The PhD in International Conflict Management at Kennesaw State University (KSU) currently has students from around the world, creating a dynamic, yet intimate, educational environment. International Conflict Management is a field that currently has few opportunities for advanced training. This PhD program offers several key elements unavailable in most other doctoral programs in this field to top-quality, advanced graduate students. Each doctoral student, after completing the core courses, is given the flexibility to focus their studies in their desired area.


The PhD in International Conflict Management is one of only a few such programs available in North America. PhD students accepted into the program receive broad interdisciplinary training and opportunities that draw on an array of academic disciplines. Graduates will be able to address problems from a sophisticated knowledge base of substantive, theoretical, practical, and methodological approaches.

The core courses prepare them in key global competencies including:

  1. Intercultural dynamics of global conflict
  2. Economic conflict analysis
  3. International relations
  4. Conflict management theory

Methodological preparation is rigorous, including required and optional courses in quantitative and qualitative methods, research design, and international program and policy analysis and evaluation. The PhD program also requires graduates to obtain significant international experience and competency in a language other than English.


To become a leading PhD program preparing scholar-practitioners for the complex challenges of preventing, managing, and transforming international conflict.


This full-time, interdisciplinary, in-residence program is designed to meet the global demand for scholar-practitioners to address the complex array of international conflict and security challenges through the development and implementation of empirically based research, policy recommendations, and solutions. PhD in International Conflict Management graduates are prepared to compete for tenure-track university faculty appointments and a wide range of operational positions in government, non-governmental agencies, and the global business community.

Our students come from diverse backgrounds.

Program Objectives

INCM PhD offers several key elements unavailable in most other doctoral programs in this field to top quality graduate students:

  1. The interdisciplinary nature of the program provides graduates with broad training allowing them to integrate the latest research findings into theoretically rich, issue-relevant publications and reports.
  2. The rigorous methodological training prepares graduates to address global conflict issues using the latest and most effective quantitative and qualitative research methods.
  3. The international experience allows graduates to integrate theory and practice in their analysis of international conflict.
  4. Professional competency in a language other than English prepares students for the successful application of their skills in the global arena.
  5. The pedagogical training specific to the higher education context and their guided teaching experiences offers exceptional preparation for graduates interested in academic careers.
  6. Access to experienced faculty and close working relationships with professors facilitate collaborative research and timely completion of dissertations and the PhD degree.
  7. The diversity on campus (students from 142 countries currently study at KSU) and in the graduate program contributes to a broad understanding of global conflict issues.
  8. The strong links between KSU and the Atlanta metro region and its outstanding resources provide exemplary opportunities for collaboration beyond the campus.

PhD in International Conflict Management Course of Study

The PhD in International Conflict Management is comprised of a total of 75 credit hours. There are at least 60-course credits and up to 15 dissertation credits required. Eligible students can have up to 17 related credits transferred in from their Master’s degree, going towards to the 60 credits required.


PhD Candidacy

A PhD candidate is defined as a student who has completed the required PhD-level coursework and has met all additional program-related requirements except for the language requirement, dissertation thesis, and dissertation defense. This status is referred colloquially as ABD ("All But Dissertation").

Dissertation Committee

Before beginning the dissertation proposal seminar, each student selects a faculty member in the program who agrees or tentatively agrees to serve as his/her dissertation chair. Each student will then select his/her own dissertation committee in consultation with his/her dissertation chair.

The Dissertation Committee must have a minimum of three (and a maximum of five) faculty members, including the Chair. The interdisciplinary nature of this program suggests that dissertation committee members will likely come from different disciplines and, in some cases, from other colleges or institutions.

Faculty outside of the program may serve on a committee with the approval of the Committee Chair. Faculty outside KSU may also serve with the approval of the Committee Chair. However, participation by non-program faculty is limited to one member of the committee although exceptions can be granted. All KSU committee members must be graduate faculty. If a potential committee member does not have this status, he or she needs to petition the Graduate School to obtain it. Once the committee is selected, the student completes the Request for Approval of PhD Dissertation Committee form and obtains appropriate faculty signatures.

Dissertation Defense

All dissertation defenses are open to the public. Announcements about upcoming defenses are posted on the School of Conflict Management, Peacebuilding and Development website and in KSU publicity outlets at least two weeks prior to the defense.

Professional Language Competency

INCM PhD students must pass a foreign language exam or equivalent.

Scholarly languages, as well as field languages, are acceptable. The foreign language competence is usually demonstrated by passing the ACTFL OPI at the Intermediate HIGH level to meet the requirement of second language proficiency within the PhD in International Conflict Management program. This requirement should be completed by the time of graduation. Students considered a “native speaker” (an individual who completed secondary or tertiary education [high-school level or higher] within a specified language) are exempt from the ACTFL OPI requirement. Other forms of evidence of language competence may be presented to the Language Proficiency Committee for approval.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the PhD in International Conflict Management, applicants must complete the electronic Application for Graduate Admission with a non-refundable $60 application fee and submit the following supporting documents by the July 15 deadline to be considered for Spring semester or the March 1 deadline to be considered for Fall semester.

1. Transcripts

Submit official transcripts from all post-secondary educational institutions you attended. Please note that although unofficial transcripts may be uploaded online, you still need to have official transcripts.

Submitted transcripts from foreign institutions must be accompanied by an official evaluation. Transcripts may be evaluated by one of the following agencies. Evaluations must include course-by-course and a calculation of your GPA. The evaluation must come to us in a sealed envelope or electronically directly from the agency.

