Carnegie Mellon University

What is Global Studies?

The B.A. in Global Studies is an interdepartmental major designed for students interested in humanistic approaches to understanding past and present processes of globalization. Participating faculty in the departments of History, Modern Languages, English, and Philosophy conduct research in Africa, China, Europe, Japan, Latin America, the Pacific, and South Asia. The rigorous yet flexible Global Studies curriculum combines anthropology, history, literary and cultural studies, and advanced language training in order to help students make sense of complex interactions among global processes, regional and local cultures, and societal structures. In other words, Global Studies majors develop a broad understanding of their prospects and responsibilities as "citizens of the world" confronting challenging contemporary problems.

There are two required courses for the major: introduction to Global Studies and Advanced Seminar in Global Studies. Majors also have to select from several courses focused on theory, transnational histories, and regional/national histories and cultures.

Demonstrating intermediate to advanced level proficiency in a language other than English is a crucial component of the major in Global Studies. Normally this requirement can be satisfied by successfully completing a course conducted in the second language at the 300 level or above for French, German, Italian, or Spanish, or the fourth semester (Intermediate II) level or above for Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, or Russian. Comparable proficiency for other languages can be considered. Additional advanced cultural, historical, and literary study in the second language is strongly recommended.

In addition to coursework at Carnegie Mellon, Global Studies majors are encouraged to incorporate a semester of study abroad into their course of study in order to immerse themselves in society different from their own with unfamiliar cultural practices, language, and history. Majors should consult frequently with the program's advisor and with participating faculty who will help students to craft a coherent course of study on specific regions and/or topics that may lead to the development of independent research projects. Program faculty and the academic advisor will also work with students to connect their academic interests and their participation in student organizations and/or organizations based in Pittsburgh with transnational reach.

Global Studies may be elected as a primary or an additional major; the requirements for each are the same.

Students should consult each semester with the academic advisor about new courses approved for the Global Studies major. Students may “double-count” a maximum of two courses for the Global Studies major that are used to fulfill the requirements of other majors and programs. Note that some of the courses have prerequisites established by the department offering them. Global Studies students should consult with the academic advisor concerning how such prerequisites may affect their course of study.