Global Studies Major and Minor Requirements

Global Studies is an interdisciplinary major 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.

Major Requirements

Take eight Global Studies core courses, do an off-campus study program, and explore your intellectual interests!  We require 15 units towards the major, including off-campus courses, and courses outside the department, depending upon students' concentrations.  Students are encouraged to take 101 and 102 in their first year and must complete all the core courses in the department.

    1. Core Courses (8 units)
  • 101.        Introduction to Global Studies: Political Economy.
  • 102.        Introduction to Global Studies: Race, Culture and Identity.
  • 290.        Research Methods in Global Studies.
  • 301.        Theories of Global Political Economy.
  • 302.        Theories of Global Cultural Studies.
  • Two (2) Global Studies electives (GS designation), one at the 200 level and one at the 300 level, and should normally fit in with the student’s choice of concentration (below). For example, GS324 and GS365 for Global Public Health
  • 489 or 490. SYE: Senior Project. or
  • 498,499. SYE: Honors Project.
    1. Choice of Concentrations (7 units, including study of a second language).

Students have three tracks they can choose from to mold their concentration, which can be satisfied with department courses, other on-campus courses, general education requirements courses, and off-campus courses.

                These are:

  1. Comparative area studies: complete three (3) courses in each of two geographic or cultural areas; and one semester of a second language; or
  2. One-area intense study: complete four (4) -courses in one geographic or cultural area and three semesters of a second language related to their area concentration; or
  3. Area and thematic study: complete three (3)courses in one geographic or cultural area, and three (3) courses in one thematic area; and one semester of a second language.

Programs available for students’ geographic or cultural area concentrations include:

  • Arabic Studies
  • African Studies
  • African-American Studies
  • Asian Studies
  • Canadian Studies
  • Caribbean, Latin American, and Latino Studies
  • European Studies
  • Native American Studies
  • Other areas (e.g., Middle Eastern or Islamic Studies) with approval of the department chair.

Programs available for students’ thematic area concentrations include:

  • Global Public Health
  • Digital Media and Film
  • Diasporas, Migration and Borders
  • Global Development
  • Environmental Studies
  • Race, Gender and Sexuality
  • Governance and Security
  • Education and Critical pedagogies
  • Peace and Conflict
  • Business and Finance

Other areas with the approval of the department chair.

All global studies majors are expected to spend at least a semester in off-campus study, gaining field experience and praxis. They are also required to study a second language. The courses taken off campus typically count toward the relevant area of concentration and often allow students to do field research toward the senior project (SYE). Students are encouraged to meet early with a Global Studies faculty member to discuss off-campus study possibilities.


To be considered for honors in global studies, students must achieve a minimum GPA of 3.5 in the major and 3.2 overall and submit for evaluation a one-year research project of substantial length. Further details may be obtained in the department office.

Minor Requirements

The global studies minor consists of six courses: GS 101, 102, either 301 or 302, two (2) electives in global studies, normally one at the 200 level and one at the 300 level, and a semester of second language study.