Global Studies Major, International Affairs Concentration

Program Requirements

  • Total units required: 36

Why do states, nations, and societies cooperate, compromise, and fight? Living and working in our rapidly changing global arena presents great opportunities to advance the human condition, improve political and civil liberties, recast bargains between governments and their societies, transform social welfare, and advance the boundaries of knowledge and scientific exploration. Yet, this same context presents great risks as people fear loss of identity, worry about economic subordination and loss to those beyond their borders, encounter the export of environmental degradation, and confront potential decline in personal and social autonomy. Students can explore the heightened economic, political, social, cultural, and environmental interdependence that generates prospects for cooperation; at the same time, this interdependence involves serious challenges, which create the possibility for conflict but also for compromise.

Concentration Objectives

The concentration in International Affairs offers an interdisciplinary approach to understanding relations between societies. It provides opportunities to examine complex global issues and processes from multiple perspectives and to help understand the fundamental processes of cooperation, compromise, and conflict in the global arena. The program provides students with knowledge and skills for understanding and working with difficult international and cross-cultural problems that states, societies, and communities face.

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:

  • 3 units of core course work: GS 3020 Global Futures
  • 3 units of Research Methods course work (any level)
  • 6 units of introductory course work (100-200 level) from two different academic disciplines
  • 9 units of advanced course work from the Core Courses list (300-400 level)
  • 12 units of advanced course work (300-400 level)
  • 3 units of additional course work (any level)

Africa, East Asia, Eurasia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, South Asia, and North America are considered world areas for the International Affairs 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 or world area). Some of these requirements may be completed while abroad.

Introductory Courses

Students choose two courses from this list, for a total of 6 units:

AFAS 178First-Year Seminar: Imagining and Creating Africa: Youth, Culture, and Change3
AFAS 255Introduction to Africana Studies3
Anthro 132First-Year Seminar: Past Tense, Future Imperfect: The Rise & Fall of Societies & Global Civilization3
Anthro 160BIntroduction to Cultural Anthropology3
BEYOND 160Gender, Youth, and Global Health3
Biol 2950Introduction to Environmental Biology3
Chinese 227CChinese Civilization3
Chinese 270Sophomore Seminar: U.S.-China Relations: Perceptions and Realities3
Econ 1011Introduction to Microeconomics3
Econ 1021Introduction to Macroeconomics3
EEPS 111Introduction To Global Climate Change In the 21st Century3
EEPS 201Earth and the Environment4
EEPS 202Introduction to Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Science3
EEPS 219Energy and the Environment3
EnSt 110Environmental Issues3
EnSt 290Sophomore Seminar in Sustainability and the Environment3
FYP 116Ampersand: Geographies of Globalization and Development3
FYP 2242Ampersand: Migration Policies and Colonialism: Refugee Resettlement and Integration3
FYP 2243Ampersand: Mediterranean Migration: Dynamics and Consequences on the EU and MENA3
GIS 200Introduction to GIS (U90)3
GS 111First-Year Seminar: The Vietnam Wars3
GS 1133Ampersand: Legacies of the Silk Road3
GS 124First-Year Sem: Bridging London: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of One of the World's Great Cities3
GS 127Migration in the Global World: Stories3
GS 135First-Year Seminar: Chinatown: Migration, Identity, and Space3
GS 140East Asia in the World3
GS 155First-Year Seminar: Mapping the World: Introduction to Human Geography3
GS 207Crossing Borders: An Introduction to Institutions and Concepts in Global Studies3
GS 229Modern European History: Migrations, Nation States, Identities3
GS 244Introduction to European Studies3
GS 280Sophomore Seminar: The Public Servant and Other Heroes: A History of Japan through Film3
History 102DIntroduction to Modern European History3
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 2119First-Year Seminar: Race and Ethnicity in Latin America: Myths, Realities and Identities3
History 2157First-Year Seminar: The Meaning of Pakistan: History, Culture, Art3
IPH 207CModern Political Thought: Text & Traditions3
Japan 226CJapanese Civilization3
JIMES 208FIntroduction to Jewish Civilization: History and Identity3
JIMES 210CIntroduction to Islamic Civilization3
JIMES 263Democracies & Dictatorships in the Middle East3
Korean 223CKorean Civilization3
LatAm 165DLatin America: Nation, Ethnicity and Social Conflict3
MEC 290Microeconomics3
MEC 292Global Economy3
Phil 100GLogic and Critical Analysis3
Phil 131FPresent Moral Problems3
Phil 233FBiomedical Ethics3
Phil 235FIntroduction to Environmental Ethics3
Physics 171APhysics and Society3
Pol Sci 102BIntroduction to Comparative Politics3
Pol Sci 103BInternational Politics3
Pol Sci 106Introduction to Political Theory3
Pol Sci 2010Introduction to Environmental Policy3
Pol Sci 2100Introduction to Migration Policy and Politics3
Psych 221First-Year Seminar: Introduction to Memory Studies3
RelPol 290Islamophobia & U.S. Politics3
SDS 1011Introducation to Statistics3
SDS 2200Elementary Probability and Statistics3
SOC 106Social Problems and Social Issues3
SOC 2010The Roots of Ferguson: Understanding Racial Inequality in the Contemporary U.S.3
SOC 2030Social Movements3
SOC 2110Social Inequality in America3
URST 101First-Year Seminar: Introduction to Urban Studies3
WGSS 100BIntroduction to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies3
WGSS 206Sexuality and the State: Introduction to Sexuality Studies3
WGSS 270ASophomore Seminar: Globalization and its Discontents3

Core Courses

Students choose three courses from this list, for a total of 9 units: 

