Graduate Catalog
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
Planning, Governance, and Globalization
College of Liberal Arts & Human Sciences
Erected in 1916 as Blacksburg High School. Purchased by the University as part of three building package totaling $310,000 at auction in 1965. Used as the main office for the School of Public and International Affairs, and Urban Affairs and Planning.
110 Architecture Annex, Mail Code: 0113 Blacksburg VA 24061
Architecture Annex Building
Degree(s) Offered:
• PhD
PhD Degree in Planning, Governance, and Globalization
Minimum GPA: 3.1
Offered In:
National Capital Region
Phone Number(s):
Application Deadlines:
Fall: Aug 01
Spring: Jan 01
To get Google Maps directions from:

The Graduate School
Architecture Annex Building

Get Directions

Interim Department Head : Timothy Luke
Graduate Program Director(s) : Ariel Ahram (GG Track Director), Thomas Sanchez (UEDP Track Director)
Emeriti Faculty: James Bohland
Professors: Ariel Ahram (National Capital Region); Ralph Buehler (National Capital Region); Ralph Hall; Ilja Luciak; Timothy Luke; Joel Peters (National Capital Region); Thomas Sanchez; Max Stephenson; Gerard Toal (National Capital Region); Edward Weisband
Associate Professors: David Bieri; Margaret Cowell (National Capital Region); Giselle Datz (National Capital Region); Steven Hankey; Shalini Misra (National Capital Region); Todd Schenk; Ioannis Stivachtis; Diane Zahm; Yang Zhang
Assistant Professors: Nataliya Brantly; Chad Levinson (National Capital Region); Theodore Lim; Paroma Wagle
University Distinguished Professor: Timothy Luke
Edward S. Diggs Professor in the Social Studies: Edward Weisband

Planning, Governance, and Globalization Introduction

The Ph.D. program in Planning, Governance and Globalization (PGG) is one of two Ph.D. programs available in the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA), the other being the Ph.D. in Public Administration. The Ph.D. in PGG attracts students with widely differing backgrounds and interests. In order to accommodate this diversity, curriculum requirements are defined in two tracks with several thematic areas. These are:

Urban & Environmental Design & Planning Track
Thematic Areas:
  • Metropolitan Development
  • Community & Economic Development Planning
  • International Development Planning
  • Environmental Planning & Sustainability
  • Landscape Planning & Landscape Analysis
  • Transportation Planning
  • Physical Planning & Urban Design

Governance & Globalization Track
Thematic Areas:
  • Governance: Institutions & Civil Society
  • Globalization: Identities, Security, & Economies

Graduate Student Organization

The Planning, Governance and Globalization Student Association (PGGSA) represents PhD students in the PGG program in SPIA and acts as a coordination vehicle for academic and extra curricular activities of PGG students.
Offered In (Blacksburg, National Capital Region)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.1
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
    • Paper
      • 600.0
    • Computer
      • 250.0
    • iBT
      • 100.0
Each doctoral student must complete a minimum of 90 semester hours of graduate study and a dissertation.  All students are required to fulfill the requirements for their track or specialization and those of the Graduate School. The curriculum of this doctoral program will follow a flexible research-based program by requiring a small core of courses and by offering two major tracks, as well as thematic areas under each track.

By the end of their first 24 credit hours in the program all students will be expected to have:
(1) developed a plan of study;
(2) selected a faculty advisory committee of a minimum four members; and
(3) completed a "qualifying examination" by their faculty advisory committee. The qualifying examination ensures that the student is making satisfactory progress toward the degree.

By the time students complete the preliminary exam, they must have met the Graduate School's Ethics Requirement.  Meeting this mandatory requirement ordinarily will be satisfied by taking SPIA 6014 (Pedagogy and Learning) or in extraordinary circumstances, when SPIA 6014 cannot be taught, by other courses agreed to by the student's advisory committee.

