Department of Political Studies

Department of Political Studies
Department of Political Studies

PhD Program

The primary goal of the doctoral program is to provide a strong foundation for the pursuit of a career in university teaching and conducting research.

The department offers five fields of study within the doctoral program: 

  • Canadian Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • Gender and Politics
  • International Relations
  • Political Theory

In addition, the department has particular strengths in the study of divided and diverse societies as well as peace, conflict and security.

Applicants must have an A- average in a Master's degree in political science, or equivalent. Between four and seven candidates are accepted into the doctoral program each year. The PhD program requires successful completion of six one-term courses, a second-language examination, field examinations in two fields, and the presentation and defence of a Ph.D. dissertation. The average completion time for the doctoral program is just over five years.

PhD Handbook (PDF, 219KB)

Degree Level Expectations - PhD (224 KB)


Students who are accepted for doctoral studies are guaranteed a competitive package of financial assistance. The basic funding package consists of a Queen’s Graduate Award and Teaching Assistantships at a minimum of $18,000 CDN per year. 

Our students also have an excellent track record of securing external scholarship support. We strongly encourage applicants to apply for additional funding through external scholarships (SSHRC, OGS, etc.). Our students often receive such external funding including scholarships through the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and internal awards. In the past, our doctoral students have been honoured with the Trudeau Scholarship and the Vanier Scholarship. Incoming graduate students who win federal government tri-council awards are automatically provided a one time top-up award by Queen’s.

External Opportunities

The department encourages and supports the participation of doctoral students in external opportunities and offers access to two major skill-building summer schools:

The Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research (IQMR)

Held annually by the Consortium for Qualitative Research Methods in Syracuse, NY, the institute seeks to enable participants to create and critique methodologically sophisticated qualitative research designs, including case studies, tests of necessity or sufficiency, and narrative or interpretive work. IQMR attendees receive constructive feedback on their own qualitative research designs, and the course also includes discussions led by the authors of well known works which employ qualitative methods. Funding is provided through the department.

"The methods institute allowed me to explore new options for approaching my research question critically and provided me a laundry list of helpful tips about conducting field research and analysis. I also had the opportunity to make connections with fellow researchers from all around the world."

- Samantha Twietmeyer, PhD Candidate


The International Summer Research Institute

The UQAM Summer Institute is a bi-annual two-week summer school for graduate students that is organized and financed by a broad academic network headed by Professor Alain Gagnon at the Université du Québec au Montréal.

In 2017, the summer institute took place in Bolzano/Bozen, in cooperation with the Eurac Research-Institute for Minority Rights and Institute for Comparative Federalism. The 2017 edition (June 19 - 30, 2017) of the summer school focused on “A World in Turmoil: Territory, Power-Sharing and Conflicts” and examined the challenge of complex diversity through theoretical and empirical perspectives from all over the world. The two week program consisted of lectures given by distinguished scholars and experts—mainly coming from the network of partners-—seminars, institutional visits and other non-academic and cultural activites. Students also had the opportunity to deepen their expertise regarding the school's topics by presenting and discussing their own work, such as doctoral dissertations, on-going research, or research papers. Funding is provided through the department.

Alexandra Liebich, PhD Candidate"The summer institute was a terrific opportunity to meet and study with other scholars in the field, to network with prominent researchers, to foster future collaborations, and to learn about a fascinating region in the heart of Europe."

- Alexandra Liebich, PhD Candidate