PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences | HBKU
PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences

Ph.D. in Humanities and Social Sciences

Ph.D. in Humanities and Social Sciences


The Ph.D. program in Humanities and Social Sciences is the first degree of its kind in Qatar, and one of the few in the world providing students with the philosophical and technical grounding to design and tailor their interdisciplinary program while specializing through a dissertation.

The program is flexible, accommodating students who wish to apply their interdisciplinary research in various subjects in humanities and social sciences, while allowing for specializations through a pathway to a Ph.D. in an established field at the time of graduation. It exposes them to identity making, policy-making, development strategies, institution building, leadership guidance, and sustainable development.

Students will draw from a common curriculum and gain skills in interdisciplinary research, yet graduate with a Ph.D. in a field that will offer them strong employment opportunities. Aligned with the objectives of Qatar National Vision 2030, the program equips its students with the personal and professional skills to ensure all graduates are prepared to work globally, with strong sustainability values and connections to the community

Graduates of the program are equipped to:


  • Engage with themes and ideas that cut across disciplines
  • Demonstrate expertise in disciplines within relevant fields
  • Demonstrate expertise in theory
  • Acquire knowledge for advancing research towards societal and scholarly impact
  • Produce original interdisciplinary research

Potential future jobs:

  • Social development specialist 
  • Social communication specialist
  • Postdoc researcher
  • Academic (higher education lecturer & researcher)
  • Independent researcher in your field
  • Sustainable development specialist
  • Translation specialist 
  • Applied linguist


  • The 60-credit hour degree program taught full-time over a minimum of three years in English includes 18 credits of taught courses and 42 credits of supervised research. Ph.D. students must complete all the Ph.D. degree requirements within seven years of matriculation in the Ph.D. program. Drawing on a pedagogical and research collective, students will partake in a common curriculum, gain competence in interdisciplinary research, yet graduate with a Ph.D. that will support their employment opportunities.
  • All courses are taught in English.


The curriculum requires students to take the following courses and exams:

    • Explorations in Global Humanities
    • Explorations in Interdisciplinarity
    • Three Open Elective Courses (can be taken from across HBKU programs and other QF campuses)
    • Doctoral Independent Study
    • Dissertation
  • Students will also take three open elective courses for disciplinary breadth. These can be taken from across HBKU programs and other QF campuses.

  • List of Courses:

    Total of 60 credit hours

    3 Core Courses (9 credit hours)

    Code Course
    Code: HSS 700 Course: Explorations in Global Humanities
    Code: HSS 706 Course: Doctoral Independent Study
    Code: HSS 720 Course: Explorations in Interdisciplinarity


  • 3 Elective Courses (9 credit hours)

    • In consultation with their supervisors
    • Can be from any College at HBKU
  • Dissertation (42 credit hours completed over semesters 5-8)

    Code Course
    Code: HSS 890 Course: Dissertation Hours
  • Non-Course Requirements

    Code Course
    Code: 899 Course: Dissertation Defense 
    Code: 790 Course: Doctoral Qualifying Exam (in the third semester) 
    Code: 799 Course: Candidacy Exam (in the fourth semester)