PhD Program

About the PhD Program in Global Studies

This cutting-edge program is designed to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The PhD Program is the first of its kind at a Tier-1 Research University in the United States, and the first within the University of California system. It is a stand-alone degree (approximately 5-6 years) and is separate from our highly successful terminal MA in Global Studies which has been operating for over a decade.

The PhD program in Global Studies provides a unique interdisciplinary degree for students who desire to study global issues such as conflict, immigration, human rights, environment, sustainable development and the challenges these issues present for lasting peace, equality and prosperity. We are looking for outstanding applicants who desire to become experts on global issues by engaging with research designs, analytical techniques and teaching approaches beyond the confines of individual disciplines.

The program is taught by leading scholars, many of whom helped establish this emerging interdisciplinary field and who are internationally recognized for their innovative theoretical, empirical and pedagogical contributions. Candidates will work closely with Global Studies faculty in conjunction with 23 Affiliated Faculty members from across the campus, providing access to a wide variety of disciplinary scholarship/expertise.

Combining approaches from the social sciences and humanities, the PhD is built around three related concentrations:

  • global political economy, development, and environment
  • global culture, ideology, and religion
  • global governance, human rights, and civil society

Students complete gateway courses in all three areas before focusing on a research specialization. The degree typically involves a field studies component, mastery of a second language, and the completion of a PhD dissertation.

Why do a PhD in Global Studies?

The PhD provides an understanding of the economic, political, social, cultural, historical and environmental  forces that are shaping our contemporary world. Faculty specializations include political economy, development studies, law, human rights, sustainability, culture, religion, postcolonialism, science and technology studies, and international environmental politics. These specializations allow doctoral students to engage with a wide range of issues and topics and become leading experts in their field, preparing them well for jobs in academia, private and public sector research institutions and respective professional careers in the private and public sector. To apply for the program, please see our Admissions page. Each applicant must complete an online application with the Graduate Division. https://www.graddiv.ucsb.edu/eapp/