Global Studies

Guidelines for Course Development

Departments are not required to develop global studies courses, but any department may submit a course to fulfill this requirement.  Departments housing a global studies course may also elect to give credit within the major.  A course meeting the Area I or Area II elective requirement may be submitted as a global studies course; courses meeting the University Core requirements should not be proposed for global studies credit. If a student enrolls in a Global Studies course outside of his or her major, that course may also meet a maturity requirement.

The global studies requirement is meant to ensure a global dimension to each student’s education by fostering understanding of diverse cultures in today’s world and by equipping students to grapple with the complex global forces that are intensifying the interconnectedness of our world.  The global studies committee invites departments to be creative in conceiving courses that can advance that purpose.  A wide variety of courses could serve, as long as they foster cultural literacy concerning some part or parts of the world outside the U.S. and/or promote global comprehension by treating a subject of global application or significance while including a cultural focus.


Some ways to conceive of such courses include the following:


  1. Regional studies courses.  A course may focus on the culture or society of a specific country or region of the globe outside the U.S. (or any set of such cultures or societies).  The privileged lens may be historical, political, economic, sociological, religious, literary/artistic, ecological, technological, or more broadly cultural.  The spirit of the global studies requirement encourages bringing multiple disciplinary perspectives to bear on the region(s) under study.
  2. Global dynamics courses.  A course may focus on global forces that increasingly affect every region.  In today’s world, the links between diverse regions are being intensified in numerous ways, especially through migration, trade and finance, and communication technologies.  Such forces have eroded the significance of national boundaries that once defined areas of study.  At the same time, these changes are accompanied by increasing global concern about the problems of ecological degradation, global diseases, and new forms of hegemony.  This sort of course may choose any aspect(s) of these dynamics as the focus.  Again, the spirit of the global studies requirement encourages bringing multiple disciplinary perspectives to bear on the issues.


The foregoing categories are meant to be evocative rather than exhaustive of the sorts of courses that could be offered to fulfill the global studies requirement.


To achieve the goal of the global studies requirement, courses should explore subject matter at a depth well beyond the introductory level, typically at the 3000 level or above, although 2000 level courses are eligible to apply for global studies credit.  First Year Seminars and other courses that count for the university core (the required written skills, language skills, quantitative reasoning, and ethical reasoning courses) are ineligible for global studies.  Global studies courses will require a certain degree of maturity of the student, but they need not have prerequisites.  On the other hand, neither is there any limit on the number of prerequisites for a global studies course.  The aim is to offer departments flexibility to design courses that fit their own curriculum while also honoring the purpose of the global studies requirement, to empower students to understand a range of cultural perspectives and to assess the promises or perils of the forces that seem to be making the world a smaller place

Bullet-point checklist

  • the course must be a four-credit course
  • the course should have a contemporary focus (mostly 20th and 21st century—travel courses with a more pre-20th century focus can be eligible if they discuss the impact of the material on today’s society and incorporate reflection on the contemporary culture students experience)
  • the course should heavily emphasize areas outside the U.S.
  • the course should require substantial amounts of student writing, commensurate with a junior-level (or in some cases sophomore-level) course

Course submission procedures

  • Be sure you know the order of curricular review
    • New non-travel courses should go to GBS first, then EPC, then the faculty
    • New travel courses should go to Study Abroad first, then GBS, then EPC, then the faculty
    • Courses already in the catalog seeking to add a GBS designation go to GBS first, then to EPC as a point of notification, then to the faculty as a point of notification
  • To submit courses to the GBS committee
    • Compose a complete syllabus and rationale statement and obtain a signed EPC cover sheet
    • Be sure the documents indicate that the course is to be cross-listed as GBS; when choosing a course number, be sure to avoid any conflict with existing GBS courses
    • Send documents to the GBS chair (electronic submissions preferred)
    • The GBS chair will arrange a time for you to meet with the committee
    • If the GBS committee would like to see any changes, you may resubmit
    • Once the GBS committee approves, the GBS chair will submit the course to EPC


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