Doctor of Philosophy in Global Governance

The objectives of the joint PhD program are:

  • To prepare candidates for a career in teaching and research in the field of global governance, or for the growing range of careers in this area within national governments, international organizations, the non-government sector, and the private sector.
  • To cultivate an interdisciplinary learning environment that develops integrative knowledge of global governance issues from the core disciplines of political science, economics, and history, and related disciplines of geography, global studies, environmental studies, and business, among others.

Additional Information
Admission Requirements

Successful candidates must hold a master's degree with a minimum A- average or equivalent in political science, history, economics, international development studies, international peace studies, globalization studies, environmental studies, or a related field.

Applicants whose native language is not English must furnish evidence of proficiency in English prior to admission, in accordance with University requirements.

Program Requirements

The expected time to completion is four years. Students must complete their course requirements before taking the comprehensive exams. Course work and two comprehensive examinations are to be completed within the first sixteen months of the program. In the subsequent time students will conduct research and complete their doctoral dissertation. In addition to the course, comprehensive examination, and dissertation requirements described below, students are expected to participate in the Doctoral seminar to foster their intellectual and professional development.

Typical progress through the program:

Year 1
Course work (6 term courses, Doctoral
Two comprehensive exams at end of year
Year 2  Optional Internship
Dissertation proposal and defence
Year 3
Dissertation work
Year 4
Dissertation work and defence

 Doctoral students in the joint program must maintain a minimum average of A- to be eligible to continue in the program.

Course Requirements

All students must complete six courses, including the following four mandatory courses: GV701 - Research Methods, GV710 - Globalization and Global Governance, GV720 - The History of Global Governance and GV730 - Economic Analysis in Global Governance and at least two courses from their chosen field (see below). In addition to the six courses, all students are required to complete GV702 - Doctoral Seminar in the first year (3 terms) of their program.

To avoid overlap, selected courses must be approved by the Graduate Officer at the university where the student is registered. Core courses may be offered at Wilfrid Laurier University or the University of Waterloo.

Students must choose to specialize in one of the six fields of the program. To prepare for the comprehensive exam in that field, they must select at least two courses from their chosen field. Of these two, at least one course  must be a course identified as "core" for that field (marked with an asterisk in the lists below). 

Not all courses are offered each year and more courses may be available. Consult the respective departments at both institutions for information on available courses in any given year. Consult the respective graduate calendars for full course descriptions.

 The core course for each field is listed in the table below. Students are required to take the core course for their field plus one other elective. The choice of elective courses is made in consultation with the program.

 Global Political Economy  IP622 - Power and Policy in the Global Economy
 Global Environment  GV732 - Global Environmental Governance
 Conflict and Security  GGOV631 Security Ontology
 Global Justice and Human Rights GV760 - Human Rights and Global Governance
 Multilateral Institutions and Diplomacy  GV734 - International Organizations and Global Governance
 Global Social Governance  GV735 - Global Social Policy

Doctoral Seminar

In addition to the six courses described above, students must also participate in GV702 - Doctoral Seminar during their first year.

GV702 - Doctoral Seminar requires attendance year long at departmental colloquia, seminars and related presentations, including public lectures at The Centre for International Governance Innovation, the Academic Council on the United Nations System, and area universities. Credit for the Doctoral Seminar will be assigned by the Program Director on a credit/non-credit (CR/NCR) basis. The Seminar is designed to provide structured opportunities for meaningful interaction among students, with faculty and with outside researchers and policymakers, as well as to expose incoming PhD students to the range of opportunities for learning in the area of global governance within the Waterloo community. Students must maintain continuous registration in this course during the first year of the program (3 terms).


Students may complete a four-to-eight month internship working on global governance issues in the public or private sector, at a research institute, or for a non-governmental organization. The "work-term," for which no formal credit will be offered, will normally take place during the student's second year in the PhD program.

Language Requirement

Prior to completion of the third year, students whose doctoral dissertation is concerned with a non-English speaking country or region will be required to demonstrate proficiency in the language of that country. To fulfill the requirement, students will need to demonstrate proficiency in the second language, and may do so by completing designated language courses at either the University of Waterloo or Wilfrid Laurier University. Where there are no courses available, the Program Director will determine the time and method of language assessment, in consultation with the student. GV770 - Language Requirement must be met before the doctoral candidate proceeds to the thesis stage.

Comprehensive Exam

Candidates must write comprehensive examinations in two areas within 16 months of starting the program. Normally, students will write comprehensive exams at the end of their first year. The first examination (GV791 - Core Comprehensive Examination) will be on Global Governance and will test the breadth and depth of a student's comprehension of the leading literature. The Program Director will appoint three core faculty members to set the exam questions and mark this first comprehensive exam. The faculty teaching GV710 - Globalization and Global Governance (the program core course during that particular year must be included among these three faculty members.

For their second area (GV792 - Specialization Comprehensive Examination), students will choose to write a comprehensive examination in one of the six fields of the program. The Program Director, in consultation with the student and the faculty teaching the field core courses, will strike a committee of three faculty members to set the exam questions and to mark the second comprehensive exam. Students can only write an examination in a field if they have completed two courses in that field, one of which must be a "core" course for that field.

Dissertation Requirements and Procedures

Successful completion of comprehensive examinations allows students to progress to the dissertation proposal stage, at which point they should enrol in GV799 - Dissertation. The student will normally prepare and present a dissertation proposal to a supervisor before the end of the second year. Normally, students will defend their dissertation proposal before a formal dissertation supervisory committee at the start of the third year or earlier. This defence can take place no later than 30 months after a student's entry into the program. The student will also be required to present the dissertation proposal to the Doctoral Seminar. Upon formal approval, the candidate proceeds to the research and writing of the dissertation. Candidates who fail to satisfy this requirement within the established time frame may be asked to leave the program.

The regulations and procedures at the university in which the student is registered will govern both the dissertation and the examination formats.