The Global Studies B.A. is an interdisciplinary liberal arts and sciences degree. It combines coursework in 11 departments and programs in the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences with a rigorous foreign language requirement, study abroad, and experiential learning in the form of internships and other extra-curricular activities. The collaborating departments and programs are: Africana Studies; American Studies; Asian Studies; Economics; Gender and Women’s Studies; Geography and Environmental Systems; History; Media and Communication Studies; Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communication; Political Science; and Sociology and Anthropology.
The main objective of the Program in Global Studies is to educate “global citizens” for the global century ahead. We live in a world that is increasingly interconnected - socially, politically, economically, and culturally. More than ever before, globalization requires UMBC graduates to be familiar with the world outside our borders and to understand the deep and ever-expanding links between their lives and those of people in and from other societies. The B.A. in Global Studies equips our graduates with the knowledge, language proficiency, and critical-thinking, conceptual, analytical, and writing skills that will allow them both to do well and “do good” in this world of dizzying change.
Global Studies students choose one of three tracks: Culture, Place, & Identity; Development, Health, & the Environment; or International Affairs. Majors are required to take the following courses:
Gateway Courses (12 credits)
These courses should be chosen on the basis of the student’s likely choice of track. See below for further information on the three tracks.
Electives (18 credits)
Students choose their electives from approved track lists. Students may also choose to earn three of their upper-level credits in a structured, track-related, semester-long internship or faculty-supervised independent study. Some 125 electives will be available to GLBL majors. For a master list of courses approved for Global Studies, please visit the Course Index on the Global Studies website.
***Please note: Because the Global Studies curriculum draws from 11 departments and programs, it is impossible to note all the prerequisites in this section of the catalog. It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of any prerequisites that may be required before taking particular upper-level courses. For example, upper-level courses in the Department of Economics typically require one or more prerequisites.***
Writing Intensive Courses
Students are required to take and pass with at least a “C” two writing-intensive (WI) courses. One of the required Global Studies courses -GLBL 301 Approaches to Globalization - is designated as writing-intensive. By the time they graduate from UMBC, our majors will have demonstrated that they can think critically, analyze questions with no easy answers, and write effectively and persuasively. For a complete list of writing-intensive courses, please visit the Office of Undergraduate Education, Writing Intensive Program webpage.
Students are required to acquire a significant second-language capability, defined as courses or proficiency through the 302-level in a language other than English. If UMBC does not offer courses through the 302-level in a student’s chosen language, the student may meet the requirement through another institution.
Global Studies majors are expected to have a curiosity about the world and a strong interest in cross-cultural academic experiences. Studying overseas provides GLBL students with linguistic and cross-cultural skills necessary for their future professional careers. Majors are therefore required to participate in an in-depth international study experience. The length of this mandatory international study experience can range from one semester to one year. Students who choose the one-year option can, if they wish, spend a semester each at two different study sites. GLBL students frequently complete the 302-level language requirement during their study abroad experience. Majors are required to work with the UMBC Study Abroad Office (studyabroad.umbc.edu ) to arrange their international study plans.
Students are also strongly encouraged to undertake one or more GLBL-related applied experiences (such as an internship with a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to assist in the settlement and acculturation of immigrants and refugees).
International Affairs explores the interaction of sovereign states and the role of governments and nongovernmental transnational actors in a rapidly globalizing international system. Course offerings in this track focus on diplomacy and diplomatic history; U.S. and comparative foreign policy; comparative studies of nations and political systems; international trade, monetary, and financial affairs; international law; human rights; international organizations; and global security issues. The track builds upon the traditional “international relations” emphasis on states, markets, security, and political economy, while significantly broadening that focus to encompass non-state, transnational actors like multinational corporations, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, socio-political movements, individuals, and terrorist networks. The central purpose of the International Affairs track is to explore the dynamics, consequences, and implications of globalization on states and transnational actors in the 21st century.
Gateway Courses (12 credits)
Four gateway courses (from the list of Global Studies gateway courses, above).
Electives (18 credits)
Students must also complete six courses from the following list of track electives. Five of the six courses must be at the 300-400 level.