Doctor of Philosophy

Define Your Path
Engage with Policymakers
Engage With a Diverse Community
World Class Faculty

Johns Hopkins SAIS offers students the freedom and guidance to discover their most rewarding professional and life paths.

Proximity to power and access to thought leaders create rich academic and professional opportunities.

In and out of the classroom, students interact with people of diverse backgrounds and ideologies in their quest for knowledge.

Conduct research while attending classes taught by renowned professors.

Overview
PhD FAQs
Curriculum
Current PhD Students
Faculty
Co- and Extra-Curricular Opportunities
Details
Contact Us

Overview

This full-time program is for individuals who hold a Master and seek to become scholars as well as practitioners in international relations. Each PhD candidate works with a faculty adviser to design a unique academic and research plan to prepare for their dissertation. Students develop a comprehensive understanding of qualitative and quantitative analytic skills, international relations, economics, and regional studies.

 

Study with World Class Thinkers


The Students

Students do more than study global politics and interactions among nations-they live international relations. Our student body represents approximately 75 nations, promoting a diversity that lends richness and vitality to academic life.


The Faculty

PhD candidates work with a faculty adviser to design a unique academic and research plan to prepare for their dissertation. Students develop a comprehensive understanding of qualitative and quantitative analytic skills, international relations, economics and regional studies.


Broaden Your Experience in Washington, DC

The school offers a unique sense of community in Washington, one of the most vibrant intellectual, political and economic centers of the United States.

Washington, DC is an undisputed center of power that acts as an extension of the campus. Students interact with distinguished guest speakers from across the globe who are engaged in diplomacy and foreign policy, attend events around the city and are positioned to take advantage of valuable internship opportunities.

PhD students may spend some time in Bologna while conducting dissertation research. Home to the oldest university in Europe, Bologna’s long tradition of education, cultural heritage and political vitality makes it an attractive location for the European campus. Exposure to contrasting European and US perspectives on global issues offers a distinctive academic pairing—making for an extraordinarily enriching experience.


Gain a Career-Building Edge

Graduates are in great demand by employers in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Economics knowledge, analytical abilities, regional expertise, diplomatic skills, language proficiency and the capacity to apply theory to real-world problems give our students a distinct professional advantage.


Career Services

Career Services works with students to help them explore careers and set goals, acquire experience through internships and develop a network of professional contacts. Career services staff members:

  • Offer both group and individual assessments and counseling to help students develop focused career goals
  • Organize job-hunting workshops, employment fairs and career treks
  • Offer professional skills courses that augment the academic curriculum to help students develop specific professional skills, such as presentation techniques, consulting skills and financial modeling
  • Connect students to the school's influential worldwide alumni network

A Global Alumni Community

As a graduate of the school, you will join a 16,000-strong lifetime community of friends and colleagues around the world. Our accomplished alumni are leaders in government, business, journalism, nonprofit groups and multilateral organizations in more than 140 countries.


Common Paths

Alumni have pursued careers in:

  • Academia (teaching and/or research)
  • Government (US and foreign)
  • Multilateral organizations (e.g., International Monetary Fund, World Bank)
  • Various Think Tanks
  • Private sector
For more information, please e-mail saisphdprogram@jhu.edu.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS, PhD PROGRAM



What is the application deadline for the PhD?

The PhD program only admits students in the Fall semester.  The application deadline is December 15. All materials, including official standardized test scores, must be received by the Office of Admissions in advance of the deadline.

Admissions decisions for the 2018-19 Academic Year will be announced in mid-March 2018.
 

In which programs/fields can I earn a PhD?

Applicants must be aware that not all programs/fields will accept new PhD applications each year. The following list specifies programs/fields that are currently considering new students. PhD applicants are encouraged to contact the academic program in which they are interested to learn more about PhD opportunities and be prepared to share information about potential research topics.



How do I apply and what application materials are required?

Please visit the Admissions website for the online application and additional information.

You will need to submit the following items:

  • Online Application Form
  • Application fee ($85)
  • Statement of Purpose (600 words)
  • Writing Sample
  • Dissertation Topic
  • Résumé/CV
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts for all college-level course work
  • GRE or GMAT score reports
  • TOEFL or IELTS score reports (non-native English speakers only)

All materials, except for transcripts and test scores, can be submitted via the online application. Test scores must be sent to us directly from the testing service. Official transcripts must be sent via secure electronic services (e.g., Scrip-Safe) or mailed to the Office of Admissions in Washington, DC:

Johns Hopkins University, SAIS
Office of Admissions
1740 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036

PhD applicants who have completed the MA within the past five years or who are currently enrolled in the program may request to use materials that were submitted for their MA application. These individuals should contact the registrar’s office to ensure the materials are sent to the Office of Admissions.


