Best Online PhD in International Relations

Getting an online PhD in international relations is an excellent option for students who want to avoid moving to another location while continuing to fulfill their personal and professional obligations.

If you want to hone your international relations knowledge for career advancements or personal fulfillment, you can get a Ph.D. without leaving the comfort of your own home. An online PhD in international relations can help you achieve multiple goals. But only if you choose the right educational institution for your needs.

Let’s take a closer look at choosing the best program for getting a Ph.D. in international relations online.

What Is a Ph.D. in International Relations?

A Ph.D. in International Relations is an advanced academic degree that focuses on global politics, diplomacy, international law, and foreign policy.

This rigorous program gives students a deep understanding of complex international issues. It prepares them for careers in:

  • Academia
  • Research
  • Government
  • International businesses

With opportunities for getting online education increasing, pursuing a Ph.D. in international relations is becoming more accessible. It provides students with the flexibility to balance their studies with other responsibilities.

Benefits of Obtaining a Ph.D. in International Relations

A Ph.D. is a serious commitment. It requires several years of studies that, even if done online, can interfere with your everyday activities. Meanwhile, the main benefits of obtaining a Ph.D. in international relations include:

Expertise and Specialization

A Ph.D. in international relations allows students to gain knowledge about specific areas of global affairs. The program explores various disciplines, including:

  • Political science
  • Economics
  • Sociology
  • History
  • Law

It allows students to develop a comprehensive understanding of the way global systems are interconnected. This in-depth knowledge opens doors to influential positions across multiple niches.

Research and Analytical Skills

The Ph.D. program focuses on research and development of analytical skills. Students learn to critically analyze complex international issues and conduct in-depth research. While studying, they also start contributing to the existing body of knowledge.

While getting your Ph.D., you will learn advanced research methodologies, data analysis techniques, and critical thinking.

Networking and Collaboration

Pursuing a degree in international relations provides numerous chances for networking. It creates opportunities for collaboration with renowned scholars, experts, and fellow students from around the world.

Distance learning platforms offer virtual classrooms, discussion forums, and collaborative projects. Schools try to foster an environment of intellectual exchange. They also focus on the formation of global professional networks. These connections can prove invaluable for future research collaborations and career opportunities while shaping the direction of your academic pursuits.

Career Advancement

A doctorate degree in international relations significantly enhances occupation prospects in various fields.

Graduates can follow careers as professors, researchers, or administrators in renowned universities. Additionally, the degree can help you find positions in government agencies, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The expertise you gain while getting this Ph.D. allows you to navigate the complex landscape of international relations and contribute to global diplomacy.

The availability of online PhD programs has revolutionized higher education, making advanced degrees more accessible. Distance learning programs offer numerous advantages, including flexibility, cost-savings, accessibility, and even networking.

By getting a degree in international relations online, you don’t just get the education you hope for. You can get it from the school of your choice without worrying about the distance.

Careers You Can Follow After Getting an Online PhD in International Relations

Earning a Ph.D. in international relations online opens up a wide range of exciting career opportunities. Here are several career paths you can consider after completing your Ph.D. studies.


With a Ph.D. in international relations, you can follow a professional path as a professor or researcher in esteemed universities and research institutions. As a professor, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Teach and mentor students
  • Conduct research
  • Publish scholarly articles
  • Contribute to the local and global academic communities

Additionally, you can engage in interdisciplinary research projects and collaborate with colleagues worldwide.


With an online PhD in international relations, you can consider a career as a diplomat or foreign service officer. In this role, you will:

  • Represent your country’s interests abroad
  • Negotiate treaties and agreements
  • Engage in diplomatic efforts to resolve conflicts

Your deep knowledge of international relations and expertise in specific areas will be invaluable in advancing your country’s foreign policy objectives.

Policy Analyst

As a policy analyst, you can work for government agencies, think tanks, or research organizations. In this role, you will conduct in-depth research, analyze policy issues, and provide recommendations to shape foreign policies. Your expertise in international relations will be instrumental in evaluating geopolitical risks and developing strategies to address global challenges.

International Development Specialist

In this role, you will work for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international aid agencies, or multilateral institutions. You will design and implement development projects and assess the socio-economic impact of policies. You will also collaborate with local communities to address issues such as poverty, education, and healthcare.

Intelligence Analyst

With your specialized knowledge in international relations, you can follow a professional journey as an intelligence analyst for government agencies or private intelligence firms.

In this role, you will analyze information related to global security threats, political developments, and emerging trends. You will leverage your expertise to provide accurate assessments and support decision-making processes.

Consultant in International Business

Many multinational corporations value individuals with a Ph.D. in international relations for their expertise in global politics, economics, and cultural dynamics. As a consultant, you will be able to help businesses:

  • Navigate complex regulatory environments
  • Understand geopolitical risks
  • Prepare for specific economic changes

You will help clients develop effective international business strategies and establish essential partnerships.

