The Division of Global Affairs (DGA) offers a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in Global Affairs—a multidisciplinary field concerned with theoretically informed and problem-oriented approaches to transnational issues and their interaction with local issues.

Please note that the PhD program is currently closed to new applicants. The Master’s program is open and welcomes applications from all qualified applicants.


PhD​ ​Degree​ ​Requirements:

Seventy-three (73) credits with grades of B or higher are required for the PhD in Global Affairs. All students must complete:

● Seven (7) areas of inquiry (AI) courses (21 credits)

● One (1) foundation course - Evolution of the Global System course (3 credits)

● One (1) dissertation preparation course - Doctoral Seminar on Theory and Methods (3 credits)

● Two (2) Capstone Colloquia Series with grades of Pass (4 credits)

● Two (2) research and methodology courses (6 credits)

● Five (5) course electives (15 credits)

● Dissertation research (21 credits)

● Language requirement (no credit)

Students are also required to:

● pass a 52-Credit course review,

● pass a comprehensive examination,

● receive approval for a dissertation proposal,

● and write, successfully defend, and submit a dissertation.

Students must maintain a grade-point average of 3.5 or higher for all non-language courses taken at Rutgers University in order to be awarded the PhD. If academic performance falls below the expected standard the student will fail to pass the 52-Credit Review. The DGA Director and the Graduate School-Newark may refuse her/him the right of future registration and terminate studies.


Foundation​ ​Courses​ ​-​ ​three​ ​(3​ ​credits):

One (1) (3 credits) (26:478:508; 26:790:508): Evolution of the Global System

Dissertation​ ​Preparation​ ​Course​ ​-​ ​three​ ​(3​ ​credits):

One (1) (3 credits) (26:478:590): Doctoral Seminar on Theory and Methods

Areas​ ​of​ ​Inquiry​ ​Courses​ ​(AIs)​ ​-​ ​twenty-one​ ​(21​ ​credits):

Students must complete seven (7) of the eight AI courses with grades of B (3.0) or higher in order to remain in the program. Students who do not receive a grade of B or higher in any AI course must retake the course.

All AI requirements must be completed in residence. Transfer credits may not be used in fulfillment of AI requirements.

Seven​ ​(7)​ ​required​ ​of​ ​the​ ​eight​ ​AI​ ​courses:

  • Ethics,​ ​Security,​ ​and​ ​Global​ ​Affairs
  • Global​ ​Governance
  • Human​ ​Security
  • Global​ ​Political​ ​Economy​
  • International​ ​Law
  • History​ ​of​ ​International​ ​Business
  • Global​ ​Development
  • Human​ ​Rights​ ​and​ ​Mass​ ​Atrocities


Capstone​ ​Colloquia​ ​Requirement​ ​-​ ​four​ ​(4​ ​credits):

26:478:570/571: Students are required to complete two (2) semesters of the colloquium. Each 2-credit course consists of a series of seminars on a relevant Global Affairs topic or geographical area. The colloquium is graded on a Pass/Fail basis. Grades are provided by the professor organizing the colloquium. Students must attend each lecture (12 per semester) and complete a ten (10) page paper or project each semester.

Research​ ​and​ ​Methodology​ ​Requirement​ ​-​ ​six​ ​(6​ ​credits):

Students must complete six (6) credits of methodology courses (at least one 3- credit qualitative and at least one 3-credit quantitative). Students are strongly encouraged, but not required, to take additional advanced methodology courses. 26:790:533 Research Methodology in Political Science (qualitative) 26:478:532 Quantitative Methods for Global Affairs (quantitative) 26:705:677 Qualitative Research Methods

Electives​ ​-​ ​fifteen​ ​(15​ ​credits):

Students must complete at least five (5) graduate-level courses, for a total of fifteen (15) credits. These may be taken by a combination of online courses, independent study (no more than two (2) courses, six (6) credits) or transfer of credits from another institution of higher learning (no more than fifteen (15) credits). Approved electives offered by the various departments are located in Appendix I. Additional courses may be taken with the written approval of the Director (see form in Appendix A). Three (3) electives may be joined with an applicable AI discipline to qualify for a Certificate. Independent study and internship credits may be counted toward the additional DGA courses with prior approval from the DGA Director. Up to six (6) independent study credits may be counted toward the elective requirements. Transfer credits, as a general rule, are considered to be elective courses.


