Ph.D. Emphasis in Global Studies


Graduate Emphasis in Global Studies

The newly established Emphasis in Global Studies offers graduate students from across the social sciences, humanities, law, social ecology, and public health schools an opportunity to pursue additional training in Global Studies.  The Emphasis is designed to instill an intellectual ethic of interdisciplinarity among participating students and to create trans-disciplinary communities of emerging Global Studies scholars whose intellectual development will be enhanced by formal and informal exchange across diverse fields.  The Emphasis is structured around the following core questions: (1) What are the phases of globalization and how do we understand it as an historical process? (2) What are the qualities, current manifestations, and implications of globalization today? (3) How does one conceptualize and implement research across the local-global continuum?  (4) How can disciplinary-based scholarship be broadened to engage interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary theoretical frameworks and methodologies? Conversely, how can interdisciplinary questions engage disciplinary concerns and contexts? (5) How does one design global studies research projects, making our work timely and relevant to the unique challenges of our contemporary era? 


Students from any UCI graduate or professional program (except for those in self-supporting graduate programs) are eligible to apply to the Graduate Emphasis in Global Studies, administered through the Department of Global and International Studies, which is housed in the School of Social Sciences.

In the spring quarter of their first or second year, interested Ph.D. students must contact the Graduate Director to indicate interests in applying for the Graduate Emphasis in Global Studies. The application process consists of:

  1. An online application
  2. A one-page statement of purpose, including areas of interest and research
  3. One copy of student’s unofficial transcript
  4. Two faculty letters of recommendation (one from the student’s primary advisor)**

*letter of recommendation can be uploaded directly to the online application or send directly to graduate director, Long T. Bui,


Upon admission into the Graduate Emphasis in Global Studies, the student must complete the following three-course sequence, see below for course descriptions.

Courses for the Graduate Emphasis in Global Studies

The Global Studies Emphasis course work is theoretically rich and empirically grounded. Students will explore both abstract and concrete expressions of the global across the world.  Courses are designed to be historically grounded, geographically global, and relevant to contemporary problems. As such, the first course “Theories of Globalization” exposes students to foundational work in the field of global studies over the past three decades.  It explores riveting debates about periodizing the global, and it balances a focus on top-down processes of globalization with a bottom-up approach that centers the lives of everyday people and social movements. The second course “Theory from the Global South” brings the margin to the center by deploying a notion of the global south as both a geography and a social relation.  It centers on the question of the decolonization of knowledge, and explores alternative epistemological approaches to knowing the world and its global processes. The final course in the sequence, “Contemporary Global Issues,” builds on the historical, theoretical, and empirical background in the first two courses to tackle today’s most pressing issues through a global lens. It explores topics like migration, urbanization, communication technologies, the crisis of liberal-centrism, climate change, warfare, economic crisis, transnational governance, global apartheid, public health, imperialism, and global social  movements.

INTL ST 204 - Theories of Globalization
Provides students with a broad overview of the major theoretical contributions in understanding global processes. The first half of the course examines long-term trends of historical globalization, and the second part looks at early debates in the emerging field of global studies from the 1980s to the early 2000s. The course aims to maintain a balance between global changes emanating from above at the level of states and transnational organizations, and those that emerge from below in the form of transformative movements led by everyday people.

INTL ST 205 - Theories from the Global South
This seminar seeks to push beyond the theoretical traditions of the Euro-American academy and to engage important theoretical contributions made by scholars from the Global South. We begin by discussing the validity of the “Global South” as a binary theoretical construct, and then ask who speaks for the Global South? We then read works by diverse scholars that bring into question taken-for-granted assumptions about power, authority, and significance. 

INTL ST 206 - Engaging Global Issues
The goal of this graduate seminar is to help students develop critical and interdisciplinary approaches to complex global issues that they can use in their own research. The selected readings will introduce students to theoretical approaches in areas such as globalization, global political economy, postcolonialism, nationalism and post-nationalism, race, gender, Indigenous theories, environment, conflict and security.


For further information, contact:

Jessica Cañas-Castañeda
Department Administrator
Department of Global and International Studies
523 Social Science Tower

Long T Bui
Graduate Director
Department of Global and International Studies
551 Social Science Tower

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