Globalization Studies Major

Note: This page contains information that is only for students who have already declared a GS major prior to the 2020–21 academic year.

The globalization studies major is both interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary. Students must apply to the major and design their own course of study following the guidelines outlined below. Course requirements for the twelve-course major consist of five core courses, three courses in each of two tracks, and a senior capstone project. Globalization Studies majors must also study abroad or complete some other off-campus program. The requirements are outlined below.

On this page:

Core Requirements (five courses)

Core requirements for the major include four foundation courses and one methods course. Students are encouraged to complete the core requirements by the end of the sophomore year. The purpose of these core courses is to provide a common base of knowledge for all students as well as a basic set of skills and tools with which they can analyze global issues from the perspective of cultures, states, non-state actors, and systems. All five core courses must be taken on campus. Foundation courses, for which majors must earn a grade of C- or better, include the following:

  • Anth 103 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • Econ 104 Principles of Macroeconomics
  • GS 225
  • Pol 103 Introduction to International Relations or Pol 104 Introduction to Comparative Politics

No AP credits will be accepted for foundation courses.

Students take one course from among the discipline-based methods courses currently offered on campus. Students should take the methods course that best fits with the thematic track they choose for the globalization studies major. This course must be taken before the capstone, and majors must earn a minimum grade of C-. The methods courses students may choose from include, but are not limited to:

  • ANTH 323 Field Methods in Cultural Anthropology
  • ARTH 214 Methods in Art History
  • CIMS 226 Media and Cultural Theory
  • ECON 241 Introductory Economics and Business Statistics
  • ES 230 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems or
  • ES 196 Environmental Science and Society
  • GER 240 Intro to German Studies: Methods and Theories
  • HIST 300 Historical Method
  • HS-232 Statistics for the Health Sciences
  • HS-326 Epidemiology
  • OMS 235 Statistical Methods
  • Pol 215 Political Science Research Methods
  • SOC 302 Research Methods
  • SPAN 304 Hispanic Linguistics Today
  • SPAN 305 Intro to Literary/Cultural Studies
  • WGS 340 Methods

Tracks (six courses)

Students take courses in each of two self-designed tracks. Up to three courses may be taken off campus, and students who study abroad two semesters may apply four off-campus courses to the major, though no single track may contain more than two off-campus courses.

Regional track

The major requires three courses that focus on a single region of the student’s choosing. The purpose of these courses is to ground students in the realities of a particular geographic region's experiences with the processes of globalization. Students can choose to take courses that examine independently and comparatively the history, politics, economics, cultures, literatures, and fine arts of sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, East Asia, Western Europe, Latin America, or the Middle East and North Africa. Students may also define other regions for study, provided that the proposed curriculum and rationale are approved.

One of the three courses should focus on some historical aspect of the region in question and one course on some aspect of society and culture in the region. The courses that make up the regional track must draw from at least two disciplines. As part of the process of declaring the globalization studies major, students are asked to provide a rationale for their choice of regional track. The courses for the regional track must be taken at the 200 level and above, with at least one course at the 300 level or higher. Finally, students should complete the College's foreign language requirement in a language appropriate to the region on which they have chosen to focus plus one additional year of language. See language requirements below.

Thematic track

The major requires three courses with a thematic focus. The purpose of these courses is for students to gain in-depth knowledge of some substantive area of globalization studies that combines different disciplines. The courses that make up the thematic track must draw from at least two disciplines. As part of the process of declaring the globalization studies major, students are asked to provide a rationale for their choice of thematic track and must demonstrate a link between their thematic track and methods course. The courses for the thematic track must be taken at the 200 level and above, with at least one course at the 300 level or higher.

Capstone/Senior Seminar

Students take an interdisciplinary capstone seminar, GS 440, during the spring of their senior year. The seminar, offered by faculty teaching in the globalization studies program, requires students to conduct research on some challenge currently facing the global system. Majors must earn a minimum grade of C-. Students must complete the methods course and off-campus study before enrolling in the capstone.

GS 440: An intensive seminar experience in which students in the final semester of their GS major will have an opportunity to interact, learn, and bond as a cohort. The capstone will meet once a week for 2.5 hours, during which time students will undertake a common core of coursework related to Globalization as an interdisciplinary field of study. A major objective of the capstone is the completion of an individual capstone project or thesis which reflects a synthesis of the student's regional studies, thematic tracks, study abroad experience, and capstone-related independent research. Students are expected to present their work in a public forum.

Study Abroad or other off-campus study

Globalization Studies majors are required to spend at least one semester studying abroad or participating in some other off-campus program, such as the Washington, D.C., semester programs offered through American University and Lutheran College.  Students should select a program that complements the Regional Track of their major.

Language requirements for GS Majors

All GS majors graduating in 2014 or later must also take four foreign language courses. The first two courses are required to meet the college's language requirement. The next two courses can be in the same language or in one or two additional language(s). These can be taken on campus or off campus. Half-credit language courses, such as those offered by SIT in less-commonly taught languages, will count. Languages should be appropriate to the regional track.

For those planning to Double Major

Students who declare a major in addition to the globalization studies major may count up to three courses from their other major toward the requirements for the globalization studies major.

Courses for already-declared GS Majors