David Shirk, PhD

David Shirk
Phone: (619) 260-2315
Office: Kroc Institute for Peace & Jus 257

Director, Master's Program in International Relations and Professor, Political Science and International Relations

  • Ph.D., University of California, San Diego; Political Science
  • B.A., Lock Haven University, International Studies
  • Woodrow Wilson Center Fellow, 2008-2009
  • Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies Fellow, 1998-1999; 2001-2003
  • Ralph Bunche Scholar, 1992

David A. Shirk, Ph.D., joined the University of San Diego in July 2003. Shirk’s teaching covers a wide range of subject areas, mainly concentrated in comparative politics, international political economy, Latin American studies, and U.S.-Latin American relations, with a concentration in Mexico and border politics. He conducts research on Mexican politics, U.S.-Mexican relations, and law enforcement and security along the U.S.-Mexican border. Shirk also directs the Justice in Mexico Project (www.justiceinmexico.org), which examines rule of law and security issues in Mexico. From 2003-2013, Dr. Shirk directed the Trans-Border Institute, which works to promote greater analysis and understanding of Mexico, U.S.-Mexico relations, and the U.S.-Mexico border region.

Areas of Expertise


Areas of Interest

Shirk’s teaching spanned a wide range of subject areas, including graduate and undergraduate courses on comparative politics, international relations, U.S. politics, border politics and policy, race and ethnic politics, international political economy, rule of law, NAFTA politics, Latin American politics, and Mexican politics. In addition to regular advising duties, Shirk has supervised several students with independent study projects and honors theses on arms trafficking, drug trafficking, foreign development aid, foreign direct investment, immigration, human capital formation, rule of law, and violent crime.