Program Content

Comprehensive Qualifying Exam

Following the accumulation of at least 27 credits at the doctoral level (i.e., credits transferred from a Master’s program do not count), students will register to take their comprehensive doctoral exam, which must be passed prior to students’ enrollment in dissertation credits. It will be administered in two parts: one on core courses and research methodologies, and the other focused on the student’s chosen area of concentration (Security and Human Rights; Socio-Economic Development; or Comparative Cultures). Students will be given access to a computer (with no internet connection, notes, etc.) and will have three hours to answer each part of the exam. A two-hour break will be provided between part 1 and part 2. Altogether, the exam and breaks will last 8 hours.

Mastering Central Issues

A qualifying examination is a highly necessary component of the doctoral program in Global Studies. Essentially, a qualifying exam ensures that students have mastered the requisite knowledge and have acquired the necessary skills to advance to candidacy, and subsequently embark on the dissertation stage. In particular, the qualifying exam requires students to demonstrate their understanding of the central issues in Global Studies, as well as require students to have shaped their own positions on these issues (from course work, research, and outside readings) and to demonstrate they have the ability to articulate and defend these positions. The exam thus tests not only the knowledge base of the student, but also whether students exhibit the capability to advance knowledge in the field through theory development and a focused research agenda. A successful qualifying exam demonstrates that the theoretical and empirical literature has been synthesized and critically assessed and that the student has the skills necessary to make future contributions to the field.

The qualifying exam will be offered in October and February of each year. Students are advised to allow sufficient preparation time because the qualifying exam is extensive and cumulative of core courses, methodology courses, and their chosen area of concentration. The faculty will provide students with a suggested reading list to help direct their preparation for this exam. Students wishing to take the qualifying exam must announce their intent to sit by the deadline set in the semester prior to the examination on the form provided by the Program.

International Experience and Dissertation

Upon successfully passing the Comprehensive Qualifying Exam, a student can begin his/her dissertation research. At this point, there are just three major requirements remaining before earning the doctoral degree: (1) an international learning experience, (2) successful oral defense of a dissertation proposal; and (3) successful oral defense of a complete dissertation.