Anthro 3206Global Gender Issues3
Anthro 3283Introduction to Global Health3
Anthro 3391Economies as Cultural Systems3
Anthro 3612Population and Society3
Anthro 4022Transnational Reproductive Health Issues: Meanings, Technologies, Practices3
Anthro 4517Anthropology and Development3
Econ 376International Economics3
Econ 451Environmental Policy3
GS 3020Global Futures3
GS 3176Chinese Economy in World History3
GS 4201International Relations of Latin America3
GS 4204International Relations of Latin America (WI)3
GS 4246State Failure, State Success and Development3
GS 4414Gender Analysis for International Affairs3
GS 4622Labor and Labor Movements in Global History3
History 3168History of Global Capitalism: From Slavery to Neoliberalism3
History 3194Environment and Empire3
History 3404The Creation of Capitalism3
History 3593The Wheels of Commerce: From the Industrial Revolution to Global Capitalism3
History 3598The First World War and the Making of Modern Europe3
IA 511International Law and Human Rights (U85)3
IA 519International Growth and Development, Inequality, and Transitional Justice (U85)3
IA 535American Foreign Policy (U85)3
IA 5571Politics of Global Finance (U85)3
IA 574International Relations (U85)3
IA 5772State Failure, State Success and Development (U85)3
Pol Sci 3171Conflict and Security in International Relations3
Pol Sci 3171International Conflict Management and Resolution3
Pol Sci 332BEnergy Politics3
Pol Sci 339Political Violence3
Pol Sci 373International Political Economy3
Pol Sci 4070Global Justice3
Pol Sci 4731Global Political Economy3
Pol Sci 4792Globalization and National Politics3
SOC 3001Social Theory3
SOC 4810Global Structures and Problems3
WGSS 4154Decolonization to Globalization: How to End an Empire3

Research Methods Courses

Students choose course one from this list, for a total of 3 units:

AFAS 4401Intersectionality3
Anthro 3284Public Health Research and Practice3
Anthro 4123Argumentation Through Ethnography3
Anthro 4253Researching Fertility, Mortality, and Migration3
Anthro 4455Ethnographic Fieldwork: The Politics of Schooling3
Anthro 4481Writing Culture3
Anthro 4803Advanced GIS Modeling and Landscape Analysis3
APL 4111Linguistics and Language Learning3
ARCH 307XCommunity Building3
CFH 400WMerle Kling Undergraduate Honors Fellowship Seminar3
Comp Lit 394Worldwide Translation: Language, Culture, Technology3
CSE 131Introduction to Computer Science3
DAT 120Managerial Statistics I3
DAT 121Managerial Statistics II3
Econ 413Introduction to Econometrics3
Econ 414Econometric Techniques (U07)3
EnSt 380Applications in GIS3
GIS 200Introduction to GIS (U90)3
GIS 300Advanced GIS (U90)3
GIS 303Digital Cartography (U90)3
GIS 421Spatial Data Modeling and Design (U90)3
GS 318Learning to Use GIS in Development, Area Studies and International Affairs3
GS 3248Intercultural Communication3
GS 4007Global Studies Research Methods Proseminar and Assistantship3
GS 4414Gender Analysis for International Affairs3
History 301THistorical Methods-Transregional History3
IA 524Process and Design of Research (U85)3
IA 5410Alternative Analytic Techniques for International Affairs (U85)3
NPM 450Social Entrepreneurship (only if offered in person)3
Phil 321GPhilosophy of Science3
Pol Sci 263Data Science for Politics3
Pol Sci 3011Computational Modeling in the Social Sciences3
Pol Sci 362Politics and the Theory of Games3
Pol Sci 363Quantitative Political Methodology3
Pol Sci 4043Public Policy Analysis, Assessment and Practical Wisdom3
Pol Sci 4271Topics in Politics3
Pol Sci 495Research Design and Methods3
Psych 300Introduction to Psychological Statistics3
SDS 1011Introducation to Statistics3
SDS 2200Elementary Probability and Statistics3
SDS 3200Elementary to Intermediate Statistics and Data Analysis3
SDS 475Statistical Computation3
SOC 3050Statistics for Sociology3

Advanced Courses

Students choose five courses from current, relevant, internationally focused course offerings in the following departments.* All courses must be approved by the student's Global Studies advisor in order to count for the major. Visit the concentration webpage and concentration course list for the full list of options.

  • African and African-American Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Applied Linguistics
  • Arabic
  • Architecture
  • Art History
  • Biology and Biomedical Sciences
  • Chinese
  • Classics
  • Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Science
  • East Asian Languages and Cultures
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Environmental Studies
  • Film and Media Studies
  • Finance (Olin Business School)
  • German
  • Global Studies
  • History
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Italian
  • Jewish, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies
  • Korean
  • Latin American Studies
  • Management (Olin Business School)
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Psychological and Brain Sciences
  • Religion and Politics
  • Religious Studies
  • Russian
  • Social Administration (Social Work)
  • Sociology
  • Spanish
  • School of Continuing & Professional Studies — International Affairs; International Studies; Nonprofit Management; Sustainability (only when courses are offered in person)
  • Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Students may submit a request to add a course by following the instructions for the Petition Process.

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.
  • Study abroad credit only counts at the 300 level.
  • Students may apply no more than 12 total credits to the Global Studies major from study abroad, the School of Continuing & Professional Studies, 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 as an elective toward their Global Studies major.
  • Students may not receive credit for January Intensive Term (J-Term) study abroad programs; these programs are too short in duration.

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 485 Preparation for Global Studies Honors Thesis during the fall of senior year and in GS 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 both the successful completion of four semesters of a modern language for a letter grade and placement into the third year of that language.

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." Click "Search" to see a list of available language courses.)

Please see the FAQs on the Global Studies website for more information.

Contact Info

Contact:Toni Loomis