University of Pittsburgh
University Center for International Studies
Global Studies Center
Elaine Linn, Assistant Director for Academic Affairs
4102 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Global studies is an exciting - and evolving - interdisciplinary field concerned with transnational structures, processes, and interactions that cross familiar political borders and cultural boundaries and affect our social, economic, cultural, political, and ecological environments. Students learn to understand and analyze how these structures, processes, and interactions both connect people and places and disrupt established norms, communities, institutions, and relationships.
Global Studies students pursing an undergraduate degree in any school within the University can tailor a unique plan of interdisciplinary study within their field of interest drawn from more than 200 courses across 5 global concentrations, gaining a solid understanding of the academic debates over globalization and their policy implications, learn important critical thinking skills and use them to arrive at their own stances on these issues. Students can double count up to six credits from their major, allowing them to fulfill their general education, major or certificate requirements at the same time and must maintain a 2.50 cumulative GPA.
In addition to the certificate, the Center provides a hub for students wanting to understand and take action on today’s pressing issues at home and/or abroad. It offers numerous complementary programs and opportunities that support students’ intellectual and personal development: research skills, career exploration and career readiness, experiential education and civic engagement, and a critical understanding of current events. Also funding is available for travel grants and tuition remission for student ambassador positions.
Students should think of these concentrations as doorways into global studies, rather than separate silos within it. Working with the advisor, we encourage a flexible and individualized approach allowing students to personalize a course of study what interests them within this broad framework.
Introduction to Global Studies (3 credits): PS 0550 Introduction to Global Studies examines current global trends and issues in ways that encourage students to think critically about how to analyze, interpret, and respond to global interactions and their consequences for different regions, localities, and groups. It gives particular attention to the concept of globalization, highlighting the controversies surrounding its use and engaging core debates about the impact of global and transnational processes on economic and social relations, politics and governance, cultural interactions and the environment in local and global contexts.
Five Global Thematic Courses (15 credits): After students select a global concentration, they choose from a comprehensive and dynamic list of courses ensuring three disciplines are represented to provide an interdisciplinary perspective on their chosen global concentration. Students must maintain a 2.50 cumulative G.P.A.
Language Proficiency: Building on Pitt’s vast offering of over 30 languages, a minimum of two years of college-level study (four semesters) in a foreign language is required. Students can fulfill this requirement by passing a proficiency exam at the Intermediate low-mid proficiency level.
Global Studies Capstone Research Paper: This research paper is the culmination of a student’s learning experience related to their global concentration. It demonstrates analytical skills within a trans-regional context. It must be written as part of a course and graded by a faculty member. A capstone contract is required ensuring the student and faculty are in sync with capstone expectations.
E-Portfolio: Students create a succinct and dynamic portfolio that reflects their scholarly engagement within their global concentration or their understanding of a global issue, highlights how they are informed about, as well as engaged with, a global issue through their various co-curricular experiences at Pitt, and lastly highlights their professional development experiences preparing them for career success.
Special Academic Opportunities
Students enrolled in Global Studies are the first to be informed about funding for research, travel, language study, and study abroad; internships and career development; networking opportunities with dignitaries, academics, and professionals; and interesting events on campus and in the city of Pittsburgh.
Study Abroad: participation in any study abroad experience is highly encouraged but not required for a Global Studies certificate. Global Studies’ signature study abroad program is PittMap. Through this rigorous and dynamic academic program, students live and study on three different continents for one semester, offering three distinct views and experiences on modern a global theme. Upcoming themes for PittMap are global health, challenging inequalities, and human security and rights.