PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences - HBKU
PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences

PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences

Admission & Application Requirements

Applicants seeking admission to the PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences should have a master’s degree in a relevant field with a minimum 3.0 GPA or equivalent. Applicants should demonstrate strong evidence that they possess the qualities to become successful researchers and academics. These include outstanding academic performance from a recognized institution as well as a proven track record of commitment to innovative and original research.
Applicants are required to submit an IELTS score of 6.5 or a TOEFL score of 79 in order to demonstrate their proficiency in English. Applicants can be exempt from this requirement if they meet one of the conditions listed below:

  • The applicant completed their studies at an institution in a country where English is the official language.
  • The applicant provides an official letter from the university where they completed their studies confirming that they obtained their degree from an institution where the medium of instruction is English (if not otherwise exempt).
  • The applicant’s first language is English.

GRE General Test results are mandatory; admitted candidates must fulfil this requirement within the first year of their PhD studies.*

*Applicants who apply for Fall 2020 onwards will be required to submit the GRE score at the time of application.  


Admission for the PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences for the 2019-2020 academic year is now closed. For information about applying for the 2020-2021 academic year, please continue to monitor this site as we will post information in a few months.

Academic transcripts

Official electronic copies of transcripts should be submitted as part of the online application. Final transcripts are required for all previous university studies. All transcripts submitted should include an explanation of the grading system.

For those who have not completed their current studies, transcripts must include results from the last completed semester of coursework. Transcripts in languages other than English or Arabic must be accompanied with an official translation.

Applicants who are admitted to the program based on copies of or incomplete transcripts will be required to provide original transcripts upon enrollment in order to register for courses.

Standardized test results

Official copies (where required) must be sent directly to HBKU. Please refer to the institutional codes below:

  • GRE: 7551
  • TOEFL: 4981
  • IELTS: No code required. Students should ask the IELTS center where they tested to send the IELTS TRF to Hamad Bin Khalifa University

Applicants should also submit copies of their test scores with the online application.

Letters of recommendation

Applicants should submit at least two letters of recommendation, preferably from academic referees. Referees should send their letters of recommendation from their professional email directly to  
Letters which are not directly written for this program or which are incomplete will not be accepted. 

Click here to download the recommendation form

Statement of Purpose

Applicants should submit a statement of purpose as part of the online application. The statement should explain:

  • Observations on how the candidate’s academic or professional background has prepared them for the degree.
  • Academic or professional career goals upon completion of the degree.
  • Area(s) of research interest.
  • Any strengths or weaknesses in the candidate’s professional profile.
    (minimum of 500 words to a maximum of 1,000 words)

Resume/curriculum vitae

Applicants should submit a copy of their current resume or curriculum vitae as part of the online application. This should include the following information:

  • Academic qualifications
  • Professional experience
  • Publications
  • Research projects
  • Academic awards or honors
  • Conference presentations

Identification document

All applicants should submit an electronic copy of their passport as part of the online application. Nationals and residents of Qatar should also submit their Qatari ID.

Student funding

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences provides opportunities for scholarships/funding on a competitive basis. Further information will be provided to applicants who are admitted to the program.

  • Please do not submit any additional application materials which are not on the list of required items. Any additional materials received will be automatically discarded.
  • HBKU cannot return documents to the applicant once they are submitted.
  • All documents submitted through the online application must be in PDF format. Any documents submitted in a different format will not be accepted.

**We strongly encourage all interested students to submit their applications as soon as possible. The admissions review process will be conducted on a rolling basis and may stop once seats are filled.