants at the Josef Korbel School.

6. University of Guelph

(Guelph, Ontario, Canada): The University of Guelph offers many resources to financially support graduate students. New full-time students accepted into the PhD in International Development Studies program are guaranteed funding and can take advantage of Entrance Awards related to International Development Studies.

7. Stanford University

(Stanford, CA): The Department of Political Science offers a standard financial package to admitted students that cover the full cost of tuition and an additional amount for living expenses during the academic year. Here is more info about funding. The Department provides five years of support for Ph.D. students who are making sufficient progress toward a degree. The PhD in Political Science program offers a focus on International Relations.

8. University of Pittsburgh

(Pittsburgh, PA): Most students who are accepted for the GSPIA doctoral program are awarded four years of funding. Typically, students receive graduate student assistantships (GSAs) or teaching assistantships (TAs), which provide salary, tuition, fees, and medical insurance.

9. Johns Hopkins University

All admitted PhD students receive a scholarship that covers tuition and stipend funding for a limited amount of time. PhD students are not required to serve as TAs or RAs, however many PhD students do acquire such positions and receive additional compensation.

10. Princeton University

(Princeton, NJ): The program is offered in two research clusters: Security Studies; and Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (STEP). Princeton’s full-funding guarantee ensures total support for all Ph.D. students throughout regular program enrollment. This includes tuition and stipend support from fellowships, assistantships, and external sources.

11. University of California Irvine

(Irvine, CA): All applications for PhD admission are considered for financial support, and all admission offers to Global Studies currently include six years of funding. Applicants are not required to apply separately for admission and financial support.

12. New York University

(New York, NY): PhD students who do not come with their own funding receive a four-year research apprenticeship (or equivalent), which carries full tuition remission, a stipend, student health insurance, and a $1,000 start-up grant. No additional application materials are required for consideration.

13. University of South Florida

(Tampa, FL): Most of the successful applicants qualify for funding offered by the department or the Office of Graduate Studies. Funded doctoral students will receive a graduate assistantship that includes: a stipend, tuition waiver, and health insurance. The graduate assistantship is guaranteed for four years but is based on maintaining satisfactory annual academic progress.

14. University of Notre Dame

(Notre Dame, IN): The six main fields are American politics, comparative politics, constitutional studies, international relations, methodology, and political theory. The Department offers generous financial aid packages to its Ph.D. students. Guaranteed support, tuition, and fellowship lasts for five full years to Ph.D. students who are making satisfactory progress toward the degree.

15. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

(Cambridge, MA): The MIT PhD in Political Science requires preparation in two of these major fields: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Models and Methods, Political Economy, and Security Studies. The aim is to fund all incoming PhD students. Funding is based on merit not need. The funding package is for 5 consecutive years with full tuition, health insurance, and a 9-month stipend, provided students remain in good academic standing.

16. Vanderbilt University

The PhD program offers intensive training in three fields of political science: American Politics, Comparative Politics, and International Relations. h.D. students can generally expect to receive teaching/research assistantships that pay for tuition, medical insurance, and a supplemental income stipend ranging from $14,000 to $30,000 per year for five years.

For application tips on applying to a PhD program, see How To Get Into a Fully Funded PhD Program: Contacting Potential PhD Advisors.

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