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International Relations (Ph.D.)


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We offer the nation’s first online Ph.D. program in international relations. Building on the success of our master’s program in international relations, this terminal degree continues to emphasize justice, with a primary focus on seeking wisdom.

Our Program

Our curriculum encourages students to think outside the box when studying the different regions of the world, while also inspiring them to consider a single box: the global one. Through comparative study that seeks to expose differences and reveal similarities in a respectful and considered way, our doctoral candidates challenge myths and misconceptions that different cultures have about themselves.

Consistent with the University’s mercy and justice mission, our program’s mission is to promote humanity and eliminate prejudice. Coursework emphasizes the reality that different regions are part of an integral whole. Our students explore and understand all of the world’s regions, then choose a single area of focus for their dissertation.

Program Spotlight: Innovative Understanding

 Salve Regina is thrilled to be the first university in the United States to offer an online Ph.D. in international relations. The mission of the degree is to provide an innovative understanding of area studies through comparative analysis. 

Dr. Symeon Giannakos, professor


Time to Complete

4 years

Program Format


Application Deadline

Rolling admission

Our Faculty

Our instructors are full-time teaching faculty at their respective institutions, including Salve Regina, the University of Rhode Island, the U.S. Naval War College and Roger Williams University. All hold doctorates and are regionally, nationally or internationally known scholars with expertise in a specific area of study.​


Meet Our Faculty

International Relations (Ph.D.)

13 courses | 48 credits

Required courses:

  • INR675: Quantitative Methods (offered September-October)
  • INR690: Dissertation Research and Writing (offered September-October and January-March)
  • INR699: Dissertation

Students choose 10 of their courses from the following list based on their area of interest:

  • INR602: American Foreign Policy (offered January-March)
  • INR603: American Foreign Policy Decision Making (offered July-August)
  • INR612: Chinese Foreign Policy (offered March-May)
  • INR613: The Korean Peninsula and Japan (offered March-May)
  • INR622: Russian Foreign Policy (offered May-June)
  • INR623: Chinese Politics (offered September-October)
  • INR633: Comparative Politics of Russia (offered May-June)
  • INR643: The Middle East in World Affairs (offered July-August)
  • INR652: South Asia in World Affairs (offered September-October)
  • INR653: Latin America in World Affairs (offered January-March)
  • INR662: Europe in World Affairs (offered October-December)
  • INR672: Africa in World Affairs (offered October-December)

Students must also fulfill a language proficiency requirement, either by passing a test administered by a program-designated language department or passing two 200-level (or above) courses with a grade of “B” or better. No graduate credit is awarded for language courses. International students whose native language is not English may use their mother language to fulfill the requirement. The requirement must be completed before taking the comprehensive examination.

Upon successful completion of the coursework and the language requirement, students are required to pass a comprehensive written examination, which will be administered through teleconference. Students should plan to travel to campus for the dissertation defense.

Optional research semesters:

  • INR695: Dissertation Research (optional)

Candidates who have completed the coursework (including INR690) but who need additional semesters to work on the dissertation may retain active status by enrolling in INR695 ($300 per semester, spring and fall). Students enrolled in this class will not be eligible for financial aid but previous loans will remain in deferment. This course is optional and may be repeated.