Fifty-two​ ​(52)​ ​Credit​ ​Review:

After completing fifty-two (52) credits in the program, all Ph.D. students undergo a review of their academic record by the Associate Director. Students who have deviated from the requirements and have not obtained prior permission from the Director, may have to take additional courses. Only students who have a grade-point average of 3.50 or higher in all non-language courses taken at Rutgers University and who have successfully passed the review will be permitted to continue with their doctoral studies at Rutgers-Newark. Students with an insufficiently high grade point average may submit an appeal to the DGA Director. Upon completion of the 52-credit review, students may take the required comprehensive exam.


Comprehensive​ ​Examination:

The comprehensive examinations test the student’s knowledge of the seminal arguments, theories, and discourse regarding the various areas of inquiry. They are taken after the student has passed the 52-credit review. They demonstrate that the student has mastered the basics of the relevant ais and is prepared to proceed towards the preparation of the dissertation.

  • Students choose four (4) of the eight (8) AIs on which they will be tested. Students wishing to take a comprehensive examination must inform the DGA Associate Director of their desire in writing at least one month prior to the exam.
  • Students have two (2) opportunities to pass the examination. Failure to pass the comprehensive examination on the second try will result in the student's withdrawal from the Ph.D. program.
    • Students taking the exam for the second time are required to sit for Areas of Inquiry that were not passed the first time.
  • Students will take the comprehensive examination after passing the 52-Credit Review. In order to complete the dissertation on time, this should not be later than four years after entering the Ph.D. program. Students who fail to take the 13 comprehensive examination within this time may be asked to withdraw from the Ph.D. program.
  • Comprehensive examinations are scheduled two times a year (October and February). The examination is a two-day proctored exam. Each student is given three hours per section.
  • Cell phones, internet, books and notes are NOT allowed during the exam. On the day of the exam, questions will be distributed at the beginning of each three hour period. Questions may not leave the examination room nor will answers be returned to students.
  • Students will be notified one week in advance regarding the schedule for each of their chosen sections.
  • Students will be given three questions per section and required to answer one of the three choices per section.
  • A one to two hour break will be given in the middle of each day. Three hours are provided to answer each question.
  • Students who do not stop working when advised may receive an automatic failure.
  • Students will not be given lower grades due to grammatical errors or the absence of citations, however they are expected to present answers which are organized, respond to the questions asked and communicate the student’s comprehension of the appropriate material.
  • Students are given reading lists regarding each AI section and a short familiarization session, which outlines examination requirements.
  • Students with disabilities providing documentation on the nature of their disability may be granted additional accommodations.
  • Late answers will result in an automatic disqualification.
  • Students scheduled for an exam, but who do not attend will receive an automatic disqualification.


Dissertation​ ​General​ ​Requirements:

The dissertation is the seminal achievement of the PhD matriculation process. Completion and defense of a dissertation distinguishes the PhD program from other programs in higher education and marks the student as an expert in a specific field or area of inquiry.



All Ph.D. students should, by the beginning of their second year, have a formal dissertation adviser to assist them in the selection of classes toward their concentration and the beginning stages of their dissertation proposal. The student must request a member of the DGA faculty to serve as their dissertation adviser (chair). If the student is unable to do so, deviation from the faculty is allowed upon the approval of the Director. In addition, the Ph.D. student must select three (3) additional members of their dissertation committee for a total of (4) four committee members. Other committee requirements include: one (1) associate faculty member; one (1) faculty member from outside of Rutgers University; all members must be in a tenure or tenure track position at an institution of higher education or its equivalent at universities abroad. It is also required that at least one member be an expert in the student's specific field of choice. On occasion, subject matter experts/practitioners who do not qualify because their lack of university affiliation may be chosen to sit on committees subject to the recommendation of the Chair and the approval of the Director.

