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Which Security Studies, Political Science, or International Relations PhD?


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Curious to hear what PhD programs you all would recommend for security/conflict studies, whether a dedicated security program or a specialized track within a political science or international relations PhD.

More specifically, I'm wondering if any out there actually give funding for their programs.  It's not hard to find options like King's College London, IHEID, and Georgetown, great schools that meet my academic interests perfectly, but funding from these universities is extremely rare to my understanding and financially I don't think an unfunded PhD makes much sense.  The joint PhD from King's and either HKU or NUS has it's own scholarship available, but there's no information online as to whether it's given to most/all accepted students or something more competitive.  IHEID would be fantastic due to housing the Small Arms Survey team, but funding information is a bit vague.

Princeton's SPIA is fully funded, but seems as if it's a early/mid-career type program based on the work experience admissions stats (50% 5+ years, 43% 2-5 years, 7% none).  

Others like Johns Hopkins' SAIS and Harvard's HKS are funded, but unfortunately due to how my undergraduate track has progressed (UNC's Peace, War, and Defense program) I'll end up with no calculus and limited statistics/economics which I believe would make me ineligible for admission. 

I've heard decent things about MIT's program online but little mention from professors.  That's likely to blame on my focus so far being master's programs, of which the aforementioned schools are widely known for in the security/conflict field where as MIT is a non-option.  Unlike SAIS and HKS, it seems MIT has no undergraduate course requirements, so that's a positive.  Yale similarly appears great from what I've read online, again no mention from professors but also no undergraduate course requirements to my understanding (except language I guess).

General interests are in ethnic and civil conflict, post-conflict development, small arms and light weapons, and the role of violent non-state actors.  Broad umbrella, I know.  

Any clue as to where I should be looking?  

Crossposting in the poli sci forum as well.


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I apologize that I can't actually contribute the answer you're looking for (hopefully someone on this forum can provide some useful information for you), but I just wanted to highly recommend that if you're thinking of going into a social science research PhD, gaining some quant background with some calculus, statistics and econometrics courses can only help you. Even if you go on to be a more qualitative researcher, you may do yourself a disservice (and limit your options) by not getting at least a bit of quant background, maybe through taking an extra community college class or an online course if those options are available to you.

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