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Welcome to the home of UMBC’s Global Studies B.A. program!

The first thing many students ask us is: “What exactly is Global Studies? Is it like international relations?” Yes and no. International relations has traditionally focused on the interaction of sovereign states, on diplomacy, and on the interplay of states and economic markets. While states and markets will continue to be central features of international affairs, the rapid pace of globalization—political, economic, social, cultural, and environmental—suggests that our future graduates will need a more expansive understanding of the world.

Think of it as becoming a global citizen for the global century ahead.

OK, that’s a nice mantra, but what exactly does it mean? Well, the world is a much different place than it was a decade or two ago. One of the biggest changes is the profusion of new players on the international stage. There are roughly 200 sovereign states around the globe, ranging in size from Russia, China, and the United States to Luxembourg, Timor-Leste, and Lesotho. The world has also experienced a steady diffusion of political power, economic influence, and cultural norms away from states and toward actors like international organizations, multinational corporations, transnational and subnational groups, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

At the same time, barriers to the exchange of goods, services, money, people, and ideas across national borders are disappearing fast. What this means is that the challenges we will face in the years ahead—from terrorism to climate change to women’s rights—will be inherently global problems requiring necessarily global solutions.

Another question we get a lot is: “This sounds really interesting, but what can I do with it?” A bachelor’s degree in Global Studies offers a challenging, interdisciplinary liberal arts education that can be your bridge to an incredibly wide variety of career paths, some of which we have not yet even imagined. This degree is not tailored to a single job description; it’s tailored to the 21st century. To explore where a Global Studies B.A. can take you, check out our Career Opportunities page, then come in and talk to us.

Thanks for stopping by.


Dr. Devin Hagerty                 Dr. Brigid Starkey
Program Director                 Assistant Program Director


Spring 2015 Special Bulletin: Open Global Studies Courses!


GLBL 409 Special Topics: The Middle East in Revolt – Arab Uprisings and Beyond

Course Description:
In late 2010, a wave of uprisings, commonly known as the “Arab Spring,” shook the Middle East and North Africa, toppling decades-long dictatorships across the region. This class will present various explanations for the long-term resilience of authoritarianism in the region, explore the socio-economic and political grievances of the revolutionaries, unpack the mobilizational phase of the uprisings, and lastly assess the challenges of the post-revolutionary phase. After a theoretical discussion on the collective action and revolutions, the course will follow with an examination of the uprisings in different countries which resulted in differing outcomes, namely the ousting of authoritarian leaders, as in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, the stalling of protests, as in Bahrain and Morocco, and leading to civil war, as in Syria.

Days & Times: Location:
Tuesday and Thursday, 8:30AM – 9:45AM Janet and Walter Sondheim Rm. 207



GLBL 409 Special Topics: Geopolitics

Course Description:
An introduction to the study of geopolitics and the state of contemporary geopolitics.  Geopolitics is the study of power relations between empires and states.  It explores the meaning, contestation, construction, and maintenance of the political organization of space.  The course traces the evolution of geopolitical thought from Mahan and Mackinder through Kennan and up to modern popular writers such as Robert Kaplan, who argues that a nation’s position on the world map is a primary determinant of conflict.  We will also examine an emerging critical form of geopolitics, which looks at the social construction of political spaces, exposes the material interests involved in the narratives used to explain these spaces, and explores the spatial construction of social identity.

Days & Times: Location:
Tuesday, 4:30PM – 7PM Performing Arts & Humanities Rm. 124



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