Concentration in Global Cultural Studies

The Major in Global Studies —
Concentration in Global Cultural Studies

The concentration in Global Cultural Studies focuses on the practical and theoretical issues arising from cross-cultural encounters around the world. Students will study these by both examining traditional cultural products (e.g., literature, film, visual art, new media) and investigating their broader political and social contexts. This concentration addresses compelling issues of cultural interchange for students interested in cultures for their own sake as well as in careers in NGOs and international business and law. This concentration is committed to interdisciplinary approaches to contemporary problems. Students may take courses in the traditional language and literature disciplines as well as in anthropology, art history, film, history, music, religious studies, and women, gender, and sexuality studies.

General Requirements

One semester of language must be completed before declaring the major.

  • Students must complete a minimum of 36 units in Global Studies, including at least three courses focused on a world area.
  • Students must complete at least 24 units at the 300 level or above, including courses across a minimum of three academic disciplines.
  • Students must complete at least 6 units at the 400 level, no more than 3 of which may be directed research or independent study.
  • In addition to the 36 units, students must complete a four-semester sequence of courses in one modern language appropriate to their concentration.

These requirements may be fulfilled only with college-level course work undertaken during a student's undergraduate enrollment. Courses must be taken for a grade, and a student must receive a grade of C+ or higher in all courses.

This concentration requires 36 units of course work:

  • 6 units of disciplinary introductions and methods course work (from two different disciplines; 100-200 level)
  • 6 units of world area course work (any level)
  • 24 units of advanced course work (at least one course must focus on gender, race, or class) (300-400 level)

Africa, East Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, South Asia and North America are considered world areas for the Global Cultural Studies concentration. A student must complete two courses in one of these world areas and one course in another world area.

Note: A single course may satisfy more than one of the distribution requirements (i.e., disciplinary; gender, race, class; or world area). Some of these requirements may be completed while abroad.

Disciplinary introductions and methods courses (choose two from this list,* for a total of 6 units):

AFAS 255Introduction to Africana Studies3
Anthro 160BIntroduction to Cultural Anthropology3
Art-Arch 111Introduction to Asian Art3
Art-Arch 113History of Western Art, Architecture & Design3
Art-Arch 215Introduction to Modern Art, Architecture and Design3
Comp Lit 211World Literature3
Econ 1011Introduction to Microeconomics3
Econ 1021Introduction to Macroeconomics3
Film 220Introduction to Film Studies3
FYP 116Ampersand: Geographies of Globalization and Development3
FYP 117Ampersand: Global Population on the Move: Refugees, Resettlement, Education, and Advocacy3
GS (IAS) 103BFirst-Year Seminar: International Public Affairs3
GS (IAS) 127Migration in the Global World: Stories3
GS (IAS) 155First-Year Seminar: Mapping the World: Introduction to Human Geography3
GS (IAS) 207Crossing Borders: An Introduction to Institutions and Concepts in Global Studies3
History 1500Silver, Slaves and the State: Globalization in the 18th Century3
History 164Introduction to World History: The Second World War in World History3
History 1640Health and Disease in World History3
History 270Globalization and its Discontents3
IPH 175First-Year Seminar: Seeing is Believing: Visuality, Power, and Truth3
IPH 207CAmpersand: Modern Political Thought: Text and Traditions3
IPH 312Introduction to Digital Humanities3
Introduction to Literature courses as appropriate (English, Comp Lit or foreign language)3
Music 1021Musics of the World3
Phil 120FProblems in Philosophy3
Phil 131FPresent Moral Problems3
Pol Sci 103BInternational Politics3
Pol Sci 106Introduction to Political Theory3
SOC 2010The Roots of Ferguson: Understanding Racial Inequality in the Contemporary U.S.3
WGSS 100BIntroduction to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies3
WGSS 206Sexuality and the State: Introduction to Sexuality Studies3

World area courses:

Of the three required world area courses, one must be at the advanced level, and it will be counted toward the 24 credits of advanced work needed to complete the major. The other two courses may be taken at any level. Examples of lower-level courses that may be used to satisfy this requirement include the following:

AFAS 162Contextualizing Problems in Contemporary Africa3
AFAS 178First-Year Seminar: Imagining and Creating Africa: Youth, Culture, and Change3
AFAS 209BAfrican Studies: An Introduction3
AFAS 2230The African Diaspora: Black Internationalism Across Time and Space3
AFAS 255Introduction to Africana Studies3
AMCS 250Topics in Asian American Studies: Intro to Asian American & Pacific Islander Studies3
East Asia 227CChinese Civilization3
GS (IAS) 111First-Year Seminar: The Vietnam Wars3
GS (IAS) 140East Asia in the World3
GS (IAS) 229Modern European History: Migrations, Nation States, Identities3
GS (IAS) 244Introduction to European Studies3
History 102CWestern Civilization II3
History 102DIntroduction to Modern European History3
History 2157First-Year Seminar: The Meaning of Pakistan: History, Culture, Art3
Japan 226CJapanese Civilization3
JIMES 208FIntroduction to Jewish Civilization: History and Identity3
JIMES 210CIntroduction to Islamic Civilization3
Korean 223CKorean Civilization3
LatAm 165DLatin America: Nation, Ethnicity and Social Conflict3

