Global Studies Major

Global Studies is a rigorous but flexible interdisciplinary major that combines courses across departments and schools at the University of Richmond and at least a semester of study abroad. Students majoring in Global Studies select one of four concentrations, each coordinated by advisors with special expertise in the areas. The GS major and these concentrations provide a well-rounded liberal arts education, awareness of different nations, cultures, and global issues, and preliminary preparation for a variety of careers in the international arena.

The Global Studies major begins with the gateway course, Introduction to Global Studies and at least one of two other foundational courses, Geographic Dimensions of Global Development or Introduction to Comparative Politics. Students also reach advanced proficiency in a second language and experience living in another academic culture. During the final year, after study abroad, GS majors complete a capstone Senior Seminar by researching and writing an original scholarly paper on an important international issue. Successful completion of GS 290 is a prerequisite for GS400.

Students work with faculty advisors to choose additional electives, including courses taken abroad, within each concentration. Selections typically mix courses from anthropology, communications, economics, environmental studies, geography, history, literature, political science, religion, sociology, women’s studies, and the fine arts. Within each concentration, eight units must be taken from three or more departments (with no more than three units from a single department). While studying abroad students are encouraged to work with faculty advisors to identify courses not listed in the Richmond catalog that complement their academic program.

  • Major

    The Global Studies Major

    Note: The grade point average of the coursework comprising the major must be no less than 2.00 with no course grade less than C- (1.7).

    13 units, including:


      • Students specializing in Global Studies should be competent in at least two languages. For students whose secondary education was in English this requirement can be met by completing two courses taught in a language other than English at the 300 or 400 level in the departments of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures or Latin American, Latino and Iberian Studies. Students whose secondary education was not in English may satisfy the requirement with two units of world literature at the 300 or 400 level in any language (beyond the concentration).


      • All Global Studies students should experience significant cultural immersion via a study abroad program of at least one semester in length, related to the major concentration. Students requesting an exception to this requirement (usually two summers) may submit a written petition to the program coordinator for review by a committee of Global Studies faculty.

      • For one semester of study abroad, students can transfer back up to 3 units of credit toward the GS major. For a full-year overseas, they can transfer back no more than 5 units.


      • One unit, chosen from

      • Two courses required of all majors:

        • GS290 Introduction to Global Studies

        • GS400 Senior Seminar


      • Eight units selected from three or more departments with no more than three units from a single department

      • Students are expected to fulfill all prerequisites necessary for courses within the major. Prerequisites do not count toward the major unless otherwise noted.

  • Cultures & Communication

    Global Studies: Cultures and Communication

    The concentration consists of eight units in at least three different departments or disciplines, selected in consultation with an advisor, structured as follows:

    • Skills and Applied Courses

      • Analytic and applied understandings of intercultural communications. Two courses, chosen from:

      Complex Problems

      • Explore challenges and stakes of efforts to communicate across borders, cultures, assumptions, and beliefs. Two courses, chosen from:

        • ANTH-300 Sexuality and Gender Across Cultures

        • ANTH-306 Tourism and Anthropology

        • ANTH-379 ST: Tech, Surveillance and The Media

        • ECON-210 Economics of the European Union

        • ENVR-322 The Global Impact of Climate Change

        • HIST-236 Russian Empire, Soviet Union, and After

        • HIST-240 Human Rights and Revolution in the Atlantic World (1750-1850)

        • HIST-270 Early Islamic World

        • HIST-329 Brexit: A History

        • HIST-390 Food and Power in Africa and Asia

        • LLC-260 Literature and Social Change in Eastern Europe

        • LLC-360 Representing the Holocaust

        • LLC-346 Insiders and Outsiders: Arabic Encounters with the West

        • PLSC-346 Politics of Cultural Pluralism

        • SOC-308 Sociology of War

        • WGSS-203 Human Rights and Revolution in the Atlantic World (1750-1850)

    • Regional Courses

      • Investigate cultural specificity. Two units chosen from regional courses:

    • Additional Concentration Electives

      • Two additional courses, chosen from those above.