PhD Application Essays

Applicants are asked to complete the relevant supplemental section for their program of interest.  Essays should be typed, include the applicant’s name, and be uploaded using the online application system.

  • Statement of Purpose: Discuss your goals for graduate study and your professional career. What experiences have most contributed to your desire to study international relations? How will Johns Hopkins SAIS help you meet your academic and professional goals? Applicants planning to pursue a joint degree should address this interest as well. The essay should be about 600 words in length.
  • Dissertation Topic: Applicants should describe their proposed dissertation topic, including research methods and plans for fieldwork. The essay should indicate the Johns Hopkins SAIS faculty members with whom the applicant is likely to work and the relation of the dissertation topic to their work. This essay should be no more than 600 words.
  • Writing Sample: Applicants should submit a piece of analytical writing between 15 and 40 pages (double-spaced). The most useful sample is a research paper based on sources in the field of specialization to which the applicant has applied, but a piece of analytical writing in another field is acceptable. The applicant must be the sole author.


What guidelines should be followed in selecting a writing sample to submit?

The writing sample should be a piece of analytical writing that you have prepared for an academic program or an employer. Ideally, you should submit a research paper based on sources in the academic field to which you will be applying. However, a piece of analytical writing in another field is acceptable. Please include a cover sheet that provides current contact information of the person for whom the paper was originally written. The writing sample should be between fifteen and forty double-spaced pages, and the applicant must be the sole author.


Is it possible to submit paper recommendations?

If your recommenders prefer to submit paper recommendations, you can obtain a recommendation cover sheet from the online application.  Please note that paper recommendations, like any other application materials, are due by the appropriate deadlines.  However, we strongly advise that your references submit letters using the online system, as it allows for applicants to monitor the progress of their recommendations. We will accept letters of recommendation forwarded on an applicant's behalf by his/her undergraduate career services office or other outside vendors providing a similar service.


Am I required to take an English Language Exam?

If English is not your native language, (or in the case of bilingual students, your dominant language is not English) but you hold an undergraduate degree granted by an accredited institution in a country where English is an official language and where English is the language of instruction, than you will not be required to submit an English competency exam.

If English is not your native language, (or in the case of bilingual students, your dominant language is not English) but you hold a graduate degree granted by an accredited institution in a country where English is an official language and where English is the language of instruction, then you will need the approval of the Office of Admissions to be exempt from submitting an English competency exam. Please contact the Office of Admissions for more information.  

A TOEFL score of at least 600 for the paper-based exam, 250 for the computer-based exam or 100 for the internet-based exam is required of all applicants whose native language is not English.  TOEFL scores are valid for only two years.  The Johns Hopkins SAIS DC TOEFL code is 5610-0000.  For more TOEFL information, please refer to refer to www.ets.org.

Students who choose to submit the IELTS exam results must meet a minimum of 7.0.  For more IELTS information, please refer to www.ielts.org.


Am I required to take the GRE or GMAT?

All applicants are required to take either the GRE General Exam or the GMAT. LSATs are not accepted. To ensure that your test scores reach the school on time, you should take the appropriate examinations and request your official score reports at least a month before the deadline.

The Educational Testing Service (ETS) score reporting school code (GRE and TOEFL) for Johns Hopkins SAIS is 5610 and the department code should be left blank ("0000"). GRE scores are valid for five years.  For more GRE information, please refer to refer to www.ets.org.

For the GMAT, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) score reporting school code for Johns Hopkins SAIS is KGB-GX-99.  GMAT scores are valid for ten years, but the school recommends that scores be no more than five years old.  For more GMAT information, please refer to refer to www.gmac.com.


Can holders of a Bachelor’s degree apply directly to the PhD program?

In order to apply for the PhD program, individuals must hold the Johns Hopkins SAIS MA degree, be a resident Johns Hopkins SAIS student who has completed at least twelve courses toward the MA degree, or be a student or graduate who has comparable academic qualifications from another institution. Holders of Bachelor’s degrees are encouraged to research the Johns Hopkins SAIS MA degree.


Which advanced degrees are considered to produce graduates with academic qualifications comparable to those of Johns Hopkins SAIS MA graduates?

