Designated Emphasis

A. GMS 201

This spring, GMS is offering a graduate seminar, GMS 201, taught by Professor Alison Post. It is designed especially for doctoral students completing dissertations that focus on urban themes. While enrollment is usually restricted to students enrolled in the designated emphasis, this year we will be opening the class up to all post-candidacy doctoral students with projects on relevant topics. Please see the course description below and share it with your doctoral students. Contact Professor Post for additional information. This course constitutes the core research seminar for the Designated Emphasis in Global Metropolitan Studies. It offers an in-depth examination of contemporary research topics, data and methods, and recent research findings in the emerging interdisciplinary field of international urban studies. The seminar will accomplish these objectives through two strategies. First, students will engage intensively with one another’s dissertation projects, using this as an opportunity to understand how research is undertaken in the various disciplines contributing to our understanding of urban and metropolitan processes. Secondly, students will also read and discuss a small set of methodological texts from core disciplines contributing to the field of urban studies. By the end of the course, the students should have a basic understanding of how to engage critically with research conducted in these varying scholarly traditions. Students should also make substantial progress with their dissertation projects in the context of the course.

B. Student Travel Grants Presentation of Research at Conferences

GMS is pleased to announce that students in the Designated Emphasis are eligible to receive a maximum of $500 per year for the presentation of their research at a conference or workshop, through 30 June 2013. Priority will be given for the presentation of a paper, but other forms of participation will also be considered. Travel grants are subject to funding availability and program budget limitations. Submit applications in the following format:

* Applicant's Name: 
* Department: 
* E-mail Address: 
* Year of Study: 
* Departure Date: 
* Return Date: 
* Amount Requested: 
* Role: Select one of the following: research paper/poster presenter other (describe) 
* Title of Original Research Paper or Poster Presentation: 
* Conference Name and Conference Sponsor: 
* Conference Location: A copy of the travel voucher must be submitted to GMS within 15 days of the return date. Students should send an email application to the GMS Co-Directors: Professors James Holston ( and Jason Corburn ( at least 30 days in advance of the conference. An invitation to participate in the meeting or other confirmation must be attached. Before submitting, please verify all information and print a copy for your records.


The Designated Emphasis in Global Metropolitan Studies is for selected UC Berkeley Ph.D. students with interest in metropolitan and regional issues. Students may come from any discipline across campus.

The "Designated Emphasis" is a campus-wide system that provides students with certification in specialties outside their home discipline, to be added to their doctorates.

Requirements of the Designated Emphasis

The Designated Emphasis in Global Metropolitan Studies offers two concentrations:

Comparative Urban Studies
Infrastructure and Environment

Students in the Designated Emphasis program must complete two required courses and three electives for the track they have chosen.

In addition, a core faculty member of the Global Metropolitan Studies graduate group must serve on the Qualifying Examination committee and on the Dissertation Committee.

Admission to the Designated Emphasis

Applicants must already be enrolled or accepted into an existing Ph.D. program at Berkeley (master’s students and students at other institutions are not eligible). Students should apply at least two semesters before the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination.

Interested students must apply for the Designated Emphasis.  They are selected on the basis of academic qualifications, appropriateness of their interests to the program's teaching resources, and the enrollment capacity of the required courses.

Admission to the GMS Designated Emphasis is determined by the GMS co-chairs. Applications are due one week prior to the last day of the fall and spring semester.

Application for the GMS DE (PDF  |  151 KB)
Normative Time Impact on Affiliated Doctoral Programs

If a student enrolls in a designated emphasis, no adjustments will be made to the Normative Time of the student’s major Ph..D program.

Research and Commitee Requirements

The student’s Ph.D. Qualifying Exam Committee must include at least one member of the Global Metropolitan Studies Graduate Group core faculty, who will evaluate the student’s knowledge related to the Designated Emphasis.

The student’s dissertation topic must be related to Global Metropolitan Studies and the Dissertation Committee must include at least one member of the GMS Graduate Group core faculty who can evaluate the dissertation from that perspective.