Global Studies is an interdisciplinary undergraduate major that provides a strong foundation in the analysis of contemporary global issues through coursework, research and experiential learning such as study abroad. Instead of focusing on a particular discipline, students work with their academic advisor to create an individualized plan of study that reflects their interest in specific global themes such as environmental change, wealth and poverty, or global health. The freedom of choosing classes across various disciplines allows students to achieve their academic goals while enjoying their college experience.
In 2013/14 there were 265 majors and 30 minors in LAS Global Studies. In a student survey that same year, we asked our majors what they liked most about the major. Their responses emphasized its flexibility and interdisciplinary nature.
The flexibility of it! I am interested in learning a lot of things, and Global Studies allows me to study a variety of topics but synthesize them into a coherent program of study.
The interdisciplinary factor. I love being able to take courses in different subject areas and connecting them all somehow. I also love how well structured it is ( the three parts: core courses, language and culture, and thematic area).
The diversity of the education is amazing. Opens eyes, minds, and opportunities.
Students completing the Global Studies program use their research, social, and analytical skills to pursue careers and advanced degrees in business, health, law, government, research, non-governmental organizations, and education. Recent LAS Global Studies student placements include employment with private sector companies such as CNN, Samsung, Bank of America and Bloomberg Finance. Student placements in education and the not-for-profit sector include Teach for America, JET program, Chicago Council on Global Affairs and World Vision. Students have also gained employment with various branches of national and foreign governments such as the State Department, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Department of Homeland Security. Most popular graduate school choices include business, law and medicine. This diversity of career paths reflects the interdisciplinary scope and diversity of student interests.
How is Global Studies different from International Relations and International Studies?
Global Studies is transnational in scope whereas International Relations and International Studies is primarily concerned with relations between countries. Global Studies investigates social, economic, cultural as well as political problems and processes at the global scale versus the inter-state level associated with International Relations and International Studies. International Relations and International Studies are based in the discipline of Political Science and emphasize diplomacy and policy. Global Studies on the other hand, is inter-disciplinary and topic driven. It draws its concepts and methods from multiple social science disciplines and the humanities. The focus on the global scale is enriched by attention to the regional, national and local levels where transnational processes are reworked. Connecting these levels and making sense of these relationships and flows requires sensitivity to history, culture, and language. It also demands innovative research methods like multi-sited ethnography and global commodity chain analysis. In summary, the Global Studies toolkit contains the concepts and methods of many disciplines, which allow students to build interdisciplinary frameworks for the study of “global problems” and their solutions.