The PhD program in Political Science - International Relations Track at Central European University (CEU) is one of the largest, most international and most competitive doctoral programs in Europe, providing aspiring scholars with the theoretical and methodological skills needed to challenge and shape what we know about politics, public policy and governance.
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The PhD program in Political Science - International Relations Track at Central European University (CEU)  prepares students for careers in research and university-level teaching. Students explore areas such as comparative politics, political and international relations theory, international security and international political economy. 

Run by CEU’s Doctoral School of Political Science, Public Policy and International Relations, the International Relations track provides students with a variety of methodological tools and a deep grounding in disciplinary concepts and theories in order to enable them to both explain and understand the material and textual, social and technical factors that account for continuity and change in world politics.

Research Opportunity

In the first year of the program, students on the track are required to take both mandatory and elective courses. The courses are designed to provide students with the necessary disciplinary and sub-disciplinary foundations together with extensive training in Social Science methods. On the International Relations track, a concentration on International Relations Theory is supplemented by specific concentrations on the two major sub-fields of Security Studies and International Political Economy. The aim of the track is to enable students to both understand and explain material (economic and military) as well as ideational factors that account for continuity and change in the international political system. 

At the end of the first year, following the passing of the Comprehensive Examination and the successful defense of the PhD Prospectus, students progress into the research stage of their work. During this period of time, students are supported by a primary supervisor together with a supervision panel. The supervisor and the panel guide and oversee the work of the student right through to the defense of their thesis. In addition, institutional funds are available for both conference travel and required elements of fieldwork.

Career path

Students graduating from the International Relations track are extremely well placed to successfully pursue academic careers both inside and outside of the Central and East European region. Not only can graduates in this way expect to be sought for research and teaching opportunities at leading academic institutions, but are also expected to progress to advanced academic and policy-oriented management positions in international, national, governmental and non-governmental institutions and initiatives.


  • Program approved and registered by the New York State Education Department
  • Program registered as a non-degree post-graduate specialization program by the Hungarian Educational Authority (HEA)
  • Program accredited by the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria (AQ-Austria)

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 36 months
    • Duration description

      3-6 years

  • Credits
    US credits: 24 alternative credits
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

Courses include:

  • International Relations Theory
  • International Security
  • International Political Economy
  • Constituent Power
  • Democratic Theory
  • Domestic Politics in the Global Economy
  • Globalization and Inequality
  • Methods and Research Design
  • Modern Political Thought
  • Political Institutions
  • Political Sociology and Political Economy
  • Research in Regional Integration and Global Governance

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120.

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL®PBT is administered in a paper format and measures your ability to use and understand English in a classroom setting at the college or university level. It accurately measures how well you can listen, read and write in English while performing academic tasks.

  • Minimum required score:


    PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English Academic) is a language test that enables students to demonstrate their writing, listening, speaking, and reading skills when applying to study in English. Delivered and marked by computer, it reports on a scale between 10 and 90.

Academic Requirements

  • This programme does not recognise GRE® scores.

    The GRE® General Test is a widely administered admissions test that measures the skills needed in today's graduate and business school programs worldwide. The GRE® General Test contains three sections - Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. Three scores are reported: a Verbal Reasoning score on a 130 - 170 score scale in one-point increments, a Quantitative Reasoning score on a 130 - 170 score scale in one-point increments, and an Analytical Writing score on a 0 - 6 score scale in half-point increments.

General Requirements

  • Completed online application form:
  • Proof of English proficiency
  • Letters of recommendation
  • CV
  • Master’s degree
  • Academic records
  • Research proposal
  • Statement of purpose
  • Outline of master’s thesis or other substantial academic work

Tuition Fee

Candidates who apply by February 1, 2021 are automatically considered for CEU Doctoral Scholarship that includes a full tuition waiver and a monthly stipend.

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Living costs for Vienna

  • 861 - 1340 EUR/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


In pursuit of its mission, CEU strives to attract world-class graduate talent from all over the world, offering generous scholarships available to students from any country. Doctoral scholarships include a full tuition waiver and a monthly stipend for living expenses. Learn more at

Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

Political Science - International Relations Track
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