Doctorate in International Relations

The objective of this PhD is to allow developing new knowledge in the field of international relations.


This PhD programme prepares graduates for a career in research or for senior position in think tanks and other research institutions. This is done through the work required to write and defend a dissertation as the end point of a three (3) or a five (5) years part-time programme in which you will have acquired and contributed to theoretical knowledge.


The programme is constructed along six seminars during the first year and two years of individual research under the guidance of a director. Three of the seminars cover quantitative and qualitative research while the remaining three are centred around major contemporary topics in international relations.


Training will be centred on the deepening of theoretical and analytical knowledge, the development of a critical vision and the integration of a work team. The professors and the research team of each department will guide the students.


During the first year, candidates submit a research proposal that clearly delineates the subject of the dissertation, the hypotheses made and the methodology that will be used. A Doctoral committee will evaluate the merit of the proposal and give feedback to the student by either accepting it, asking for changes, or rejecting it.


The dissertation may be in a single work or through a number of articles published in peer-reviewed journals.


In both cases, an oral defense will take place in front of a jury and is open to the public. A grade is issued and appears on the diploma.


Full guidelines are available in a separate document.

Research Fields:

In line with the qualifications and competencies of the professors teaching at UMEF, the following research fields are currently open:​

  • Peace and conflict

  • Climate change and diplomacy

  • Development of land-locked countries

  • Diplomatic negotiations

  • The role of energy in international relations

  • European development strategies

The subjects proposed to the doctoral students are those on which our research centre SARCEO works actively. Other subjects can be considered by the management of the Academic Department.

Duration of the Studies:

The duration of the studies varies from three years for full time students to five years for those studying part-time. The duration of the studies may not exceed 10 semesters, unless in case of an exception granted by the Doctoral School or Swiss UMEF University’ senior management.

Key Points:​

  • Organiser: School of Diplomacy 

  • Duration of the programme: Three (3) years or five (5) years part-time

  • Faculty: International 

  • Teaching methods: Workshops, conferences, debates, case studies, symposia, and presentations

  • Teaching language: English, French or bilingual

  • Degree earned: Doctorate in International Relations (PhD)

  • Degree granted: By SWISS UMEF UNIVERSITY

  • Campus: Château d’Aïre, Geneva – Switzerland