Undergraduate Programs

The Global Studies Center offers all Pitt students the opportunity to incorporate the study of key global issues with their major. Students can tailor their course of study in line with their specific global interests and/ or career goals.

The Global Studies Centers offers two academic credentials:

  • A Global Studies Certificate; 
  • A Bachelor of Philosophy in International and Area Studies (BPHIL in IAS) - Global Studies track. 

These programs are designed to equip students to respond to the critical challenges of our time as engaged citizens and professionals working in the global marketplace. 

Below you will find detailed descriptions of both programs, and if you would like more information or to enroll, personalized advising is available with our Student Advirsor, Elaine Linn



Similar to a minor, the GSC certificate requires 18 credits of interdisciplinary coursework in addition to language studies. Students select one of the Global Concentrations and take five classes from a variety of courses offered in the humanities, sciences, social sciences and professional schools at Pitt, with the goal of contextualizing their interests in issues of global concern. Students can double count up to six credits from their major, allowing them to fulfill their general education, major and certificate requirements at the same time. To ensure interdisciplinary learning, students take three courses in two departments other than their major. 

The Bachelor of Philosophy in International and Area Studies (BPhil in IAS) – Global Studies track

The Bachelor of Philosophy in International and Area Studies (BPhil in IAS) – Global Studies track is offered by the University Honors College (UHC) in cooperation with the Global Studies Center. It is an interdisciplinary degree requiring 30 credits of course work and language study, and rigorous independent research. BPHIL IAS Students are also required to complete a 4-week (miniumum) study-abroad/ internship program. BPHIL IAS students select an interdisciplinary course of study around one of the Global Concentrations that will in turn support their research into a topic that will form their thesis, which they will defend their senior year.

Students interested in the BPHIL IAS, Global Studies track are encouraged to read more about this degree at:http://www.honorscollege.pitt.edu/bphil-degree.  



Global Studies Certificate

Global Studies Track

Minimum Grade Point Average



Total Credits

18 credits not including foreign language courses

30 credits not including foreign language courses

Core Courses

Intro to Global Studies (PS 0550)

Intro to Global Studies (PS 0550), a methodology course in student’s major, and the Global Studies Capstone Course 

Global Concentration Courses Required

5 courses

7 courses

Language Study

Intermediate low-mid proficiency (typically two years of college level study) in a foreign language

Intermediate mid-high proficiency (typically three years of college level study)  in a foreign language

Study Abroad

Not required but highly encouraged

At least a 4 week in-country experience (study abroad or internship) is required

Capstone Paper Submission

A capstone paper that highlights study of an issue related to the student’s global concentration within a transregional context. The Capstone must be written as part of a course and graded by a faculty member. See Capstone Below

Formal written proposal and plan of study must be submitted to the University Honor’s College and students must write and defend an honors thesis in front of a committee of four faculty.

Global Concentrations

Students must choose one of the five global concentrations:

  • Global Cultural Dynamics asks how our understanding of who we are changes through globalization, exploring issues such as race, religion, nationality, and gender. It considers how identities are affected by changing patterns of human interaction, the evolution of culture and cultural clashes, the interchange of ideas between cultures, movements of people, international rights etc.
  • Global Peace, Conflict and Security explores the causes and consequences of international, ethnic, and religious conflicts, and considers ways of preventing and resolving conflicts, including negotiation and fostering of deeper cross-cultural understanding. It raises issues such as the role of the United Nations, peacekeeping and armed intervention, non-governmental organizations and humanitarian relief, terrorism, international law, and diplomacy.
  • Global Politics and Economy explores the changing reach and nature of economic flows and political organization under conditions of globalization, raising issues such as international economic growth and crisis, global competition, the United Nations and human rights, global civil society and international non-governmental organizations, and state sovereignty in global relations.
  • Global Health and Well-Being explores the risks and opportunities of globalization for the health of the world population, including the increased spread of diseases across borders and oceans, and the enhanced ability to alert populations and health organizations about epidemics. It addresses major global epidemics as well as international emergency response systems for health epidemics in different parts of the world.
  • Global Ecology explores challenges and solutions to improving quality of life without increasing the use of natural resources beyond environmental capacity or compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It addresses issues such as global population growth, economic and human development, global resource management, environmental change, and international environmental law.


Global Studies students may continue with a language they have previously studied, or study a new language, or both! The level of language proficiency required depends on whether a student is pursuing a Certificate or BPhil.

Information about specific language programs can be found by contacting the various language departments listed below:

Department of East Asian Languages & Literatures

Department of German

Department of French & Italian Languages and Literatures

Department of Slavic Languages & Literature

Department of Hispanic Languages & Literatures

Less Commonly Taught Languages Center


Students select applicable courses for their selectedp program from the Global Studies course list. This list is updated each semester and courses are organized under their relevance to the Global Concentrations. If a course is identified by a student that is not found on the GSC course list, they can bring the course syllabus to the attention of Elaine Linn for consideration. 

Capstone Paper

The Capstone Research Paper is a culmination of a student’s learning experience and should be submitted during senior year. In it students demonstrate their analytical skills, writing on a topic relevant to their global concentration, with attention to transregional issues. The paper must be written as part of a course and consent must be given by the course faculty using the GSC Capstone Consent Form.  The paper must be presented to the Global Studies Center with proof of letter grade and/or professor’s comments prior to graduation. It must be at least 10 pages in length, cite at least eight references, and include a cover sheet that lists student name, course name and number, and date of submission to Global Studies.


 To enroll in the program, schedule a New Student Enrollment appointment with our undergraduate advisor, Elaine Linn. Even if you are undecided about the certificate program, Elaine would be glad to meet with you to discuss internationalizing your studies. 

Copyright 2017 | Global Studies Center, University of Pittsburgh