Foreign Correspondent

An online PhD in international relations can pave the way for an occupation in journalism. With this degree, you can become a foreign correspondent.

With your deep understanding of global affairs and critical analysis skills, you can report on international events, analyze geopolitical developments, and provide in-depth coverage of multiple issues. Your expertise will contribute to promoting a better understanding of global dynamics.

Things to Consider When Choosing an Online PhD in International Relations Program

Selecting the right online PhD in international relations program may not be easy. As the demand for flexible and accessible education grows, so does the supply. Not all programs may be suitable for your educational and career goals. Here are a few things to check before applying.


While pursuing an online PhD program, you still need to consider the location of the university. Some programs may require occasional on-campus visits.

For example, you may need to attend seminars and workshops or defend your dissertation in person. Figure out if you are comfortable with potential travel requirements and consider the costs that could come with them.


The school’s accreditation is key to ensuring the quality and recognition of your degree. Verify if the online PhD in international relations is accredited by a reputable body.

If your school is properly accredited, it means that the program meets certain academic standards and enhances the value of your degree in the job market.

Alumni Satisfaction

Research the satisfaction levels of alumni who have completed the program. Alumni satisfaction provides insights into the program’s quality, curriculum, faculty, and overall experience. Seek feedback from former students through online forums, social media groups, or professional networks.

Time to Complete the Program

Consider the average time required to complete the online PhD program of your choice. Evaluate your personal commitments and determine if the program’s duration aligns with your availability.

Some doctoral degree programs offer accelerated options, while others may require a more extended time commitment. Choose a program that suits your schedule. Keep in mind that some schools could dismiss you from the program if you don’t finish it within a set amount of time.

Admissions Requirements

Review the admissions requirements for the online PhD program. Check if you meet the prerequisites, such as:

  • Academic qualifications
  • Relevant work experience
  • Language proficiency

Additionally, consider the competitiveness of the program to evaluate your chances of being admitted.

Remember that even if you don’t meet all the admissions requirements, many schools may still accept you if you provide proof of experience in the field. Check with the admissions team to find out what additional documents they may need.

Networking Opportunities

Look for programs that offer virtual networking events, alumni networks, and connections with industry professionals. These opportunities can enhance your career prospects and foster useful collaborations.


The expertise and qualifications of the faculty members play a significant role in the quality of your education. Research the faculty profiles of the online PhD program of your choice.

Look for faculty members who are renowned experts in their fields, actively engaged in research, and have relevant industry experience.

Online vs. Recorded Lectures

Evaluate the mode of instruction in the online PhD program. Determine whether the program offers live online lectures or recorded lectures that can be accessed at your convenience.

Choose a program that aligns with your learning style. If you are highly organized, you can opt for the recorded lecture format. However, for some people, online real-time lectures may be more comfortable.


The final factor to consider is the cost. It includes tuition fees, technology fees, and additional expenses. Compare the costs of different programs to and explore financial aid options. Schools that offer distance learning programs can also offer scholarships for online PhD students.

Top Online PhD Programs in International Relations

While not many universities offer online PhD programs, you can still find several excellent options. Some of them are:

Euclid University

Located in Washington, DC, Euclid University offers its students an online Ph.D. in Diplomacy and International Affairs (DDIA). This is the only program that’s arranged by the international governmental organizations. It’s used by active diplomats across four continents.

Admissions requirements include:

  • Master’s degree or an international equivalent from an accredited institution from the UNESCO-IAU handbook.
  • Fluent spoken and written English

You need to be ready to dedicate at least 10 hours of study weekly.

The school is accredited by the National Accreditation and Quality Assurance Authority (NAQAA).

University of Birmingham

Located in Birmingham, UK, the University of Birmingham offers a part-time doctoral program in political science and international relations.

Students of this university gain an opportunity to conduct original research with the assistance of renowned academic supervisors and create an 80,000-word thesis. This university is one of the largest schools of government in the UK. A Ph.D. from this university can open up multiple career opportunities.

Admissions requirements include:

  • Master’s degree or the equivalent
  • English proficiency test results for students who aren’t native English speakers
  • Research proposal.

The university is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Salve Regina University

Located in Newport, RI, Salve Regina University offers a strong online doctorate program in international relations. Students of this program master a variety of skills related to political philosophy, nationalism, ethics in international affairs, and many more. The course of studies includes Latin American politics, Russian foreign affairs, and American foreign policy.

Admissions requirements include:

  • Master’s degree
  • Official graduate and undergraduate transcripts from all attended higher education institutions
  • Personal statement
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Resume or CV

The school is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Starting Your Online PhD Journey

If you’ve decided to get an online PhD in international relations, you have an exciting journey ahead of you. The online format allows you to juggle personal responsibilities with educational commitments. By choosing the most suitable program for your needs, you can achieve your study goals and advance your career.