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.

For more information on specific classes, see our International Conflict Management degree information in the KSU Graduate Catalog.



See definitions below for more explanation of INCM terms.

  • 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").
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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” (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.