The PhD Committee accepts applicants who have completed the Master of Arts in International Relations degree at Johns Hopkins SAIS, as well as applicants who have completed MA programs at other institutions. Competitive applicants who have not graduated from the school will often hold MA degrees in the social sciences, especially in the disciplines of international relations, political science, or history. Such degrees require graduates to have achieved competency in theoretical studies, research methodology, and extensive academic writing. Advanced professional degrees such as a Juris Doctorate or a Master of Business Administration do not usually suffice as substitutes for advanced work in international affairs, though exceptions can be made depending on an applicant’s specific research interests. Similarly, an advanced degree in strategic studies from a military institution would not be considered appropriate for admission to most PhD fields, but is sometimes acceptable for admission to the Strategic Studies field at Johns Hopkins SAIS.

How much consideration is given to the professional profile of a PhD applicant? Are academic achievements and work experience weighed equally in the admissions process?

The principal weight is given to academic achievements, while an applicant’s professional experience is of secondary significance. Exceptions are possible, but only in truly unusual cases.


What is the review process for PhD applications?

The Office of Admissions prepares all PhD application files for review by the PhD Committee. The PhD Committee makes final decisions on the basis of recommendations from the field directors, and applicants are notified of these decisions in mid-March. Each year, a small number of outstanding candidates are admitted into the PhD program at the school.


Who can I contact for more information about pursuing the PhD?

Requests for general information about the PhD program should be directed to saisphdprogram@jhu.edu. Students desiring additional information about a particular PhD field should contact the relevant field director or program coordinator, but can the above e-mail address for additional guidance.


How much additional coursework is required of PhD candidates who did not obtain their MA degrees from Johns Hopkins SAIS?

All PhD students must demonstrate competence in the field of International Economics. MA degree recipients will be accepted as having met the economics requirement during their prior studies at Johns Hopkins SAIS.

To meet the competence in International Economics requirement, non-MA students must complete one of the following within the first three semesters:

  • Fulfill the comprehensive requirement in International Economics (a series of approved advanced economics courses) as one of their three comprehensives.
  • Pass a one-hour oral exam equivalent to the MA Oral Exam in economics.

To prepare for the MA Oral Equivalency Exam, the student must take for credit and pass the following classes or pass the waiver exams:

  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics
  • International Trade Theory
  • International Monetary Theory

Students who have demonstrated equivalence in coursework at another institution may request to sit for one or more waiver exams.

Additionally, all PhD students must demonstrate competence either in two foreign languages or in one foreign language and quantitative methods of analysis. MAs have usually met the first language requirement during their MA studies.


Can coursework or fieldwork toward the PhD program be completed at off-site locations?

PhD students must be in residence at Johns Hopkins SAIS in Washington, DC during their first year of study, and all PhD coursework must be completed in Washington, DC. Fieldwork begins after a student has completed all necessary courses, passed the comprehensive examinations, and successfully defended a dissertation topic. Fieldwork might be conducted at the SAIS Europe campus or the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, but this would be appropriate for a limited range of topics and would require the field director’s permission.


How long does it take to complete the PhD program?

A doctoral candidate must complete a dissertation within five years of taking his or her first PhD comprehensive examination. The average length of time from entry in the doctoral program to completion of the degree is five to six years.


What kind of funding is available for PhD students?

All admitted PhD students receive fellowship and stipend funding for a limited amount of time. Students with an MA from the school may receive a maximum of three years of funding, and non-MAs may receive a maximum of four years of funding.  PhD students are urged to seek outside support for their studies at the school. In the annual review process, applications for outside support will be treated as one sign of a student's seriousness of purpose. Students receiving fellowship awards will be carefully evaluated by the PhD Committee on the basis of performance in class, satisfaction of degree requirements, and a written evaluation from the student’s PhD advisor at the end of each academic year to determine if the financial award will be renewed.


Are Teaching Assistantships or Research Assistantships available for PhD students?

PhD students are not required to serve as TAs or RAs, but many do acquire such positions.  Such assignments are established after the admissions process has concluded and students are responsible for pursuing these opportunities on their own.


What kinds of jobs do PhD graduates pursue?

PhD graduates have taken jobs in the academic, policymaking, and non-profit sectors. Anecdotal evidence indicates that by comparison with the graduates of PhD programs at other universities, a larger proportion of graduates establish careers in the policymaking and non-profit sectors.

 

PhD Program Curriculum Summary
 
All students are advised to consult the Johns Hopkins SAIS PhD Manual, the Red Book, their faculty advisor and the Office of Academic Affairs for further guidance and information.
 