Governance & Globalization Track Requirements

The following courses can be used to meet the 12-hour, 4-course core requirements.  Accordingly, all students would take 12 credit hours of common core courses:
  • Pedagogy (3cr): SPIA 6014 or approved substitution.
  • Theory (3cr): GIA/PSCI 6114: Critical Geopolitics or equiv. approved by advisor.
  • Methods (6cr): GIA/PSCI 5115: Research Methods (3 hrs)
    and one (or more) of the following:
    • GIA 5464: Qualitative Methods in Global Studies (3hrs)
    • GIA/PSCI/UAP 5504: Discourse Analysis (3hrs)
    • UAP 5224: Planning Methods and Technologies (Statistics) (3hrs)
  • Also required:
    • Research (30cr minimum): GIA 7994: Research and Dissertation.

Urban & Environmental Design & Planning Track Requirements

Students must have preparation in the diverse theoretical literatures that define the field and in both quantitative/analytic and qualitative/field research methods, as well as training in research design. Accordingly, all students would take 12 credit hours of common core courses:
  • Pedagogy (3cr):  SPIA 6014 or approved substitution.
  • Theory (3cr):  SPIA 6104: Planning Theory Seminar or approved substitution. (Take before Qualifying Exam). This seminar traces the epistemology of major contemporary theories of planning so as to situate the activity of modern planning in historical and intellectual contexts.
  • Methods (6cr):
    • UAP 5484: Research Methodology (3cr), and
    • UAP 5494 (Advanced Quantitative Techniques (3cr),
    • or equivalents.
  • Also required:
    • Research (30cr minimum): UAP 7994: Research and Dissertation.

Students pursuing thematic areas Landscape/Environmental Planning and Landscape Analysis will be required to complete two additional core courses, although these may be waived if students have already taken equivalent courses successfully.
  • LAR 5314 -Contemporary Research Topics (3 credits)
  • LAR 5344 -Scholarship of Place (3 credits)
Following successful completion of the "qualifying evaluation" students continue to take coursework as outlined in their plans of study. At the completion of coursework, students will undertake the "preliminary examination", a formal assessment of each student's preparedness to pursue advanced graduate research. Within 60 days of passage of the preliminary examination, students must defend the dissertation proposal before his or her faculty advisory committee. Upon completion of the dissertation, the student must defend it before the committee. Graduate School policies and guidelines determine all other degree requirements.

Planning, Governance, and Globalization Facilities Introduction

SPIA is associated with one university-wide center (VCHR) and one SPIA institute (IPG).

The Institute for Policy and Governance (IPG) facilitates and provides leadership in Virginia Tech's outreach mission to organizations in the Commonwealth's public and non-profit sectors, as well as national and international agencies. The Institute works with existing public service, extension, and outreach programs to respond effectively to existing demands on their services. The Institute identifies new opportunities for outreach, extension, and supporting research pertaining to administration, management, planning, and policy analysis related to public and non-profit organizations.

The Virginia Center for Housing Research (VCHR) has a mission to serve as "an interdisciplinary study, research, and information resource on housing for the Commonwealth of Virginia." Consulting on housing issues with the General Assembly, federal, state and local agencies, nonprofit organizations, private industry, and other colleges and universities, the Center also plays a role in the state's housing policy and research network. The Center provides data services related to housing to local and state governments, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit businesses.

The Land Design and Simulation Lab conducts studies of the environmental impacts of proposed land alternations and proposes measures that can be implemented to mitigate adverse impacts.

Architecture Annex - Blacksburg

The Architecture Annex is the main administrative building for the School of Public and International Affairs and houses the Government and International Affairs and Urban Affairs and Planning programs of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. The Architecture Annex is the Blacksburg home for the PGG program and is located at 140 Otey Street, NW. 

Virginia Tech Research Center - Arlington

The PGG Program in Arlington is housed in the Virginia Tech Research Center — Arlington.   Located at 900 N. Glebe Road, The Virginia Tech Research Center — Arlington is a highly visible state-of-the-art facility designed to further the university’s mission to expand its research portfolio in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area. The region offers great opportunities for partnerships with corporate research entities and close proximity to government agencies and other public and private-sector organizations. The building is located in the vibrant Ballston district of Arlington, a short distance from many of the leading science and research agencies of the federal government and many high-technology companies.