Dissertation proposals are developed in consultation with the student's dissertation advisor. Dissertation proposals must be approved by the student's full dissertation committee within one (1) year of beginning dissertation research credits. Students may submit a written request for an extension to the DGA Director. Verification of passing the proposal should be submitted to the DGA Associate Director via e-mail from the student's dissertation adviser (chair) with a copy to the additional three (3) committee members.

Dissertation​ ​Proposal​ ​Basic​ ​Elements:

I. The Topic

a. What is the working title of your dissertation? What subject are you investigating? What question(s) are you addressing, problem(s) are you trying to investigate, puzzle(s) are you attempting to solve, and/or hypothesis(es) are you planning to test? Be sure to define carefully the terms you use and the timeframe of your study. For example, if your topic is “Democracy and Inequality: A Comparison of Denmark and Spain”, define both “democracy and inequality” – as well as the rationale for these definitions – and indicate the years to be considered.

b. Discuss at some length the nature and importance of the topic you have chosen. Why are you interested in it and why should readers care about what you will write?

II. Literature Review

a. By the time you write your proposal, you should have already done extensive reading and research in and around your subject. What relevant books, articles, materials and, to the extent applicable, data sources you have found? Here you will wish to group the available literature into logical categories, and to offer two or three examples of the literature under each category. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the available information, data, and analyses. What specifically do you expect to add to the existing literature and why is it important?

III. Theory and Methodology

a. Will your dissertation be primarily a chronological narrative or will it involve some form of organization? In the latter case, please explain. Does your work strongly reflect a particular disciplinary, epistemological or theoretical perspective?

b. Where and how will you conduct your research? Do you have a formal research design? If applicable, what social research methods will you use: surveys, personal interviews, case studies, events data, correlative/factor analysis, etc. Will you need the Rutgers Institutional Review Board (IRB) 16 to approve the research (e.g. surveys or interviews)? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the method(s) you expect to employ?

IV. Preliminary Chapter Organization

a. Provide a list of the chapters you expect to have in your dissertation and a brief abstract for each chapter.


V. Dissertation Committee and Projected Schedule for Completion

a. Provide a list of all faculty members on your Ph.D. dissertation committee and their university, school, and departmental affiliations. Who will be your primary supervisor and who will be your additional reader?

b. Provide a projected schedule for completion of the dissertation agreed upon with your supervisor.

VI. Preliminary Bibliography

a. Provide a preliminary bibliography of the major literature and data sources relevant to your dissertation. Most of these should be works that you have actually reviewed and not just gathered through a computer search.


Dissertation​ ​Research:​ ​twenty-one​ ​(21​ ​credits):

After passing the comprehensive examination, students must complete 21 (twenty-one) credits of Dissertation Research (26:478:701) on a full-time basis. Students may register for up to 12 (twelve) Dissertation Research credits per semester. Students needing more than 12 (twelve) credits will need approval from both the DGA Director and the Dean of the Graduate School. Students who register for Dissertation Research may be on or away from campus. During this time, students must stay in communication with their dissertation advisor. It is the student’s responsibility to communicate with his or her advisor (chair). Dissertation advisors provide grades of S (Satisfactory) or U (Unsatisfactory) for dissertation research. Within (1) year after a student begins taking dissertation research credits, he or she should defend his/her dissertation proposal in front of their entire dissertation committee.

Once a PhD student begins registering for dissertation research, the student and his or her advisor are required to submit a progress report one (1) time per year in the fall semesters (Appendix B). Students who have not progressed during this time will not be allowed to register for the following semester and must follow up with a second progress report in the following semester. Readmission into the program can occur once progress begins provided both the Director and dissertation advisor agree that the student can achieve the goals of the dissertation defense. The Director reserves the right to review the work of the student should the dissertation writing phase exceed two (2) years.

