Department of Political Studies


Political Studies

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The primary goal of our doctoral program is to prepare students for a career in university teaching and research. Graduates of our program are expected to have acquired autonomy in conducting research and making the results of that research public.

We also seek to provide a strong foundation for the pursuit of a scholarly teaching career. We offer the doctorate in five main areas of the discipline:

In addition, we have particular strengths in the study of divided and diverse societies as well as peace, conflict and security. We also encourage and offer support for external opportunities for research training and scholarly experience.

Our 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 our doctoral program is just over five years.

We accept between four and seven candidates into the doctoral program each year. Applicants must have an A- average in a Master's degree in political science, or equivalent.

PhD Handbook (PDF, 219KB)


Students who are accepted for doctoral studies are guaranteed a competitive package of financial assistance. We also have an excellent track record of securing external scholarship support.

Basic Funding Package consists of Queen’s Graduate Award and Teaching Assistantships

Ph.D.: minimum $18,000 per year

We encourage you 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. Our doctoral students have been honoured with the Trudeau Scholarship and the Vanier Scholarship. Entering graduate students who win federal government tri-council awards are automatically provided a one time top-up award by Queen’s.


The department encourages and supports the participation of PhD students in 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. In the spring of 2015, the department subsidized the participation of 8 students.

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

The International Summer Research Institute

This summer school on the politics of diverse and fragmented societies, held bi-annually in conjunction with Canadian scholars and research centres and an international host institution. In 2015, the school was held in Bolzano, Italy and the department fully funded the participation of 5 PhD students.


It 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

In June 2015, 5 PhD students from the Politics dept. had the opportunity to attend a summer institute/workshop, “Fragmented Polities…” in Bolzano, Italy. It was an amazing experience! We spent two weeks at the EURAC centre, engaged in debates & discussions with fellow graduate students from Ontario, Quebec, and various European countries, as well as professors and policy-makers who are well-known on the international scene. Lectures were complemented by some wonderful extracurriculars, including visits to the parliament of South Tyrol and the famous Victory Monument, and a field trip to Merano/Meran. Conversations always extended beyond the classroom, to the lobby of the hostel where all the students were staying, and to the dinner table. With its long history of contestation over language and territory, and its status as a “success story” in terms of regional autonomy, South Tyrol was the perfect location in which to be studying issues of conflict, identity and diversity. We also had the chance to present our own research projects, which was exciting, and we received valuable feedback from our peers. The EURAC staff were extremely helpful and supportive. Overall, it 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.