The Korbel doctoral program provides an interdisciplinary curriculum to prepare for research and educator training on global interactions. Students explore issues of sustainable development, peace and security, global economic trends, and international human rights, and work toward solutions to some of the world's most pressing questions. While we offer extensive training in conventional fields of politics, economics and society, much of your work in this PhD program is conducted outside of the classroom, with faculty mentorship.
Close mentorship from faculty ensures your time at Korbel is enriching and career-specific, regardless of whether your career development is aimed at teaching at the collegiate level or in research, government or nonprofit organizations. In recent years, our doctoral graduates have gone on to teach and research at leading universities in the U.S. and abroad and pursue non-academic careers at the Ford Foundation, Carter Center, American Red Cross, RAND, and the U.S. government.
Opportunities at Korbel
The Josef Korbel School is home to many research centers that add depth to the school's commitment to integrating teaching, research and practical problem-solving.
Areas of Study
The Josef Korbel School of International Studies doctoral program provides an advanced learning environment centered on research on the world’s most pressing global challenges and opportunities, with a central focus on four themes in contemporary international studies: sustainable human development, global governance of economic and environmental interactions, human rights issues, and the management of conflict without violence.
The doctoral program research colloquium is offered each fall term. You must take two research colloquium courses.
International Studies Core
These four courses include:
- INTS 4324 International Political Economy
- INTS 4501 Governance, Development and Peace in the 21st Century
- INTS 4900 International Politics
- INTS 4301 Introduction to Political Theory
- INTS 4822 Contemporary Political Theory
To specialize your coursework, we allow you to choose two fields and take five courses in each. Specialization options include:
- International Relations: Global Interactions and Economic Governance
- Comparative Politics: States and Societies in Global Perspective
- Contemporary Political Theory
Written + Oral Exams
A student advances to PhD candidacy after passing the written and oral comprehensive and after successful completion of an accepted dissertation prospectus. Students will take written and oral comprehensive exams in two of the three fields.
Doctoral students at the Korbel School take the following courses:
- INTS 4500 Social Science Methods
- INTS 4010 Epistemology or INTS 4522 Philosophy of Social Science
Methodology training beyond these required courses is a matter of individual needs and interests, and you should consult your advisor or potential dissertation committee chair and members about available options. Support is typically available to fund students for advanced methodological training outside of DU.
Non-native Language Proficiency
The Korbel doctoral program encourages a multi-lingual environment. Furthermore, knowledge of a non-native language increases understanding across cultural divides beyond the actual language-learning process, which is invaluable insight when dealing with international affairs.
You're free to choose among the full range of graduate-level courses offered at the Korbel School in development, human rights, political economy, governance, and international peace and security. Courses may also be taken outside Korbel.
Extended Research Paper
The extended research paper is a required step to prepare students for demonstrated capacity in independent research and writing. Ideally, your extended research paper allows you to work toward research-oriented publication while pursuing your degree. INTS 4327 is an advanced doctoral program seminar designed to afford students a forum and opportunity for crafting and refining the extended research paper.
Thesis Dissertation and Defense
Upon completing your thesis, you will defend your dissertation before a faculty panel, defending your work from critique and highlighting the strengths of your writing and research abilities.
Studying: Contentious Politics, Repression and Dissent, Formal Models, Civil Resistance
Dogus Aktan focuses on using formal theory to parse out different mechanisms through which mass movements and political violence work, with a goal to develop links between theory and empirics. Put differently, Dogus is interested in how social movements and governments achieve their goals when pursuing contentious action or violence.
Studying: Policing, Protest, and Conflict.Louis Pascarella is a PhD candidate and research assistant at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. His research focuses on policing, protest, state repression, and state-society relations. Louis possesses extensive research experience in many diverse areas, with experience in qualitative and quantitative methodologies.
Studying: Political Economy of Sovereign Wealth Funds
Sevde is a first-year Ph.D. student at Josef Korbel. She obtained her BA and MA degrees in International Relations at Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey. Her master’s thesis looks at Turkey’s Sovereign Wealth Fund and its implications on state-business relations in Turkey. Sevde works as a Teaching Assistant for various undergraduate classes at Korbel, including the Contemporary Issues in Global Economy course.