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

Doctor of Philosophy in Humanities and Social Sciences

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Humanities and Social Sciences is the first degree of its kind in Qatar, and one of the few in the world. The program provides students with the philosophical and methodological grounding to design and tailor their own interdisciplinary research project while specializing through a dissertation.

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

Students will draw from a standard curriculum and gain skills in interdisciplinary research, yet graduate with a PhD in a field that will offer them substantial employment opportunities. Aligned with the objectives of the 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 span across different 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:

  • Academic
  • Applied linguist
  • Independent researcher
  • Postdoc researcher
  • Social communication specialist
  • Social development specialist
  • Sustainable development specialist
  • Translation specialist


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


The curriculum requires students to take six courses (three core and three elective courses), complete two exams (qualifying exam and candidacy exam), and complete and defend a dissertation.

    • Explorations in Global Humanities
    • Explorations in Interdisciplinarity
    • Doctoral Independent Study
    • Candidacy Exam
    • Dissertation
  • List of Courses:

    Three core courses (9 credits)

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


  • Three elective courses (9 credits)

    • In consultation with their supervisors
    • Can be from any college at HBKU
  • Dissertation (42 credits 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 semester 3) 
    Code: 799 Course: Candidacy Exam (in semester 4)