  • Evalutation Service, Inc.
  • Joseph Silney and Associates, Inc.
  • World Education Services (WES)

2. Official GRE Test Score

Submit a copy of your GRE Scores from the Educational Testing Service. See GRE Scoring table for more information.

3. Statement of Intent

Describe your interest in the study of international conflict management and any relevant experiences you bring to the program and outline how you believe the PhD program could further your interests. While you are not expected to have a full proposal developed at the time of application, the identification of topical, regional, theoretical, or methodological foci will enhance your overall competitiveness. Your statement will be reviewed by the INCM Admissions Committee of faculty from a range of disciplines. The KSU Graduate Online Application will allow you to upload this required documentation.

Additionally, you are strongly advised to identify program faculty with whom you might like to work and to contact those faculty regarding their availability as mentors and dissertation advisors. Such contact should be referenced in the Statement of Intent. The presence of faculty members interested in your specific research agenda enhances the likelihood that you will generate a dissertation of high academic quality. Faculty support for your application may improve your chances of acceptance into the program (although it does not guarantee acceptance).

4. Writing Sample

Submit a writing sample demonstrating your writing and analytical abilities as they relate to higher education or professional experience. This writing sample is preferred in English, however, it will be accepted in another language accompanied by an English translation. There are no length requirements, however, longer samples (e.g., a senior or master’s thesis) should be accompanied by an abstract or executive summary. The KSU Graduate Online Application will allow you to upload this required documentation.

5. Resume or Curriculum Vitae

Submit a document showing the chronological progression of your educational and work experiences including any additional information you deem relevant to support your application. The KSU Graduate Online Application will allow you to upload this required documentation.

6. Recommendation Letters

Three letters of recommendation should be submitted through the KSU Graduate Admissions office. Two of which should be from referees who can describe in detail your qualifications, motivation, and prospects for success in the program.

7. Additional Requirements for International Students

All applicants who are not native speakers of English must take the TOEFL (minimum score of 88) or the IELTS (minimum score of 6.5), unless they come from exempt countries; have graduated from a college or university in the United States accredited in a manner accepted by KSU; or who have studied successfully for at least one year at a university in which English was the medium of instruction. If these criteria are applicable you may submit a TOEFL Waiver Request.

For more information, visit International Student Resources.

INCM Program Funding

The PhD in International Conflict Management offers a limited number of competitive assistantships each year. Students offered an assistantship are funded in the amount of $15,000 per year. Program funding consists of Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs) and Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs) to support the research and teaching responsibilities of the university with the specific focus on supporting the research and teaching activities of the INCM program faculty and contributing departments. Provided satisfactory academic and RTA performance, and depending on the annual program budget, the PhD in International Conflict Management program typically provides funding for the duration of one academic year, renewable for a maximum of three years.

PhD in International Conflict Management Research or Teaching Assistantship

If provided, KSU graduate assistantships cover both in-state and out-of-state tuition, however, student fees will still remain the responsibility of the student. KSU graduate assistantships also provide a stipend.

To be eligible for an INCM Research or Teaching Assistantship, a student must:

For First-Year Students:

  • Be accepted into the PhD in International Conflict Management program and receive a recommendation by the INCM Program Admissions Committee to be considered for funding.

For Second- and Third-Year Students:

  • Successfully complete the first year of study.
  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA.
  • Receive a recommendation for new or continued funding from the PhD in International Conflict Management Progress and Funding Committee between the first and second year of study.
  • If applicable, receive positive performance evaluations from the supervisor(s) of previous GRA assignments.

Funding Beyond the Third Year:

  • In exceptional circumstances and when additional PhD in International Conflict Management program funding is available, students may be eligible to compete for additional semesters of funding. This is much more common regarding summer assistantships.

Decisions on continued funding and types of assistantships are made on a competitive basis based on a comparative evaluation of students’ performance both academically and in completing their assigned GRA duties.

INCM Internal and External Scholarships

Internal Funding Opportunities

  • Graduate College GRAs
  • Clendenin Fellowships

External Funding from Outside KSU

Competing for external funding is part of the professional development of doctoral candidates. Receiving a competitive external fellowship is an honor that stays with students throughout their career and can improve their professional prospects. Therefore, all PhD students are strongly encouraged to seek external financial support in the form of dissertation fellowships and grants to cover the dissertation-related expenses. Any successfully acquired external funding will extend, not replace, the financial assistance received from the PhD program, as long as the student meets all other requirements for program funding.

  • Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship
  • The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation
  • International Peace Research Association Foundation
  • Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy
  • P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship Fund

The Philanthropic Education Organization, P.E.O., is a group of women dedicated to supporting women’s education. As part of their international organization, they offer opportunities for international women students attending U.S. and Canadian colleges seeking advanced degrees to obtain up to $12,500 in a scholarship. Applicants are encouraged to fill out an eligibility form September 15, 2016, through December 15, 2016. Students must have one year of study remaining and commit to returning to their country of origin within 60 days of completing their degree. Applicants will be required to sign an affidavit indicating such. An interested candidate must fill out the electronic application. Upon confirmation of eligibility, she will receive an application to complete.

Program taught in:
  • English (US)

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Resident tuition fee for 1 credit hour: $290.00. Non-resident tuition fee for 1 credit hour: $1,045.00. Other fees may apply.
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