Global Inclusion and Social Development, PhD

Post-Master's and Post-BA OptionsConcentrations | Second Language RequirementSGISD Core Courses

Application deadline: Jan 2 for fall admission (no spring admission).

Review our application checklist here.

Download the student handbook here.

Our 67-credit PhD program in global inclusion and social development focuses on inclusion as it intersects with social justice, human rights, and economic policy from a global perspective. Students complete core courses and then select an area of concentration.

Our students work with our faculty and field experts to engage in the dynamic study of the complex, crucial interrelationships among health, wellness, and social and economic development in individuals and populations that are often excluded. Scholars in our program examine multiple causes of exclusion, such as gender, race, economic status, and sexual orientation.

Our goal is to foster leaders in the field who learn how to create and develop solutions for change outside of the classroom, and to build inclusion out in the community as advocates and practitioners.

Post-Master's and Post-BA Options

There are two options available for completing a PhD in Global Inclusion and Social development. Students who have completed a master’s degree prior to entering the PhD program can complete the 52-credit post-master’s track. Students who are interested in earning a second master’s degree, or do not have a master’s degree, can complete the 67-credit post-BA track. 

You can read in detail about both post-master's and the post-BA options in our student handbook.


1. Individualized plan of study: This option is for those with specific interests not fully addressed within existing SGISD courses. Students choose to examine an important and relevant area of study within global inclusion and social development studies, and take courses across departments at UMass Boston that relate to their chosen area of focus. An example might be working with refugee and immigrant populations in the US or abroad.

2. Or, students may select from the following concentrations:

  • Our human rights track focuses on the framework needed to foster inclusive change throughout societies and organizations. By understanding how to advocate for social justice, and how to mobilize and measure local and international movements, students examine how to advance human well-being, rights to health, education, and decent work for all. A certificate in human rights is also available.
  • Our track in transnational, cultural, and community studies, or TCCS, is a collaboration with the College of Liberal Arts. TCCS looks at migration patterns and other population movements, as well as race/ethnicity, and analyzes these topics through the lenses of culture, community, identity, and citizenship.
  • The disability studies track prepares students to work with people with disabilities in various capacities and to become leaders and advocates in the field. This track benefits from the expertise of our colleagues at the Institute for Community Inclusion, a research and training institute based within SGISD.
  • The nonprofit management track prepares students to hold a leadership position at a nonprofit organization. Students take courses from the College of Management to gain proficiency in business practices, and learn how to apply those to running a nonprofit.
  • Our gerontology track prepares students to understand senior citizens from a social and psychological perspective, and to work in the community or at a policy level to support today’s vast aging populations. Our partner for this concentration is the Department of Gerontology in the McCormack Graduate School.
  • Students who choose the rehabilitation counseling track will learn to help people who face barriers to employment find fulfilling work. Populations often supported by rehabilitation counselors include veterans, immigrants, and people with disabilities. Note that this track is different from the Rehabilitation Counseling MS program also available within SGISD.
  • Students who elect our transition leadership track will train as leaders who can help people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups attend college, enter the workforce, and live independently. Note that this track is different from the Transition Leadership Certificate also offered by SGISD.
  • Students who opt for our vision studies track will develop best practices in order to advocate for and support individuals with low vision so that they may thrive in their daily lives and in their communities. Note that this track is different from the SGISD Vision Studies MEd program.

Second Language Requirement

SGISD requires that each PhD student achieve a certain level of proficiency in a language other than their native language. Proficiency may be demonstrated in a variety of ways, all of which are detailed in the student handbook (download the handbook here).

SGISD Core Courses

All students must complete GISD 601, 605, 606 and 801. Students must then take three additional courses, choosing one option from each of the following: 608 or 609; 610 or 611; and 615 or 616. Visit the course catalog for complete descriptions.