Master of Philosophy / Doctor of Philosophy in International Relations


Applications are invited from suitably qualified persons for admission to the M.Phil. and Ph.D. Degrees in International Relations for the current academic year. Applications for admission to the M.Phil. programme must be made online at the Graduate Studies website at


The M.Phil. Degree in International Relations is a research degree, where students are required to do six (6) credits of coursework during the initial stages. Candidates will normally be required to have obtained an honours degree of good standing in a related field of study and a Master's Degree in International Relations or its equivalent. Candidates must also demonstrate to the IIR their competence to conduct research in the field of International Relations and in the specific area proposed for their theses. Candidates are required to make TWO (2) seminar presentations based on the topic for the thesis. All applicants for admission into the Ph.D. will normally be registered initially for the M.Phil. Degree. Candidates registered for the M.Phil. may be permitted to transfer their registration to the Ph.D. by The School for Graduate Studies and Research, if the Institute so recommends.

Transfer of registration to the Ph.D. Degree will be initiated by the candidate’s Supervisor based on an assessment of the scope, depth and the originality of the research in progress. Such recommendations will not normally be made before the beginning of the second year of registration. Recommendations for transfer of registration will be assessed by a Review Committee appointed by the School for Graduate Studies and Research for that purpose. The Review Committee will also take into account the quality of a substantial paper presented at an upgrade seminar. If the recommendation to transfer is approved by Graduate Studies, the candidate’s registration for the M.Phil. will be terminated and the Ph.D. registration will be dated from the date of the initial registration of the M.Phil. degree. Regulations require that candidates present THREE (3) public Seminars.

Candidates for the M.Phil. are normally required to submit their theses for examination within 3 years of their initial registration for full-time studies or within 5 years of their initial registration for part-time studies.

Candidates for the Ph.D. are normally required to submit their theses for examination within 5 years of their initial registration for full-time studies or within 7 years of their initial registration for part-time studies.


All applicants for either MPhil or the PhD in International Relations programme register as MPhil students and are then upgraded to PhD students depending on their performance at the MPhil level. There are four factors considered by the examiners during the upgrade process:
  • Has the student made sufficient progress to warrant an upgrade? This is usually evidenced by  a thorough research proposal, an extensive literature review, a well-founded and incisive conceptual framework, and potentially - but not necessarily - some initial empirical research findings.
  • Does the research have the potential to make an original contribution to knowledge redolent of a PhD? Is it likely to be good enough to meet international standards of research in the field?
  • Is the methodological agenda that is proposed by the student plausible? Is the research practically achievable, and are the available resources, particularly in terms of access to empirical data, accessible within the proposed timeframe?
  • Does the student have the intellectual and organisational capability to complete the PhD to an acceptable standard, and is there a viable plan in place for doing so?
Students who do not perform an upgrade will proceed to complete the MPhil programme. For more information, please refer to the UWI handbook on research degree regularities. 


Despite its relatively small size, the expertise of the academic staft at the Institute of International Relations covers a very wide range of topics, ensuring access to rich networks for research in these areas. Some of these areas include:

  • Caribbean Studies 
  • Civil Society
  • Latin American Regionalism 
  • Small States; Small Island Developing States (SIDS)
  • Global Political Economy
  • Cuban Studies; Cuba-Caribbean Relations
  • Cultural and Creative Industries
  • Democracy
  • Development: International; Sustainable  
  • Environment
  • Global Governance
  • Immigration
  • International Law
  • International Money and Finance
  • International Trade
  • International Organizations
  • Peace and Security
  • The African, Caribbean and Pacific group (ACP) and the European Union (EU)


PhD Awardees

For further information on the programme, the courses, and more, interested persons are advised to consult the Regulations for Master Of Philosophy/Doctor of Philosophy in International relations available here.
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