University of California at Santa Barbara PhD Program in Global Studies 2017, USA

Publish Date: Aug 15, 2017

Deadline: Dec 15, 2017

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.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: The Global Studies Department admits Ph.D. applicants for the fall quarter only. The online application, supplemental materials (except exam scores), and application fee must all be received by December 15th(by 11:59 PM PST).

ONLINE APPLICATION: Students must submit an online application with Graduate Division.

If you are a person with a disability and require an application in an alternative form, please contact the Graduate Division by calling (805) 893-2277.


Applicants must have a Bachelor's degree or its equivalent from an accredited university by the projected fall quarter of admission. The Graduate Admissions Committee considers the applicant’s Statement of Purpose, which must describe the global issues s/he is interested in studying and elaborate a realistic research agenda. The admission committee will also consider transcripts, letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and a research writing sample (plus the TOEFL or IELTS exam scores when applicable for non-English speaking applicants) in making decisions about admissions.

Materials Required for Application:

  1. Statement of Purpose (2-3 pages)
  2. Personal Achievements/Contributions Statement (1-2 pages)
  3. Resume or Curriculum Vita (CV) (1-2 pages)
  4. Three Letters of Recommendation
  5. Official Transcripts
  6. GRE Scores and TOEFL or IELTS Scores (if required)
  7. Writing Sample (15 -20 pages)
  8. Application Fee Payment

1) STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: Give a brief statement outlining (i) the global issues you are interested in studying and (ii) the main questions driving your intellectual interest in global processes. Please also refer to your past academic work, and your plans for future occupation or profession. Please include information about yourself, your goals, and anything else you feel will help the admission committee understand who you are and why you want to attend our program. Also include any additional information that may assist the selection committee in evaluating your preparation and aptitude for graduate study in the Global Studies Department at UCSB.

BEFORE submitting your application, we strongly encourage you to contact one or more faculty members with whom you would like to work. Discuss your research interests with faculty members and please include the names of faculty who may serve as a mentor in your statement of purpose.

Please put your name on each page of your Statement of Purpose, Personal Achievements, CV, etc.; recommended length for the statement is 2-3 pages.

2) PERSONAL ACHIEVEMENTS/CONTRIBUTIONS: UC Santa Barbara is interested in a diverse and inclusive graduate student population. Please describe any aspects of your personal background, accomplishments, or achievements that you feel are important in evaluating your application for graduate study. For example, please describe if you have experienced economic challenges in achieving higher education, such as being financially responsible for family members or dependents, having to work significant hours during undergraduate schooling or coming from a family background of limited income. Please describe if you have any unusual or varied life experiences that might contribute to the diversity of the graduate group, such as fluency in other languages, experience living in bicultural communities, academic research interests focusing on cultural, societal, or educational problems as they affect underserved segments of society, or evidence of an intention to use the graduate degree toward serving disadvantaged individuals or populations. The recommended length for the personal achievements/contributions is 1-2 pages.

3) RESUME OR CURRICULUM VITAE: Please list any experience with research or teaching, and also list your positions of employment or volunteer work/community service.

4) THREE LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION: All letters of recommendation should be submitted online through the Online Application. Students need to complete waiver portion of the letter.

Caution: If using a letter service, make sure that all letters are postmarked on or before the December 15 deadline. In the past, some services held letters and mailed when all had been received, thereby missing the application deadline.

Letters of Recommentations content:

  • circumstances under which referee has known the student.
  • referee's evaluation of the student's overall intellectual ability (e.g., analytical power, critical facility, theoretical skills); independence of thought (e.g., insight, imagination, creativity); effectiveness of communication, oral and written; motivation, persistence, self-discipline, thoroughness, etc.
  • referee's assessment of the student's overall probable contributions to understanding complex global forces and related social, cultural, economic, and political processes and how these relate to the UCSB Global Studies graduate program.

5) OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPTS: Official transcripts need to be uploaded within the Online Application. Please include diplomas or degree certificates (if your degree has already been awarded), front and back pages of the transcript, and the transcript key or legend. The minimum requirement for the UCSB Global Studies doctoral program is a 3.3 GPA in all undergraduate upper-division coursework.

6) GRADUATE RECORD EXAMINATION (GRE): Official GRE scores should be sent directly from ETS (the testing organization) to the Graduate Division using the UCSB institution code: 4835; the department code should be left blank. All applicants are required to submit GRE General Test scores and there are no minimum score requirements. Scores remain valid 5-years from the exam date. To insure that test scores are received by the application deadline, students should plan to take the GRE no later than November 18th, although we will accept scores through December 30th. GREs taken later may arrive too late to be considered for the forthcoming year and thus cause your application to be rejected. Consult the GRE website for exam dates and locations.

TEST OF ENGLISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE (TOEFL): Official TOEFL scores should be sent directly from ETS (the testing organization) to the Graduate Division using the UCSB institution code: 4835; the department code should be left blank. Applicants whose native language is not English must receive a score of at least 600 on the paper-based test or 94 on the internet-based test. Consult the TOEFL website for exam dates and locations.

INTERNATIONAL ENGLISH LANGUAGE TESTING SYSTEM (IELTS): Applicants can submit IELTS scores in lieu of TOEFL scores. Applicants must receive an Overall Band score of 7 or higher on the IELTS exam. Consult the IELTS website for additional information.

UCSB prefers paper test reports from IELTS.  Please have paper test reports sent to the Graduate Division:

UCSB Graduate Division
Attn: Graduate Admissions
3117 Cheadle Hall
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-2070

If you choose to have you scores reported electronically you must email with a notification that your scores have been reported online.  Provide your Centre Number, Candidate Number, and Test Date in your email.

NOTEApplicants whose native language is not English are required to take the TOEFL or IELTS. Exemptions will be considered for students who have completed an undergraduate or graduate degree at an institution whose official language of instruction is English.

7) WRITING SAMPLE: A sample of written work on a global issue or related topic must be submitted with the online application. The writing sample helps us assess your theoretical, analytical and writing skills. All written work should include a bibliography, footnotes, or references, if applicable. All writing samples must be written in English or translated into English by a certified translator.


No application can be processed without the nonrefundable $105 (domestic) and $125 (international) application fee by credit card or check.  Checks should be paid to the order of: Regents, University of California. Payment details are on the Graduate Division website. Payment must be received by the Dec.15 application deadline.

For more information please click "Further Official Information" below

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