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What will I learn?

The Political Science and International Relations program and the USC Gould School of Law jointly offer a dual degree program leading to the JD/PhD degree. Applicants must apply to the Political Science and International Relations program and the law school and meet the requirements for admission to both. In addition to the LSAT, students interested in this program are required to take the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE).

In the first year students take their course work in the law school exclusively. To earn the JD, all students (including dual degree students) must complete 35 numerically graded law units at USC after the first year. The associate dean may make exceptions to this rule for students enrolled in law honors programs. The second and third years include a total of 40 units of courses in political science and international relations and 40 units of law. Students must complete a five-course core theory and methodology sequence. They must include a classics-oriented, two-semester political, social, comparative and international theory sequence (currently POSC 530 and IR 500), a multivariate statistics course (such as IR 514 or POSC 600) and a philosophies/methodologies in social inquiry course (IR 513 or POSC 500). Finally in their second, third or fourth year, they must take an approved advanced research methods course.

To obtain a PhD in Political Science and International Relations, students must pass the screening process. After the completion of required field course work with a grade of B or better, a substantive paper or USC MA thesis relevant to the program, students must take a PhD qualifying examination in two of their three fields of concentration. The third field will be completed by taking at least three courses and passing each with a grade of B or better. The final requirement, following successful completion of the qualifying examination, is a doctoral dissertation.

Which department am I in?

USC Gould School of Law

Study options

Full Time (4 years)

Tuition fees
USD $66,306 /year for Juris Doctor; USD $57,256 /year for PhD degree
Start date

Expected January, August 2023


University of Southern California

University Park Campus,



90089, United States

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Applicants must have a Bachelor degree earned at an institution recognized by the Ministry of Education.

For international students

Applicants must have earned the equivalent of a 4-year U.S. bachelor’s degree with a competitive GPA.

Applicants to doctor's programs who have attained an Internet Based TOEFL (iBT) score of 100, with no less than 20 on each sub-score; or an IELTS score of 7, with no less than 6 on each band score.

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


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