Fields of Study
Students should select their courses in consultation with their faculty advisor. Except for two required research methodology courses, there is no minimum number of courses required of students entering the PhD Program.  Students in the Pre-Dissertation stage, however, student must engage in a full-time program of courses, seminars, and/or independent study approved by the faculty advisor.
 
PhD Program Structure

The PhD is divided into two stages:

  1. Pre-dissertation, Resident Stage

Pre-dissertation status lasts up to two years for Johns Hopkins SAIS MAs and up to three years for non-MAs.  Students complete coursework, comprehensive exams, and the dissertation prospectus.

Pre-dissertation students must be present on-campus and working full-time toward fulfilling the requirements of the degree:  a full-time program of courses, seminars, and/or independent study approved by the faculty advisor as well as involvement in PhD community events.
Required coursework (see below for more details):

  • Research Methodology
  • International Economics
  • Statistics and Econometrics

 
Additional coursework is chosen by the student in consultation with advisor to prepare for comprehensive exams and dissertation topic.

  1. Dissertation, Non-Resident Stage

Students advance to the Dissertation stage after successfully defending a prospectus.  They are no longer required to be in residence at a Johns Hopkins SAIS campus, but are still considered full-time status.  Students should defend the dissertation within five years of the prospectus defense.

Courses in Research Methodology

All incoming students are required to take for credit and pass the following two courses in research methodology:

  • Theories and Methods of Qualitative Political Research (SA.600.774)
  • Applied Methods of Political Research (SA.600.767)

 
Before enrolling in Applied Methods of Political Research, all students are required to take and pass (1) Statistical Methods for Business and Economics (SA.340.709) and (2) Econometrics (SA.340.710) for credit or to test out via the SAIS Statistics waiver exam or an Econometrics waiver.  The waiver exam is offered only to those who have demonstrated equivalence in coursework at another institution.
 
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International Economics Competence

All PhD candidates must demonstrate competence in international economics. MA degree recipients are accepted as having met this requirement.  Non-MA students must do one of the following:

  • Pass a one-hour oral exam in economics.

 To prepare for the PhD Economics Oral Exam, the student must take for credit and pass the following classes or pass the waiver exams: Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, International Trade Theory, and International Monetary Theory. The waiver exam is offered only to those who have demonstrated equivalence in coursework at another institution.

  • Complete the PhD comprehensive requirement in International Economics as one of their three comprehensive exams.

 
This is actually a series of three advanced economics courses and not an exam.  Courses must be approved by the International Economics Department.  Please contact Prof. Cristino Arroyo for more information:  carroyo1@jhu.edu.
 
Comprehensive Exams
All students must select three examination areas from among the following:

  • American Foreign Policy
  • Comparative Politics
  • International Development
  • International Economics*
  • International Political Economy/ Comparative Political Economy
  • International Relations
  • Regional Studies
  • Comp. from other division of Hopkins, if approved

*Please note that International Economics is not an exam.  See above for more information.

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Language Requirement

PhD students must demonstrate competence in a primary and secondary foreign language or in a primary foreign language and quantitative methods of analysis.

  • Primary Foreign Language – Tested in reading, writing, listening and speaking.
  • Secondary Foreign Language – Tested in reading only.
  • Quantitative Methods of Analysis – Passing courses in Econometrics and Applied Econometrics.

 
Prospectus Requirements
Each candidate will prepare a written prospectus of his or her dissertation and present the prospectus in a defense that is open to members of the JHU faculty and students no later than six months after passing the last comprehensive exam.
 
Dissertation Requirements
At Johns Hopkins SAIS, the dissertation must be an original and analytical treatment of a subject of conceptual importance. To conduct the research for, write, and defend the dissertation, a candidate will have a period of five years from the defense of the prospectus. It is understood that in fields with exceptionally difficult languages the process may take longer.
 
Annual Progress Reports
Each year, every doctoral student must submit a written progress report to the PhD Committee using the Annual PhD Candidate Evaluation form. Before submitting the report, a student should meet with his or her advisor and obtain the advisor’s written comments and approval. The deadline for submission is usually the end of March.

The PhD Committee reviews the progress of all PhD candidates at the May meeting. Depending on a student’s stage in the doctoral program, the review includes the student’s course grades, performance on comprehensive examinations, preparatory work for the dissertation, and draft dissertation chapters. This review becomes the basis for the PhD Committee’s decisions about awards of financial aid and maintaining good academic standing for the coming academic year. 

