PhD program

Introduction to the Global Governance PhD Program

Approved by the Province of Ontario in 2006, the Global Governance PhD program, offered jointly by the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, is committed to providing students with training for a wide range of careers in the field of global governance. In addition to the academic curriculum, we offer supplementary “professionalization” programming, and are normally able to offer funds to support field research and travel to academic conferences. We also provide students with opportunities to gain relevant international work experience, whether as a visiting scholar at a top-ranked university, a fellow at a leading think tank, or an intern with an internationally recognized non-governmental organization or in the UN system.

The PhDGG program is one of three academic programs housed at the Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA), which is an institute for advanced research, education, and outreach in the fields of global governance and international public policy whose mission is to develop new solutions to humanity’s critical problems, to improve global governance now and in the future, and to contribute to enhancing the quality of people’s lives around the world.

Founded in 2007 by philanthropist Jim Balsillie, BSIA is an equal collaboration among the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), the University of Waterloo (UW), and Wilfrid Laurier University (Laurier). The collaborating institutions bring to BSIA different but complementary strengths, so they have different roles and responsibilities. The two universities employ BSIA faculty and offer BSIA’s academic programs, while CIGI, as a think tank, uses its in-house expertise and its worldwide network of practitioners to help inform and guide BSIA’s outreach and collaborative research.

The objectives of the PhDGG program are:

  1. 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. Graduates are expected to acquire competence in conducting research and preparing scholarly publications. The program is designed to provide both a broad knowledge of global governance and training in basic research. These objectives are being achieved by requiring study of global governance issues through a combination of formal course work, comprehensive examinations, an internship experience, research and teaching assistant positions, and independent research leading to the completion of a dissertation.
  2. 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, sociology, global studies, environmental studies, and business, among others. This objective is met by requiring students to take at least one course from each of the three core disciplines, as well as a wide range of choice from the related disciplines. It is furthered through the required research methods course, which addresses the methodological, epistemological and ontological challenges of interdisciplinary research as well as the doctoral research seminar which exposes students to research from a wide range of disciplines. The interdisciplinary training we provide for our students is historically sensitive, theoretically flexible to a range of possible explanations, and alert to deeper interpretations of relevant data.
  3. To expose students to a broad-range of global governance relevant research conducted by world-class researchers.
  4. To provide experiential learning. Students have the option of spending a minimum of one academic term as interns working on global governance issues in the public or private sector, at a research institute, or for a non-governmental organization.