At Gettysburg College, we challenge our students develop a global perspective and an open mind. In our new international and global studies (IGS) major, a merger of the former international affairs and globalization studies programs, students have the opportunity to further cultivate these valuable skillsets—becoming well-informed and thoughtful global citizens.
“By merging these two successful and popular majors into one, we can even more effectively promote the power of a liberal arts education to help students develop critical thinking skills, broad vision, effective communication, a sense of the inter-relatedness of all knowledge, sensitivity to the human condition, and a global perspective,” Provost Chris Zappe said. “Moreover, this merger will allow for a more coherent message to students and prospective students about the value of a multi-disciplinary approach to international and global issues in a liberal arts context.”
The IGS major accepted its first cohort of applicants in October, and, remaining true to its roots, the major offers students two tracks—international affairs and global studies. The international affairs track follows the more traditional, international relations path that emphasizes political science and economics. The global studies track, on the other hand, allows for more self-design by asking students to select courses related to a region and one of the following themes: conflict studies, development studies, global health, global business, social justice and human rights, global environmentalism, global culture, or a self-designed theme.
“As opposed to trying to fully merge international affairs and globalization studies into one single thing, we recognize that they had two different emphases to them,” said Dina Lowy, chair of the IGS department and associate prof. of history. “You can be interested in international and global things in different ways. So, as we designed the combined major, we kept what was unique about both and streamlined our resources in the areas that they overlap.”
All IGS majors will take four core classes in anthropology, economics, history, and political science. Additionally, students within the major are required to take one methods course, four semesters of a language—two more than the traditional Gettysburg requirement—study globally for one semester, and complete a senior seminar.
Looking forward, Lowy is most excited about the future programming opportunities that the merger has made possible. “There’s a hope that with more students—now that we’ve combined two smaller majors into what will now be a larger major—we can have more programming, more opportunities for our majors to interact with each other, and with us as faculty, whether that’s a speaker series, a movie series, or a discussion series,” Lowy said. “Creating a culture among our students is what we’re very excited about.”
With the language and culture skills that students majoring in IGS will gain inside and outside of the classroom, the opportunities after graduation are limitless. Potential career paths for graduates exist in the private and corporate sectors, public service, government, non-profits, and education, but more broadly, IGS applies to all areas of work.
“Even if you don’t end up in a global profession, anything you do, you’re going to come in touch with different people from different places, with different backgrounds,” Lowy said. “I believe the background that the IGS major provides is going to help you navigate that, understand that, and ask the right questions to be an engaged citizen in the world we live in.”
Learn more about the new international and global studies major. Interested students can contact the IGS chair at IGS_Major@gettysburg.edu to discuss the major and start working on the application.
By Molly Foster
Photos by Miranda Harple and Jason Minick