Questions? Need more information? Contact:
Manager of Graduate Services, Office of Academic Affairs; 202-663-5823; saisphdprogram@jhu.edu

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Media Folder: 
Nathaniel D.F. Allen

Nathaniel is a PhD student in African Studies Department. His research interests include the politics of insurgency, civil-military relations, and democratization in Africa. Mr. Allen holds an MPA in development studies from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and a BA in political science, with honors, from Swarthmore College.
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Brian G. Carlson

Brian is a PhD student in the Global Theory and History department. His dissertation concerns China-Russia relations. He holds an MA in international relations from Johns Hopkins SAIS.
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Yunnan Chen

Yunnan is a second year PhD student in International Development, whose research interests focus on China's overseas direct investment in Africa. She is a Carnegie fellow researcher at the SAIS China Africa Research Initiative, and has worked on research and fieldwork projects on Chinese manufacturing investment in Nigeria and in Madagascar. She has previously worked as a Research Officer at the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex, as well as in Chinadialogue, London. She holds a Masters in Political Science from the University of British Columbia (UBC), and a BA from the University of Oxford in PPE.
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Jeanne Choi

Jeanne is a PhD student in the Northeast Asian Studies Department. Her dissertation research focuses on natural gas trading hubs and energy market deregulation in Japan, South Korea, and Singapore. Jeanne received her MS in Energy & Environmental Policy from New York University and a BA in Political Science with honors from Columbia University.
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Liliana Diaz

Liliana is a PhD candidate in the Latin American Studies Program, a native of Colombia, and a specialist in Latin American energy issues. Liliana has a BA in Finance and International Relations from Universidad Externado de Colombia in Colombia, and an MA (with distinction) from Johns Hopkins SAIS. Her interests include the development of energy sources and markets in emerging economies. She is currently writing a dissertation on the 1970’s Brazilian energy sector policies that transformed the country’s energy profile. She lectures in the Energy in the Americas course at Johns Hopkins SAIS. Liliana is also an energy consultant. Her expertise encompasses a variety of energy sectors including fossils fuels, renewables, power generation and transmission, and energy efficiency. With her PhD, Liliana aspires to transition from a consultant to a policymaker in global energy affairs.
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Necmeddin Bilal Erdogan

Necmeddin is a PhD candidate in the European Studies Department. His research interests include economic development and income distribution with focus on Italian and Turkish political economies. Bilal holds a Master in public policy from Harvard Kennedy School and a BA in political science and economics, with distinction, from Indiana University Bloomington.
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Cornelius Fleischhaker

Cornelius is a PhD student under the Johns Hopkins SAIS Latin American Studies Program, focusing on economic policy and political economy in Brazil. Before commencing his doctoral studies he was a Junior Professional Associate with the Macroeconomics and Fiscal Management Global Practice of the World Bank, specializing on Brazil and other Latin American countries. He previously worked as a Research Analyst with the Middle East and Central Asia Department of the IMF. He holds a BA in International Relations from TU Dresden and a MA in International Economics and Latin American Studies from Johns Hopkins SAIS.
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Sabina Henneberg

Sabina is a PhD candidate in the Africa Studies where she focuses on governance issues in North Africa. Prior to beginning her doctoral work, Ms. Henneberg worked for several years in international education development in North Africa and the Middle East. Ms. Henneberg holds a bachelor’s degree from Colorado College and a Master’s degree in International Relations from Johns Hopkins SAIS.
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Theodore Kahn

Theodore is a PhD candidate in the Latin America Studies Program at Johns Hopkins SAIS. My main research interests are political economy of development, federalism, and subnational politics in Latin America. For my dissertation project, I examine how subnational political coalitions shaped patterns of economic growth and industrialization in three Mexican states. Prior to coming to Johns Hopkins SAIS, I worked as a researcher at the Inter-American Development Bank and as a reporter in Argentina and Chile.
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Noa Levanon Klein

Noa is a doctoral candidate in the Conflict Management department, where she studies negotiations between state governments and non-state actors. Her dissertation examines how governments formulate negotiation policy vis-a-vis fragmented self-determination movements. She holds an AB from Princeton University and an honors MA from the departments of International Relations and Conflict Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
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David Landry

David is a second year PhD student in the international development department. He researches the links between investment inflows and governance in sub-Saharan Africa, with a specific focus on extractive industries. He has consulted for the World Bank, the Natural Resource Governance Institute, and Transparency International. David holds a BA in international development from McGill University and an MSc in global governance and diplomacy from the University of Oxford.
Adam B. Lee

