Aug 21, 2018  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog

Global Governance and Human Security, PhD

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Degree Requirements

The Global Governance and Human Security PhD program requirements include:

  • 68 credits total
  • Two (2) qualifying exams
  • Demonstrated second-language research competency
  • Dissertation presentation and defense

The normal progress expectation for students who enter the program with a master’s or other higher-level degree is to complete core courses by the end of the first year, complete all courses in their concentration and their qualifying exams by the end of the second year, and to complete all requirements for the degree, including successful dissertation defense, within four to five years.

Transdisciplinary Research Courses

Candidates take a total of 28 credits in transdisciplinary research courses.

Transdisciplinary Research to Practice Groups

Students will be expected to complete a 12-credit, four-course sequence over a two-year period. Six credits will be based in either sociology or gerontology methodology courses. The remaining 6 credits are electives chosen by the student in independent areas of research and study.

Research, Policy, or Management Courses

Students must complete two core classes in these areas.

Dissertation Research Seminars

These seminars will provide support for the dissertation proposal, research, and writing. Students take a total of 10 credits.

Comprehensive Examination

Students in the PhD Program in Global Inclusion and Social Development (GISD) are expected to relate the concepts they have learned through their academic program to practical applications. The goal of the comprehensive examination is to determine the student’s knowledge and understanding of theories related to globalization, social development, and social inclusion, as well as their capacity to apply these theories in real-world situations. Successful completion of the comprehensive examination admits the student to candidacy for the PhD degree.

Components of the Comprehensive Exam

Students will complete a written and oral examination of content related to the core courses in global inclusion and social development.

Written Examination

The written component of the comprehensive exam is six hours and is scheduled twice per year. This is a closed book exam. Students have a total of six hours to complete the written component of the comprehensive exam, four hours in the morning session and two hours in the afternoon session.

The exam consists of 6 questions that reflect key issues addressed in the core courses; students must answer 3 of the questions during the exam period. Exam questions will focus on three areas: (1) research, (2) policy, and (3) practice/case study. There will be two options within each of these focus areas, and students will be required to answer one question in each of the three focus areas. Questions will call for the integration of concepts taught across the core courses.

The exams will be reviewed and evaluated by two GISD core faculty members; this blind review will ensure that the identity of the student is not known to faculty evaluators.

Oral Examination

The graduate program director (GPD) will schedule students for an oral defense of their written examination to take place within two weeks of the completion of their written examination. The oral examination will be led by the faculty members who have reviewed the student’s written exam. The oral examination allows students to expand on their answers in written exam as well as respond to questions regarding overall concepts addressed in the program.

If there is not a consensus among the two faculty members who reviewed the student’s comprehensive examination, a third faculty member will be brought in to review the written material and provide an additional perspective on the evaluation.

Timing of Comprehensive Exams

The written exam component of the comprehensive exam is offered the fourth week in January and the third week in September. Students must register for the examination by November 15th or May 1st depending on the semester they are taking the exam. Students must complete the written and oral comprehensive exams in the same semester.

To be eligible to sit for the exam, students must have completed, or be completing within the semester they are taking the exam, all of their core, concentration, and elective courses. Students in the post-bachelor’s program will have completed 51 credits, and students in the post-master’s PhD program will have completed 36 credits. PhD students can be participating in the transdisciplinary research course (

 ) concurrently. Students cannot take comprehensive examinations if they have a pending incomplete in any course.


Application Requirements

  • Official UMass Boston application and application fee
  • Official transcript from each college and university attended
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) test scores (Official report from Educational Testing Service)
  • Resume/curriculum vitae
  • Two letters of recommendation from people familiar with your academic abilities
  • Statement of purpose (1,500 words): statement of your research and career interests and goals; your motivation for pursuing a PhD; why you are interested in an interdisciplinary PhD program; member(s) of the faculty with whom you are interested in working
  • Writing sample: any substantial piece of academic writing of which the applicant is the sole author

NOTE: International applicants are subject to additional requirements, which are described at

For additional information, please visit the program website, or contact the department at

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