Guidelines​ ​for​ ​Dissertation​ ​Elements:

In general, dissertations consist of the following parts:

  • statement of the problem or issue being addressed and an explanation of its importance;
  • a thorough review of the relevant theoretical and other literature;
  • an elaboration of the argument or thesis;
  • a discussion of the methodology;
  • a detailed presentation of the empirical findings;
  • a conclusion;
  • a bibliography.


As a guide, dissertations (text and notes, minus the bibliography and ancillary quantitative material, if any), are minimally two hundred fifty (250) pages in length and double-spaced. In mathematically oriented disciplines such as economics, dissertations may be shorter. Dissertations must be written in Standard English, adhere to proper academic form, and be free of typographical errors. Dissertations that do not meet these criteria will not be admitted to a defense.

The final draft of the dissertation must be prepared in strict accordance with the instructions given by the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School-Newark, Conklin Hall, Room 241.

Defense​ ​and​ ​Submission​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Dissertation:

Upon the approval of the student’s committee members, the committee examines the completed dissertation at an oral, public defense. At the time of the defense, it is the responsibility of the student to obtain the forms and signatures necessary for graduation. This should be done at the same time as the defense. These forms may be obtained from DGA or the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School- Newark, Conklin Hall, Room 241. Once the defense is approved, students must electronically submit the dissertation to the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School-Newark, Conklin Hall, Room 241, no later than the announced deadlines for completion of degree requirements. Specific instruction may be obtained from DGA or the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School- Newark located in Conklin Hall, Room 241. Additionally, one (1) printed copy of your dissertation should be submitted by the student to the Administrative Assistant within the Division of Global Affairs.

Additional​ ​Requirements

Language​ ​Requirement​ ​(No​ ​credit):

All PhD students must demonstrate, at any time during their course of study at DGA, a working familiarity with at least one (1) modern language other than English. Students upon admission submit to the Associate Director a plan for the completion of this requirement.

Students can demonstrate this knowledge by satisfying one of the following:

  • Completing four (4) semesters of a language at Rutgers University or other approved and accredited institutions.
  • Passing reading-knowledge examinations at Rutgers University (administered by DGA or the Rutgers-New Brunswick Language Institute).
  • Graduating from a foreign university where courses are offered in a language other than English.

Language course credits do not count toward the requirements necessary for a Ph.D.


Internships are not required as part of the DGA program. However, upon prior approval from the DGA Director, students may complete an internship for up to three (3) credits with an approved international organization, NGO, government agency, transnational corporation, media organization, or other institution active in some aspect of Global Affairs. Internships generally entail one (1) or more days of work per week for the duration of a semester. Students interested in internship credits should submit a request in writing to the Director and include a description of their duties including the name of the organization, as well as the name and title of the person to whom they report. It is recommended that students not intern until they have completed nine (9) credits. Students are responsible for finding their own positions. DGA does not place students, but will assist students with the process. Upon completion of the internship, students will submit a paper on what they learned and a note of completion and evaluation from their supervisor.

Independent​ ​Study:

PhD students may not exceed six (6) credits of independent study courses explicitly dealing with topics related to global affairs. Such credits should not be used to maintain 20 matriculation, nor can they be submitted in lieu of an AI or the Evolution of the Global System course.

In order to embark upon an independent study, students must:

  • Identify a DGA faculty member willing to supervise the research and grade the paper or project.
  • Register for the course after acquiring a special permission number from the Administrative Assistant and approval from the DGA Director. Students wanting special permission for independent studies should submit the following:
    • Written approval from the faculty member willing to supervise them;
    •  A topic and focus for the paper;
    • Details on the student’s current status.
  • Complete the paper or project within the required time frame and submit it to the DGA faculty member supervising the independent study course for a letter grade.
    • Please note: late papers will result in a lower grade.

The designated faculty member will determine the length and requirements for all papers submitted as part of the independent study. This information will be provided to the student before he/she registers for the independent study.