Adam is a PhD student in the China Studies department. His research interests include US-China relations, maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas, and Northeast Asian politics.  Adam holds an MA in East Asian studies from Stanford University and a BA in Asian studies and political science, with honors, from Williams College.
He can be reached at: adamblee@jhu.edu.
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Ji Hyun Lee

Ji is a PhD candidate in the General IR Program. Her research interests include energy and environment policies, and international political economy. She is currently working on a dissertation titled, “Green Disguise? Political Economy of Non-tariff Barriers.” She has a MA in the Energy, Resources, and Environment Program from Johns Hopkins SAIS, where she studied on a Fulbright Scholarship. She also has another MA in International Political Economy from Seoul National University, summa cum laude, and a BA in English Literature and Language from Seoul National University. 
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Salamah Magnuson

Salamah is a PhD candidate (ABD) studying Conflict Management at Johns Hopkins SAIS. With almost 15 years of experience, Ms. Magnuson has worked to prevent, respond to, and stabilize conflict and crises at the community, national, and trans-national levels in transitional and post-conflict contexts. Her areas of expertise include: conflict analysis, intervention design, shaping policy, M&E design and implementation, people-to-people dialogue, stakeholder advocacy, government and civil society capacity strengthening, and institutional development. Ms. Magnuson has been based in and worked for the U.S. Government and international organizations in Africa (Kenya, Nigeria, and Sudan), Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan), and Sri Lanka.
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Ilaria Mazzocco

Ilaria is a PhD student in the China Studies department. Her research interests include Chinese environmental and energy policy, economic development, and overseas investment. She holds a M. from Johns Hopkins SAIS, and a MA in International Relations and European Studies from Central European University (CEU) in Hungary and a BA in Economics from Bard College.
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Silvia Merler

Silvia is a PhD student in European and Eurasian Studies and an Affiliate Fellow at Bruegel, Bruxelles Economic Think Tank. Her research interests include international macro and financial economics, with a special focus on capital flows and the European dimension of policymaking. Before joining Bruegel, she worked as Economic Analyst in the DG Economic and Financial Affairs of the European Commission (ECFIN), in particular on macro-financial stability as well as financial assistance and the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). She holds a MSc in Economics and Social Sciences from Bocconi University in Milan and graduated in 2011 with a thesis on Current Account Imbalances within the Euro Area. She obtained a BA in Economics and Social Sciences from the same university in 2008, with a thesis on Ukraine and Moldova in the European Neighbourhood Policy.
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Media Folder: 
Elor Nkereuwem

Elor Nkereuwem is a PhD candidate in African Studies. She is interested in terrorist communication and the use of Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis, discourse, and corpus analysis to study the communication patterns of violent groups.
 
She holds an MLitt in Peace and Conflict Studies (University of St Andrews, Scotland); B.Sc in International Relations (University of London); and B.Sc in Mathematics/Statistics (University of Calabar). Elor is an award-winning journalist and has worked as an investigative journalist and a communications consultant.
She can be reached at: elor.nkereuwem@jhu.edu.
Alysson Akiko Oakley

Alysson is a doctoral candidate at Johns Hopkins SAIS, where she focuses on comparative politics and the political economy of Southeast Asia. She has been an adjunct professor in the Department of Government at Georgetown University since 2011, and since 2009 has authored reports on political and civil rights for five Southeast Asia countries for the annual publication Freedom in the World. Previously, she served as a senior adviser at the International Republican Institute and program director at the US-Indonesia Society. She received a master’s degree in international relations from Johns Hopkins SAIS (2009) and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Brown University (2003).
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A. Bradley Potter

A. Bradley is a PhD student in the Strategic Studies Department. His research interests include wartime decision-making, war termination, and Middle Eastern politics. Mr. Potter holds an MA in international relations from Johns Hopkins SAIS and a BS in physics and international relations (honors) from the College of William and Mary.
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Hyunji Rim

Ms. Hyunji Rim is a PhD Candidate in Asian Studies. Her research interests include security dynamics and nuclear politics in Asia. She holds MA in International Peace and Security from Korea University, BA in French Language & Literature and Korean Studies from Ewha Woman’s University. In the past, she has done internships including IAEA’s, Reuters’, etc. She is a native Korean, fluent in French, Japanese, and is currently learning Vietnamese.
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Rachel Salzman

