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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies



What will I learn?

The RSIS PhD Programme is a rigorous research-led programme of study that allows students to explore their subject of interest in detail under the guidance of reputable faculty. Research areas ranging from Strategic Studies, International Relations to International Political Economy. This programme is suited for professionals who are looking to advance their level of expertise for further career development.


The RSIS PhD programme commenced in 2003 and about 25 candidates are presently undergoing doctoral research. The objectives are three-fold:

  • Provision of high level quantitative and qualitative skills to enable students to undertake advanced PhD programmes
  • Application of these skills to support policy-oriented research of practical relevance
  • Creation of opportunities for students to make an original contribution to knowledge in International Political Economy, International Relations and Strategic Studies disciplines, facilitating their pursuit of academic or professional careers.


Students benefit from the reputation and acclaim of the RSIS PhD programme derived from its association with the School’s highly regarded think tank research activities and its well-received Masters programmes, as well as the reputation of Nanyang Technological University whose ranking has been rising consistently over the past decade, making it one of the leading universities in the world.

Degree Requirements

The degree requirements for the PhD Programme are as follows:

Pass two core PhD courses and two elective MSc courses (obtaining a minimum GPA of 2.5 in each course and a minimum TGPA of 3.5 overall)

Pass the confirmation exercise no later than 24 months from enrolment in the programme

The timeline applies to both full-time and part-time PhD students

Full-time students on a scholarship are required to pass their confirmation exercise within 18 months

Submit a final research thesis deemed satisfactory for examination by the Thesis Advisory Committee (no later than five years from the start of candidature for full-time students and seven years for part-time students)

Pass an oral examination (Viva) on the subject matter of the thesis

The research thesis (written in English) must contain original work or critical interpretation worthy of publication. The length of the thesis should not exceed 80,000 words (including footnotes but excluding appendices, bibliography, maps, charts, statistical tables, graphs, illustrations, etc.).

Career Advancement

RSIS doctoral graduates will be attractive to a wide array of professional and academic employers in the government and diplomatic fields, as well as in business and consultancy organisations, international agencies, such as the World Bank, the United Nations, the Asian Development Bank, and Universities, both in a research and teaching capacity.

Which department am I in?

S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies

Study options

Full Time (Minimum 2 years; Maximum 5 years)

Tuition fees
SG$16,700.00 (10,28,325) per year
This fee is for International students (with Service Obligation)
Start date

Expected March, July, November 2023


S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies

Nanyang Technological University,

Block S4, Level B3, 50 Nanyang Avenue,

639798, Singapore

Entry requirements

For international students

A Bachelor’s degree with honours from a Singapore university or overseas equivalent

Standardised Test Scores: test scores for TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) must be submitted by all applicants except those with undergraduate degrees from universities where English was the medium of instruction. A TOEFL Test Score of minimum 600 (paper-based), 250 (computer-based) or 100 (internet-based) or a IELTS score of minimum 7.0. are required. Test dates must be within two years or less from the date of your application.

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


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