Global Studies is an interdisciplinary major (see Major Requirements) designed to prepare students with new analytical frameworks for understanding “globalization” and for evaluating it critically. In the five core courses (GS101, 102, 290, 301, and 302 - see our full list of Courses Offered), students encounter key concepts and debates over global processes, political economy and cultural studies. These teach new models of knowledge that focus on the rapid circulation and movements of capital, people, knowledge, cultural forms, commodities, environmental pollution, communications, finance and other aspects of 21st-century life. Students learn to view states, cultures, communities, economies and/or ecologies as embedded in larger global structural, historical, cultural and natural contexts. In addition, students learn to locate themselves as active members of the global community and to consider the ethical responsibilities that derive from their particular social locations.
Working closely with an academic advisor, students design their major around a problem or theme, which becomes the basis for an independent project (SYE) in the senior year. The major balances a self-designed concentration with a set of core frames of analysis. Global studies majors are thus well prepared to enter work or graduate study requiring multiple perspectives, self-directed projects and a global orientation. It is strongly recommended that global studies majors spend at least a semester in off-campus study, gaining field experience. They are also required to study a second language. The courses taken off campus count toward the relevant area of concentration and often allow students to do field research toward the senior project.