Global Governance and Human Security, PhD

Prof. Maria Ivanova with the Secretary General and Members of his Scientific Advisory Board

Prof Maria Ivanova with the Secretary General and Members of his Scientific Advisory Board

Issues such as personal security and peacemaking, human rights, economic development, education, health, and the environment are proving impossible to solve through traditional structures of national governments and interstate organizations, or to fully understand through the lens of a single academic discipline. The doctoral program in Global Governance and Human Security is an interdisciplinary program that seeks to address global issues from multiple perspectives and methodological approaches. Its goal is to prepare scholars and analysts to provide intellectual leadership as academics, researchers, or practitioners in nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), intergovernmental agencies, media, national governments, think tanks, and private companies.

Initial cohorts include students from every continent, many of whom are mid-career professionals seeking to advance their analytic & professional development.

The curriculum focuses on the outcomes that matter most to individuals: secure forms of economic welfare and human development; environmental stewardship and sustainability; public health; human rights; human security; political freedom; and the interrelationships among them. Each newly admitted cohort completes a set of core courses during their first year in the program, after which they pursue their area of specialization.  The program’s primary tracks mirror the interconnected strands of a set of global issues: conflict resolution, the environment, gender, human rights and human security, global political economy, human development, and global public health. Students who wish to explore a new area of inquiry can develop their own track and course of study.

Learning Outcomes Include:

  • The juxtaposition and formulation of  the concepts of global governance and human security in terms of both analytic & applied development
  • The recognition and  incorporation of emerging ‘global’ issues to inform both global governance and human security
  • The identification and  definition of emerging non-state actors and norms advancing both global governance and human security
  • Skills development, including:
    • Conflict resolution skills, including cross-cultural negotiation
    • Communication skills (writing, presentation, and Internet-based)
    • Project management, program evaluation, and grant writing
    • Organizational assessment, including assessment of non-traditional governance structures
    • Geopolitical competence (the ability to read, assess, and project global developments related to both current and emerging human security issues)
    • Research design and evaluation
      • Quantitative methods (statistics, geographic information systems, and/or survey methodology) and/or
      • Qualitative methods (ethnography, focus groups, elite interviewing, unobtrusive measures, oral history)

Within UMass Boston, the doctoral program in Global Governance and Human Security is part of the Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance located within the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies. The McCormack School is a dynamic environment that houses three academic departments as well as numerous centers and institutes. These expand opportunities for students to participate in research and field projects locally and globally. Conferences and lectureships allow students to network with outstanding scholars and practitioners from a variety of fields.

In addition to the program coursework, research, and collaboration opportunities, students have the opportunity to participate in the activities of two centers within Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance – the Center for Governance and Sustainability and the Center for Peace, Democracy, and Development.

Financial Support
Accepted students, regardless of nationality, are eligible to receive financial support for up to three years in the form of Research and Teaching Assistantships. Assistantships include waivers of tuition and most fees, plus a cash stipend to help defray living expenses. Recipients spend 18 hours per week supporting faculty research and/or serving as teaching assistants, enhancing academic and professional development.

Coasts and Communities IGERT Fellowship Program

The doctoral program in Global Governance and Human Security is one of four doctoral programs at UMass Boston collaborating in the Coasts and Communities IGERT Fellowship Program. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation as part of its prestigious Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) program, Coasts and Communities will train a new kind of environmental problem solver, one able to think and act across disciplinary and geographic boundaries and to develop and implement sustainable solutions to pressing environmental problems facing coasts and communities.

Students accepted into the Global Governance doctoral program must file a separate application to participate as a fellow in the Coasts and Communities program. For fellows (who must be US citizens), the curriculum of the Global Governance doctoral program will be supplemented by a unique transdisciplinary curriculum constructed for the Coasts and Communities Program. Core requirements in the fields of science, policy, and business reinforce the goals of the program, while fellows gain practical experience through the Environmental Innovations Clinic and field research in the Horn of Africa. Fellows also participate in seminars that emphasize integration of disciplinary and geographic perspectives. For additional information on the IGERT program requirements and admission procedures visit the IGERT's website or contact

Apply to the IGERT program online!