Advanced courses: Choose eight courses from current, relevant, internationally focused course offerings in the following departments.* All courses must be approved by the student's Global Studies adviser in order to count for the major. Visit the concentration webpage and master course list for the full list of options.

  • African and African-American Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Applied Linguistics
  • Architecture
  • Art History
  • Children's Studies
  • Classics
  • Dance
  • Drama
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Film and Media Studies
  • Global Studies
  • History
  • Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities
  • Jewish, Islamic and Middle Eastern Cultures
  • Languages and Literatures
  • Latin American Studies
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Psychological and Brain Sciences
  • Religious Studies
  • Sociology
  • Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Additional Requirements and Information

Study Abroad

  • We strongly encourage students to study abroad. For those who do not study abroad and receive credit toward the Global Studies General Requirements, an additional 3-unit course at the 300 or 400 level is required.
  • We strongly prefer students to select a study abroad location and regional specialization consistent with their chosen language of study (e.g., if a student wishes to study in Latin America, they must satisfy their language requirement with either Portuguese or Spanish).
  • Students may receive a maximum of 6 credits from a single semester, 12 credits from a year, or 3 credits from a summer term of study abroad.
  • Students may apply no more than 12 total credits to the Global Studies major from study abroad, University College, summer school at other U.S. universities, or any combination thereof.
  • To receive credit for a summer course completed at another institution, a student should fill out the Approval for Non-WashU Course Credit form with Arts & Sciences to take the course for "general credit" and then petition to have the course count toward their Global Studies major.

Latin Honors

  • Students must confidently expect to graduate with an overall grade-point average of 3.65 or higher to qualify for Latin Honors.
  • Students should enroll in GS (IAS) 485 Preparation for Global Studies Honors Thesis during the fall of senior year and in GS (IAS) 486 Global Studies Senior Honors Thesis during the spring of senior year (under the corresponding section number of the faculty member overseeing the student's thesis).

Language Requirement

  • All Global Studies majors must satisfy a language requirement that entails the successful completion of four semesters of one modern language appropriate to their concentration. For some students, this may mean the first four semesters of a language; for others who place into advanced language classes — and with approval from Global Studies language faculty — this may include literature, culture, oral communication, and linguistic courses in the target language, once such students complete the basic language sequence.
  • Students are encouraged to study more than one language at Washington University, but they must satisfy their Global Studies language requirement by demonstrating competence in at least one language through the fourth semester. Available modern languages include Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swahili. Students should consult the course listings for details about the language sequences. (On the "A&S IQ" tab, click on "Courses," and then toggle "Area Requirement" to "LS Language & Cultural Diversity-Language" and click "Search" to see a list of available language courses.)

With the permission of the major adviser, advanced literature and culture courses taught in the native language may be used to satisfy the Global Studies language requirement and may count as advanced elective credit as long as these courses are cross-listed with or approved for study abroad credit for the student's Global Studies concentration and provided the courses are not being counted toward any other degree.

Special note for Spanish learners: The following Spanish courses are not part of the regular sequence that are permitted to count toward the four semesters of language: Span 223 Intermediate Spanish Conversation and Culture, Span 351 Business Spanish, Span 353 Medical Spanish, and Span 355 Spanish for the Social Sciences. Some students might find these courses valuable for other reasons. For questions about this, students should consult with their major adviser.

Students With Prior Language Experience

Native speakers of a modern language: Students must satisfy the four-semester Global Studies language requirement in another language appropriate to their concentration.

Heritage speakers who do not have a native level of fluency: Students must seek appropriate placement by the coordinator of the language program and complete the four-semester Global Studies language requirement.

Transfer students who have taken language courses: A transfer student may receive credit for the courses as part of the four-semester Global Studies language requirement only if a placement exam is taken upon arrival at Washington University in the given language and the department/program determines that the student may progress to the next highest level of language instruction.

Students who take a language course at another institution (whether in the United States or abroad): A student may receive credit for the course as part of the four-semester Global Studies language requirement only if (1) the credit is transferred back as Washington University credit; and (2) the student takes a placement exam upon their return to Washington University in the given language and the department/program determines that the student may progress to the next highest level of language instruction.