The Politics and International Relations Program aims to contribute to the Institute's key objective of producing competent academics through equipping students with the learning tools and knowledge that will enable them to be accomplished political scientists of the highest calibre. It seeks to achieve this through political science methodological training to the highest international standards, and providing students with the knowledge and skills to become independent researchers capable of original contributions in various fields of Political Science. In this regard, the curriculum does not only match curricula in the mostly highly regarded universities internationally, but also incorporates a unique dimension featuring Arab contributions and concerns. Additionally, the approach to teaching and learning embodies the Institute's goal of integrating research into teaching and learning in two ways: first, by featuring a teaching team of internationally recognised active researchers, who are encouraged to maintain and enhance their research output; and, second, by adopting interactive and participatory teaching methods that actively encourage students to engage in original research. The program also takes seriously the Institute's emphasis on inter-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary methodology. In this regard, it is not content with the courses all students access as interlocution to methodologies in the Social Sciences and the Humanities, but also provides courses which embody interdisciplinary approaches. It makes these courses available as electives to students from other programs, and also encourages its students to take electives from other programs when this is deemed conducive to enhancing their specialization.

The program is designed to deepen students' understanding of contemporary political science and enhance their methodological competence and learning skills in this field. By engaging with major debates in contemporary political thought, students will develop analytical and critical thinking, and acquire advanced research and writing skills. By the end of the course, students will be critically aware of the core issues and rival positions in contemporary political thought, and able to show evidence of critical-analytical skills in applying theories to modern Arab and Middle Eastern politics. The unique training provided by the program should additionally encourage students to challenge and improve accepted international approaches with reference to Arab experiences, using their own research and perspectives on the issues. The resulting sound theoretical grounding and practical training will qualify students to become competent postgraduate-level researchers in the fields of Comparative Politics and International Relations. 

Program Structure

A. Program Requirements: 

1 - Core Courses (24 Credit Hours): 

  • - POL611 Research Methodologies in Political Science.

    - POL 612 Political Science and Arabs Seminar.

    - POL 613 Comparative Politics Seminar.

    - POL 614 International Relations Seminar.

    - POL 615 Politics in the Middle East.

    - POL 616 Theories of Democratic Governance.

    - POL 617 International Organizations.

    - POL 618 Critical Issues in Political Theory.

3- Specialized English Language Course (non- credit):

The School may offer a number of non-credit bearing courses, which must be taken as a condition for graduation when required by the relevant program. Students must successfully pass the assignment for each course as a condition for graduation. These courses will also appear on the student's transcript but will not contribute to the student's GPA.


B. School Requirements:

1- Cross - Disciplinary Course (3 Credit Hours): 

All SOSH students must successfully complete one core compulsory course offered at the School level as a cross-disciplinary introduction to the study of the social sciences and humanities.


2 -Two Interdisciplinary Courses (6 Credit Hours): 

Each program allows students to enroll in courses of special interest, and of a cross-disciplinary nature, which are offered jointly with one or more other programs. Courses offered as interdisciplinary courses may vary and are dependent on faculty availability, student demand and registration capacity.

All students will choose two courses of 3 credits each from the list of interdisciplinary courses. Please visit the "Interdisciplinarity at SOSH" page for more details about these courses and their descriptions.


3 - Non-restricted Elective (3 Credit Hours): 

Students may choose one course of 3 credits from any program in any of the Schools/centers in the Doha Institute (including SPADE and CHS). Students may choose their free elective from the courses offered by the Politics and International Relations Program below, which are offered on a rotating basis:

C. Dissertation (6 Credit Hours) 

In consultation with an academic supervisor, the student will choose a dissertation topic and program of research. The student will submit a dissertation of 12,000 – 18,000 words at the end of the second academic year, but discussions about the topic begin during the first year. The coordinator of the course will organize regular sessions for students to discuss research methodologies and choose a research topic. Students will be expected to write a summary research proposal, incorporating the main assumptions to be tested, choose a research methodology and write a summary on what the dissertation will contribute to present literature, based on a critical view of existing writings on the subject. The coordinator will then chooses a supervisor who follows up with the student until completing the dissertation.

The dissertation examination consists of two parts; a marked assessment of the dissertation by two examiners and an oral defense in front of an examination panel comprised of the same two examiners.