Rachel is a PhD candidate in Russian and Eurasian Studies. Her dissertation examines the role of BRICS in Russian foreign policy before and after the crisis in Ukraine. In 2014, she was awarded a Cosmos Scholars grant and a Boren Fellowship for dissertation research and language study in Moscow. Ms. Salzman holds a BA (magna cum laude) in European History from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.Phil (high distinction) in Russian Studies from the University of Cambridge. She is a member of the 2015-2016 Eurasia Foundation Young Professionals Network.
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Beth Smits

Beth is a second-year doctoral student focussing on the use of financial market infrastructure as instruments of foreign policy. After graduating from Johns Hopkins SAIS with her master's in 1990, she spent 24 years working in the public and private sector in the United States, Europe and Asia. Most recently, she was head of Public Affairs and Communications Asia Pacific for SWIFT, the global banking cooperative, based in Hong Kong. She received her BA from Johns Hopkins in 1989.
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Stephanie Gimenez Stahlberg

Stephanie is a PhD student in the International Development department. Her research interests include governance, citizen security, youth at risk, inequality, research methods and M&E. She is currently working as a consultant on projects with the World Bank and USAID. She holds an MA in international policy studies from Stanford University, where she also worked as a research associate for two years with the Program on Poverty and Governance, and a BA in Economics and Political Science from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Stephanie is originally from Brazil and speaks Portuguese, Spanish, and basic German. 
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Media Folder: 
Doug Winton

Doug is a PhD candidate in Strategic Studies and US Army Colonel serving as an instructor at the US Army War College. He holds a Masters of Strategic Studies from the US Army War College and an MA in International Relations from Johns Hopkins SAIS. His dissertation addresses whether urban combat is a “great equalizer” for disparate military forces by examining battles in Grozny, Fallujah, and Gaza.
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Constantino Xavier

Constantino a PhD candidate in South Asian Studies interested in the strategic cultures of democratic great powers with a focus on interventionism and conflict resolution. His dissertation examines changes in India's regional policy, with case studies on its involvement during regime crises in Nepal, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, from the 1950s to the 2000s. He previously worked at the Brookings Institution and is a Fulbright scholar from Portugal.
He can be reached at: cherman9@jhu.edu.
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Ying Yao

Ying is a PhD exchange student in the Southeast Asian Studies Program. Her research interests include democratization, civil society development in Southeast Asia with a focus on Myanmar. Ms. Yao holds a BA in Burmese Language and Literature from Beijing Foreign Studies University. She has gained a full scholarship from Developing Countries Studies PhD program, Tsinghua University.
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Zack Zimbalist

Zack is a PhD candidate in the African Studies Department at Johns Hopkins SAIS. He is interested in the political economy of development and democratization in Sub-Saharan Africa. His dissertation research focuses on local governance and public goods provision in Mozambique and South Africa. Zack holds a Master’s in Development Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa, and a BA in International Studies-Economics from UCSD.

He can be reached at: zzimbal1@jhu.edu
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Zongyuan (Zoe) Liu

Zongyuan is a PhD Candidate in International Political Economy/ Asia-Japan Studies. She is interested in the political economy of international financial markets, Persian Gulf - Asia relations with a special focus on finance, cross-border infrastructure, and energy-related issues. Zoe’s dissertation examines the rising prominence of Sovereign Wealth Funds in global financial markets, paying particular attentions to the Asian-Pacific region.


Faculty

All PhD students have a faculty advisor, who is usually the director of the program to which a student is admitted. The advisor is also known as the “first reader” of the dissertation. In consultation with the advisor, the student will eventually assemble a full, five-person dissertation committee, of which at least one must be external to Johns Hopkins University.  The goal is to identify faculty members who have expertise in areas related to the student’s research and who can provide useful guidance to the student throughout the planning and preparation of the dissertation. The committee should include members who are familiar with the subject matter and any mathematical or other specialized analytical methods to be used in the dissertation

The faculty advisor has primary responsibility for coordinating the candidate’s research agenda. The second reader is the other senior member of the dissertation committee who monitors the student’s research throughout the dissertation project. Both the faculty advisor and the second reader are to be substantively involved in the student’s preparation of the prospectus and the dissertation.

While the student will work actively with the first and second readers to prepare a dissertation prospectus, the student should also consult with the three provisional committee members throughout his/her doctoral research.