  • Development & Change

    Global Studies: Development and Change

    Note: Within the concentration, the eight units must be selected from three or more departments with no more than three units from a single department.

    Eight units, including:

    • ECON-211 Economic Development in Asia, Africa, and Latin America

    • Developmental Courses

      • At least three core unit courses, one from each of the following groups:

      • Group 1: Geographies

        • GEOG-320 Power, Space and Territory: Geographies of Political Change

        • GEOG-345/ENVR-345 Global Sustainability: Society, Economy, Nature

        • GEOG-370 Geographies of Economic Development and Globalization

      • Group 2: Politics and Policies

      • Group 3: Human Experience

        • ANTH-302 Medicine and Health from a Global/Anthropological Perspective

        • ANTH-303 Biopolitics in Medical Anthropology

        • ANTH-328 Anthropology of Human Rights

        • HIST-390 Food and Power in Africa and Asia

    • Regional Courses

      • Three elective units covering at least two different 'developing' regions, selected from the regional courses or comparable courses of study abroad.

    • Development Related Courses

      • Possible additional electives from courses listed above, selected topics, courses studied abroad, internships, independent study, or the following courses:

    All students concentrating in Development are encouraged, but not required, to conduct independent research, in consultation with their GS faculty advisor. Summer research may be eligible for University funding.

  • International Economic Policy

    Global Studies: International Economic Policy

    Students are strongly encouraged to develop proficiency in economics with either a minor or double major (see Economics department listings for requirements).

    Note: Within the concentration, the eight units selected from three or more departments.

    Eight units, including:

    • International Economics or Finance

      • Three units, chosen from:

        • ECON210 The Economics of the European Union

        • ECON211 Economic Development in Asia, Africa, and Latin America

        • ECON215 International Monetary Economics

        • ECON310 International Trade: Causes, Consequences, and Controversies

        • ECON315 International Macroeconomics

        • FIN462 International Financial Management

        • Or, another upper level courses in international economics with approval of GSIEP advisors

    • Global Power and Politics

      • Two units from two different departments, chosen from:

        • ANTH328 Anthropology of Human Rights

        • GEOG320 Power, Space, and Territory: Geographies of Political Change

        • GEOG345/SUST 345 Global Sustainability: Society, Economy, Nature

        • HIST236 Russian Empire, Soviet Union and After

        • HIST271 The Modern Middle East

        • HIST290 Britain and the World

        • HIST291 Histories of Public Health and Biomedicine in the Global South

        • HIST392 Humanitarianism and Development

        • PLSC250 Introduction to International Relations

        • PLSC350 American Foreign Policy

        • PLSC351 Globalization

        • PLSC353 International Security

        • PLSC356 International Political Economy

        • PLSC359 Global Governance

        • PLSC360 International Development Policy

        • SOC231 Across the Pond: Europe vs. USA

    • Regional Courses
      These courses focus on a specific region or country in order to emphasize the importance of culture and historical and cultural context in global interactions, both economic and otherwise. Students must take two units, chosen from the list of Regional Courses.

    • One additional unit chosen from courses above.

  • Politics and Goverance

    Global Studies: Politics and Governance

    The concentration is comprised of eight units selected from at least three departments and in the following categories

    • Diplomacy and World Order

      • Two units, chosen from:

    • Economic Integration or Interdependence

      • Two units, chosen from:

        • ECON-105 Introduction to Global Economics

        • ECON-210 The Economics of the European Union

        • ECON-211 Economic Development in Asia, Africa, and Latin America

        • ECON-230/ENVR-230 Environmental Economics

        • ECON-310 International Trade and Finance

        • HIST-390 Food and Power in Africa and Asia

        • GEOG-345/ENVR-345 Global Sustainability: Society, Economy and Nature

        • GEOG-370 Geographies of Economic Development and Globalization

        • PLSC-351 Globalization

        • SOC-306 Social Change in a Global Perspective

        • SOC-335 Feast and Famine: Inequalities in the Global Food System

    • Regional Courses

      • Two units focused on the same world region selected from regional courses or study abroad.

    • Additional Concentration Electives

      • Two units chosen from the areas above.