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International Relations

The Ph.D. in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations is designed primarily to train those interested in scholarly careers, though individuals with such a degree may also pursue work in more applied fields.

The primary focus of the study of International Relations is the relations among states and other entities in the international arena – their external, rather than internal, relations. The kinds of questions that IR theorists ask are: What goes on in global politics? What are the main components of security, political economy, foreign policy, and international organizations? What is globalization and how does it work? What are the influences that drive states (and other actors) in the international arena to behave the ways that they do? How do material factors (power, money, resources) and ideational factors (culture, gender, religion, theories, ideologies) influence how global politics functions? What is the relationship between states and non-state actors in global politics? Between the material and the ideational? How might we understand the “international” and/or the “global” in politics, and what are the similarities and the differences?

The field of IR in general faces two broad questions and debates. First, it faces the question of whether its subject matter is “international” politics (politics between states) or “global” politics (with a broader notion of the relevant actors and factors). Second, it faces the question of whether IR is a subfield of political science, appropriately understood within the discipline’s theoretical and methodological constraints, or interdisciplinary, appropriately encompassing not only political science, but geography, sociology, anthropology, history, and media studies.

The Department of Political Science at the University of Florida offers a comprehensive education in International Relations, and a unique and challenging list of courses. The faculty is committed to ontological, epistemological, and methodological pluralism, and seeks to train students in both a broad range of theories and a broach range of methods. Whatever theoretical approaches, empirical problems, and methodological tools interest our students, we help students match the right method with their research question. Our goal is to offer a comprehensive guide to the literature addressing both sides of the questions above, making students well-versed in the work in the field not only in the US but around the world.

At UF, our IR faculty’s research interests tend to fall on the sides of these debates seeing the subject matter of IR broadly, as “global,” and seeing the pursuit of IR knowledge as interdisciplinary, availing themselves of the tools of other disciplines as well as political science in their pursuit of understanding global politics. Many of the IR faculty at UF are interested in IR theory and its ties to political theory. Many of the IR faculty are also interested in the ways that discourse, policy, and international interaction overlap. Member of the IR faculty at UF are also interested in the influence of culture, gender, and religion on both global politics broadly and traditionally-understood subfields of IR like political economy and security. We teach IR both from the “canon” of the discipline and from critical perspectives, hoping to give students a well-rounded grounding in the field.

In their first semester, IR students entering the program are required to take the introductory seminary (INR 6607, International Relations Theory), as a gateway to other seminars. INR 6607 introduces students to the major theoretical traditions that have shaped the study of IR, historically, conceptually, and as they relate and argue. In subsequent semesters, students will choose a variety of survey courses and specialized seminars. The survey courses cover the traditional areas of IR: political economy, international organizations, international security, and foreign policy. Other seminars in national security policy, culture and IR, gender and IR, ethics and IR, international environmental politics, globalization, and advanced International Relations Theory supplement and enrich information gained in these classes.

First Field Requirements

Summary of First Field Requirements (5 courses for a total of 15 credits)

INR 6607: International Relations Theory

Four seminars:

Two IR survey seminars & Two IR electives

Field Examination

Written component: answer three questions in 72 hours

Oral defense: scheduled after written component

Comprehensive Exam Reading List

Exam-taking information and guide

Committee Selection

Following department guidelines, the exam committee will consist of the dissertation chair and two other members to be randomly drawn among available faculty in the field (i.e., those not on leave or sabbatical). One of the two other members may be chosen by the field chair to reflect substantive expertise where deemed necessary, and the field chair may also consider recusals of particular faculty on request.

Examination Questions

Section I: General question on international relations theory designed to test students’ knowledge of the literature in the field, ability to use the literature in constructing an analytically coherent argument, and ability to apply a critical perspective to the literature. The answer should be between 2,000 and 2,500 words in length, and double-spaced, excluding citations.

Section II: Focuses on the four sub-fields: international political economy, international security, foreign policy analysis, and international organizations. One question per sub-field will be on the exam, and students will be able to choose one among them. The answer should be between 2,000 and 2,500 words in length, and double-spaced, excluding citations.

Section III: The third question will relate to each student’s area of proposed dissertation research. Students must confirm this area with the International Relations Field Committee (e.g. via their advisor) at least two weeks prior to taking the exam. The answer should be between 2,000 and 2,500 words in length, and double-spaced, excluding citations.

Second Field Requirements

Summary of Second Field Requirements (3 courses for a total of 9 credits)

INR 6607: International Relations Theory

Two survey seminars

Field Examination

Written component: answer two questions in 48 hours

Oral defense: scheduled after written component

Comprehensive Exam Reading List

Exam-taking information and guide

Committee Selection

For second field exams, committee chair does not have to be student’s dissertation chair.  Following department guidelines, the exam committee will consist of one member chosen by the field chair to reflect a substantive expertise of the student, and two other members randomly drawn among available faculty in the field.

Examination Questions

Section I: General question on international relations theory designed to test students’ knowledge of the literature in the field, ability to use the literature in constructing an analytically coherent argument, and ability to apply a critical perspective to the literature. The answer should be between 2,000 and 2,500 words long, double-spaced, not including citations.

Section II: Focuses on the four sub-fields: international political economy, international security, foreign policy analysis, and international organization. One question per sub-field will be on the exam, and students will be able to choose one among them. The answer should be between 2,000 and 2,500 words long, double-spaced, not including citations.

Third Field Requirements (Legacy)

Summary of Third Field Requirements (2 courses for a total of 6 credits)

INR 6607: International Relations Theory & one survey seminar

Courses that Satisfy Field Requirements

INR 6607: International Relations Theory

Survey Courses:

INR 6039: International Political Economy

INR 6305: Politics of American Foreign Policy Making

INR 6337: Survey of International Security

INR 6507: International Organization

Elective Courses:

INR 6036: Globalization, Regionalism, and Governance

INR 6213: The Politics of the European Union

INR 6249: Inter-American Relations

INR 6532: International Environmental Relations

INR 6936: Seminar in Transnational/Global Studies

POS 6938: Culture and International Relations

POS 6933: Gender and International Relations

POS 6933: Ethics and IR

INR 6208: Advanced IR Theory