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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 rigorous foreign-language and writing requirements, 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 Global Studies program 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, inter-cultural competency, and critical-thinking, conceptual, analytical, and writing skills that will allow them both to do well and “do good” in this world of rapid change. The Global Studies program can be your first step toward becoming a truly “global professional.”

Global Studies Four Year Academic Pathway

By their junior year, Global Studies students choose one of three tracks: Culture, Place, and Identity; Development, Health, and the Environment; or International Affairs. Majors are required to take the following courses:

Core Courses
  • GLBL 101 Introduction to Global Studies
  • GLBL 301 Approaches to Globalization
Gateway Courses

Students take four of the following “gateway” courses. These four courses should be chosen on the basis of the student’s likely choice of track.

  • AFST 211 Introduction to Contemporary Africa
  • ANTH 211 Cultural Anthropology
  • ASIA 100 Introduction to Asian Studies
  • ECON 101 Principles of Microeconomics
  • ECON 102 Principles of Macroeconomics
  • GES 102 Human Geography
  • GES 120 Introduction to Environmental Science and Conservation
  • GWST 340 Global Perspectives on Gender and Women**
  • HIST 200 Themes in World History
  • MLL 280 Introduction to the Spanish-Speaking World
  • MLL 305 Introduction to Intercultural Communication**
  • POLI 260 Comparative Politics
  • POLI 280/281 International Relations

** GWST 340 and MLL 305 can be taken either as gateway courses or as track-approved electives. They cannot be used to satisfy both requirements.


Students choose six electives from the Course Index.  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 are available to GLBL majors.

***Please note:  Because the Global Studies curriculum draws from 11 departments and programs, it is impossible to note all the prerequisites in the Course Index.  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 offered at UMBC, click here.

Language Requirement

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.

Study Abroad

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 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).