2022-23 Edition

Global Studies, Ph.D.

The Department of Global and International Studies offers a Ph.D. program in Global Studies. The program provides a critical transdisciplinary degree that stands out from other programs for its cutting-edge curriculum, faculty research, and embracing of scholarship from across the social sciences and humanities engaging multiple theoretical perspectives and methodologies. Faculty analyze global issues such as conflict, inequality, migration, human rights, climate change, health, indigeneity, racial formations, global cultures, diasporas, and development from an interdisciplinary perspective.

The program is unique for its foregrounding the importance of engaging global south scholarship and non-western epistemologies that broaden the base of knowledge production and bring new perspectives to bear on the pressing global issues of our times. The program interrogates taken-for-granted concepts and relations of power while foregrounding the deep historical legacies of colonialism and imperialism.

Graduate students work closely with core faculty in the Department in conjunction with over 50 associated faculty from across the campus, providing access to a broad spectrum of expertise and interdisciplinary scholarship. The Department maintains close ties with the School of Humanities, as well as faculty housed in various ethnic programs including Asian American Studies, African American Studies, and Chicano/Latino Studies. Graduate students have the opportunity to participate in and apply for funding from a variety of interdisciplinary research units including the Center for Global Peace and Conflict Studies; the Humanities Research Center; the Latin American Studies Center; Center for Critical Korean Studies; and the Long China-US Institute. In addition, Ph.D. students have the option of taking graduate emphases in Feminist Studies, Critical Theory, and Law, Society and Culture. Students are also encouraged to work with faculty in the School of Law and College of Health Sciences.

Applicants are normally expected to have earned an undergraduate degree in the social sciences or humanities, though applications are also welcome from students with backgrounds in other areas. All applicants are expected to possess strong analytical and writing skills.

The online application must be submitted, and all supporting materials must be received by December 1.

The following supporting materials must be included as part of the graduate application:

  • Statement of Purpose - 1200 word maximum (global issues that interest you most, the kinds of issues you are interested in, the areas of academic research you’d like to work in, how your research relates to your career goals, why the Global Studies program makes sense for you)
  • Personal History Statement - 1200 word maximum (what drives you, the obstacles you have faced, how you have overcome adversity and thrived, lessons you’ve learned, things you have achieved as a result)
  • One (1) Writing Sample. 20 pages is the maximum length. Can be an excerpt from a longer piece.
  • GRE exam scores (taken within the last five years)
  • TOEFL or IELTS (if applicable)
  • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation

Students must complete at least 48 units in the first two years, excluding units earned in SOC SCI 399 (University Teaching). The number of units earned thereafter will vary in accordance with the time required to pass the qualifying examination, advance to candidacy, and complete the dissertation.

A. Complete:
INTL ST 201 What is Global Studies?
INTL ST 202 Foundations of European Social Thought
INTL ST 203 Globalizing Social Theory in the Age of Extremes
INTL ST 204 Theories of Globalization
INTL ST 205 Theories from the Global South
INTL ST 206 Engaging Global Issues
B. Complete:
INTL ST 207 Research Design and Methods
INTL ST 208 Grant Writing
INTL ST 210A- 210B- 210C Proseminar in Global Studies I
and Proseminar in Global Studies II
and Proseminar in Global Studies III
C. Select two electives offered by the Department of International Studies or an outside department. 1
D. During the fourth, fifth, and sixth years, students take, as needed, up to 12 units in INTL ST 290.

Master’s Degree

NOTE: Although the Department does not have a terminal master’s program, students may earn an optional Master’s degree as part of the Ph.D. program.

Students enrolled in the Global Studies program may earn an M.A. in Global Studies by completing the following requirements. Students must:

  1. Complete satisfactorily the first two years of coursework in the Ph.D. program
  2. Complete satisfactorily the preliminary examination for the Ph.D. program
  3. Fulfill the language requirement of the Ph.D. program.

Language Requirement

Before advancing to candidacy, students must demonstrate a reading knowledge of one language other than English relevant to the student’s program of study. This requirement will be met by passing a translation examination administered by the Department.

Advancement to Candidacy

The qualifying examination, administered by a committee of faculty members, is typically taken in early to mid-Spring quarter of the third year. The qualifying examination consists of two parts: 1) preliminary examination and 2) prospectus defense, in the form of an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (DDRIG). Toward the end of the second year of study, students start preparing by establishing a primary advisor and committee. The student will work with their committee members to establish a reading list on three different topics of relevance to their research interests. The student will enroll in three Directed Reading courses (INTL ST 260) and produce three papers (of approximately 20 pages each). These papers will include literature reviews and develop conceptual and theoretical frameworks pertinent to the students’ research interests. These papers will be examined by the committee during their third year.

The dissertation prospectus is presented in a colloquium that includes all three members of the dissertation committee plus two other members of the Academic Senate, one of whom (the “outside” member) may not hold either a primary or joint appointment in the department of Global and International Studies. The dissertation colloquium is typically held mid-Spring quarter in the third year. The basis of the dissertation prospectus is a significant research grant (i.e., National Science Foundation grant). Upon presentation and acceptance of the prospectus, the student will be advanced to candidacy for a Ph.D.


Students must submit a dissertation describing original publishable research and present a public defense of the dissertation as the final requirement of the Ph.D. as listed below. The normative time for completion of the Ph.D. is six years, and the maximum time permitted is eight years.

The requirements for the Ph.D. are 1) the student must formally present and defend a written dissertation proposal to a committee of at least three members selected according to Graduate Division requirements. The dissertation proposal presentation may take place as part of the examination for Advancement to Candidacy, in which case, that five-member committee will approve the dissertation proposal. 2) The proposal must be approved prior to the final dissertation defense (usually at least three months before to allow time for the candidate to incorporate suggestions and changes required by the committee); 3) prior to the approval of the final version of the dissertation, the student is expected to defend the dissertation in a public colloquium announced with at least two weeks’ notice; and 4) all requirements for the Ph.D. degree must be fulfilled within three years after advancement to candidacy.