Prospective and current PhD students are encouraged to use the Faculty Directory to identify individuals to approach about involvement in their research and dissertation. Be sure to view the Johns Hopkins SAIS Guide to Experts here (on left, under the basic menu), which is organized according to different specializations, including geographic areas and policy issues, and also has information about the school's research centers.

Co- and Extra-Curricular Opportunities
 

PhD Program

The PhD program hosts numerous events throughout the year, including "research-in-progress" seminars led by current students, professional development sessions, alumni engagements, and other social outings. Current students can stay informed via the program's Blackboard site.


Academic Program and Research Center events

Many of the school's academic programs and research centers host seminar series and other events throughout the school year. PhD students are encouraged to participate.
 

Student Government Association (SGA)

The school's SGA offers students a number of ways to stay involved with the topics that matter most to them. Organizations include the Finance Club, Africa Association, China Club, International Law Society, SAIS Corps Volunteer Club, SAIS Review and many more.

Prior to Attending | Cost of Attendance | Prior to Graduating

 

Prior to Attending


General
PhD applicants must hold a master's degree in a field directly related to their proposed field of study. Advanced professional degrees, such as a JD or a MBA, cannot be substituted for advanced work in international affairs. An advanced degree in strategic studies from a military institution is not considered appropriate for admission to most PhD programs, but is sometimes acceptable for admission to the Strategic Studies Program.

Language
All students must have proven English proficiency. Students whose native language is not English must demonstrate their preparation in the English language via strong TOEFL or IELTS scores.

For International Students
All applicants whose native language is not English (or in the case of bilingual students, whose dominant language is not English) and who do not hold an undergraduate degree granted by an accredited college/university where English is the medium of instruction are required to submit a score for the TOEFL or the academic version of the IELTS exam. The minimum required score for the TOEFL is 100 on the Internet-based exam (600 in the paper-based exam), and the minimum IELTS score is 7.

Financial Aid and Funding
A limited number of fellowships are available each year. Students with an MA from Johns Hopkins SAIS may receive a maximum of three years of funding, and non-MAs may receive a maximum of four years of funding. The fellowship may include tuition and/or stipend benefits.

PhD students are urged to seek outside support for their studie. In the annual review process, applications for outside support will be treated as one sign of a student's seriousness of purpose.

Students receiving fellowship awards will be carefully evaluated by the PhD Committee on the basis of performance in class, satisfaction of degree requirements, and a written evaluation from the student’s PhD advisor at the end of each academic year to determine if the financial award will be renewed.
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Prior to Graduating


Research Methodology
All PhD students are required to take for credit and pass the following two courses in research methodology:
  • Theories and Methods of Qualitative Political Research
  • Quantitative Methods of Political Research


International Economics
Students must demonstrate competence in the field of International Economics. MA degree recipients will be accepted as having met the economics requirement. Non-MA students must:
  • Pass the written comprehensive exam in International Economics as one of the three comprehensive exams. Pass a one-hour oral exam equivalent to the MA Oral Exam in economics and the student's main field of study after passing Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, International Trade Theory and International Monetary Theory.
If a student has a strong background, he/she may request to take the waiver exam.


Language
All PhD students must demonstrate competence either in two foreign languages or in one foreign language and quantitative methods of analysis.


Comprehensive Exams
Students must pass three comprehensive examinations, including one in their areas of study and two additional comprehensive exams. The examination areas are as follows:
  • American Foreign Policy
  • Comparative Politics
  • International Development
  • International Economics
  • International Political Economy
  • International Relations
  • Political and Economic Theory
  • One of the Regional Studies Programs.

Dissertation
All students will prepare a written dissertation prospectus no later than six months after passing the last comprehensive exam and present the prospectus in a defense before their dissertation committee.

Students will have a period of five years beginning at the date of the first written comprehensive exam to conduct the research for, write and defend the dissertation. In fields with exceptionally difficult languages, the process may take longer.

Student Body
Total Students
  • Washington, DC: 49
Nationality
  • US Students: 61%
  • Non-US Students: 39%
Gender
  • Male: 50%
  • Female: 50%

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Who can I contact for more information about pursuing the PhD?

 

Requests for general information about the PhD program should be directed to saisphdprogram@jhu.edu. Students desiring additional information about a particular PhD field should contact the relevant field director or program coordinator, but can use the e-mail address above for additional guidance.

 

For Admissions, please see below:

Office of Admissions
The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies
The Johns Hopkins University
1740 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20036
+1.202.663.5700
+1.877.JHU.WASH (U.S. toll free)
admissions.sais@jhu.edu

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