William & Mary

Undergraduate Program

Through coursework on the culture, history, languages, literature, politics and religions of major world regions, students explore the specificity of a given region, the ways in which global forces are realized in and through local contexts, and the interconnections between global regions.

Students majoring in Global Studies choose a concentration in one of four areas. Seven minors are also offered.

Study Area

Asian and Middle Eastern Studies



Comparative and Diaspora Studies X
East Asian Studies X
Middle Eastern Studies X
South Asian Studies X

European Studies



Latin American Studies



Russian and Post-Soviet Studies



General Major Requirements

Global Studies (GBST) majors construct an interdisciplinary sequence of coursework together with an advisor, often combined with service learning, internships or study abroad in the areas of Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Europe, East Asia, or in the Russian and Post-Soviet region. The major is designed to provide students with an historical understanding of the interplay of processes that have shaped peoples and regions and the recognizable political, economic, and religious ideas and institutions that have emerged as a result. Familiarity with the issues and cultures of a specific region gained through coursework and experience provides a foundation for conceptualizing complex interconnections and for grappling with the emerging possibilities and the ethical responsibilities of living in an interconnected world.

In general, a major in Global Studies includes courses from at least three departments. Detailed descriptions of the degree programs are provided below. Additional information about courses and requirements is available from Global Studies faculty advisors.

All Global Studies majors select a concentration in Asian and Middle Eastern, European, Latin American, or Russian and Post-Soviet Studies. Majors must complete courses from eleven "lines" of a menu system, where each line includes one or more courses. Once a course is counted under a line, it cannot be counted elsewhere. Thirty-three credit hours in these courses are required for the major. Please select your area of study and refer to that website for further information.

Language Requirement

Degrees in Global Studies include a modern foreign language component which exceeds the College's proficiency requirement. Students meet the requirement by completing the appropriate line requirements of their concentration.

Major Writing Requirement (MWR)

The major writing requirement may be satisfied by (1) fulfilling the major writing requirement for a department contributing courses to your degree program or (2) completing a writing project designed to meet the MWR with special permission from a faculty member.

Major Computer Proficiency Requirement (CPR)

Global Studies majors may satisfy the computing proficiency requirement by (1) fulfilling the computing requirement for a department that offers a course in the student's major or (2) completing Computer Science 131 or higher.

Study Abroad

Students are strongly encouraged to seek overseas opportunities which complement their Global Studies major. With prior approval, most courses taken abroad may be applied to major or other requirements. Contact Global Studies or the Global Education Office at the Reves Center for more information.

Major Declaration

Prospective majors in Global Studies should discuss their plans with a faculty advisor in the concentration as early as possible.


Please consult the web pages for the various concentrations to see what is available.

Description of Global Studies Courses (GBST)

With the exception of core courses, special topics courses, internships, independent study, and senior honors (listed below), courses for a Global Studies major are selected from those available in the curricula of the various departments and schools. Course descriptions appear elsewhere in the catalog.

201. Introduction to European Studies.
Spring (3).

An introduction to the interdisciplinary field of European Studies.  Students explore how Europe has emerged and been contested as an idea, dynamic region, and shared community.  Topics include 1) Imagining Europe; 2) The European Mix: Peoples, Ideas, Spaces; and 3) European Integration.

310. Africa: History, Politics and Culture.
An interdisciplinary introduction to African traditions, institutions, and thought systems on both sides of the Sahara. Primary texts and films will be used to illuminate the continent's panoramic oral and literate traditions in the appropriate regional and historical contexts.

390. Topics in Global Studies.
Fall or Spring (1-4) Staff.

Selected topics in Global Studies are offered occasionally. The topic to be considered will be announced prior to the beginning of the semester. These courses may be repeated for credit.

391. Short Course in Global Studies.
Fall or Spring (1) Staff.

Selected topics in Global Studies are offered occasionally. The topic to be considered will be announced prior to the beginning of the semester. These courses may be repeated for credit.

480. Independent Study in Global Studies.
Fall and Spring (3,3) Staff. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

For majors who have completed most of their major requirements and who have secured approval from a supervising instructor. A Global Studies major can include no more than six hours of independent study. These courses may be repeated for credit, if the topic varies.

495-496. Senior Honors in Global Studies.
Fall, Spring (3,3) Staff.

Students who wish to conduct an honors project must apply for admission to the Senior Honors program. As part of the application, students must submit a prospectus to the Charles Center by the end of classes in the academic semester before the project is to begin. A prospectus includes: (1) a clear statement of the problem to be researched; (2) a brief, critical review of scholarly literature on the research topic; (3) a description of the methodology to be employed; (4) and an approximate schedule of work. Eligible applicants must carry a 3.2 grade point average in Global Studies and must also meet the College eligibility standard of 3.0 overall or in their junior year. For further information and an application, contact the Charles Center.

Students admitted into the Senior Honors program in Global Studies will enroll in these courses during both semesters of their senior year. Honors candidates are responsible for (1) formulating and completing a program of study in consultation with a faculty advisor; (2) preparation and presentation, by two weeks before the last day of classes in the spring semester, of an honors essay; and (3) satisfactory performance in a comprehensive oral examination which focuses on the subject matter of the honors essay. For College provisions governing admission to the Senior Honors program, see the discussion of major honors elsewhere in this catalog and the Charles Center web site.

498. Internship.
Fall and Spring (credits to be arranged) Staff.

An internship offers international work experience while providing opportunities to apply and develop ideas, languages and research techniques outside the classroom. Internships must be developed in cooperation with an on-site internship supervisor and a sponsoring William and Mary faculty member and must be approved in advance.