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University of Pittsburgh    
2022-2023 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
    
 
  Jun 15, 2024
 
2022-2023 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Public and International Affairs, PhD


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Whether you want to teach, conduct research, or work in a policy environment, our Ph.D. program will equip you with the skills, tools, and knowledge to succeed in highly competitive environments such as leading universities, government agencies, and nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations around the world.

To apply to the PhD program, you must have a bachelor’s degree. Before undertaking doctoral study, it’s beneficial, but not mandatory, to have a master’s degree in public and international affairs or in one of the social sciences. Once you’re accepted, you must complete 67 hours of coursework and a six-credit dissertation. If you have earned a master’s degree, you may be able to transfer 30 credits.

  • We’ve designed our doctoral studies program to ensure a high-quality education that also expedites your time to degree. To do so, we’ve implemented the following procedures:
  • We limit the number of students we admit to ensure that virtually all admitted students will receive at least four years of financial support, contingent on their academic performance.
  • We review student progress annually, offering constructive feedback to students about their progress and providing an appropriate strategy for completing the program.  
  • We streamline and clarify the comprehensive exam format to expedite the completion of this requirement, so that students can move on to preparing their dissertation proposals.  
  • We develop strong partnerships with other academic units in the University of Pittsburgh to collaborate in offering a wider range of doctoral courses.

Requirements


PhD program requires the completion of 67 credits of course work and 6 credits for the dissertation for a total of 73 credits. The curriculum for doctoral students is outlined as follows:

Electives: 48 credits (including transfer credits)


Note that students can transfer up to 30 credits from a relevant master’s program (and up to 36 for a graduate from GSPIA). Students would use electives to fill remaining credits.

PIA 3099 Dissertation: 6 credits


Students must be admitted to candidacy and must be writing their dissertation to be eligible to register for PIA 3099 Disseration.  Six (6) credits of PIA 3099 Disseration are required to graduate.

Minimum Required Credits: 73 credits


Students must complete 67 credits of course work, excluding the 6 dissertation credits, with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Students must meet this requirement in order to qualify for final approval of their comprehensive examinations.  Students are required to maintain full-time status while completing the 67 credits of coursework.

Doctoral Milestones


1. Comprehensive Exam requirement: After the end of the final semester of coursework (typically May following 2nd year of program), students take a comprehensive exam.

2. Second Year paper requirement: In the first month of the semester following the completion of coursework (typically the Fall semester of the 3rd year), students submit a completed draft of a second year paper to two faculty readers and is then presented orally to those readers in a presentation open to attendance from others within a month of submission. The second year paper is a standalone piece of research. It is not required to be part of the dissertation.

3. Defense of a Dissertation Proposal: Students orally present their dissertation proposal to a dissertation committee after a committee review of the dissertation proposal.

4. Final Dissertation Defense and electronic submission of dissertation: Students orally present their dissertation proposal to a dissertation committee after a committee review of the dissertation proposal. After approval of the dissertation all candidates are required to publish the document electronically via d-scholarship.

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