Graduate Programs

GSC's Graduate Certificate enables graduate students to enrich their research by adding a specifc global focus, providing a richer course of study and preparing students for research or professional employment in the global marketplace.

Read on to find out more about the Graduate Certificate Program.


In consultation with an academic advisor, students design an individualized program of study. Global Studies students choose one of the five global concentrations with added language study. To ensure interdisciplinary learning, students take three courses in two departments other than their graduate department.

Specific requirements:

  • Six courses in a chosen global concentration
  • Intermediate-low-to-mid in a Less Commonly Taught Language and/or intermediate-high level proficiency in a commonly taught foreign language.
  • Capstone Paper highlighting an issue related to the student’s chosen global concentration. The Capstone paper must be written as part of a taken course, with a faculty member grading the paper. Students should consult with the Global Studies advisor (Elaine Linn) regarding Capstone Paper requirements.
  • Grades of B or better in relevant coursework including the Capstone Paper
  • Total of three courses in two departments other than the student’s primary department (excludes language courses)

Global Concentrations

Students must choose one of the five global concentrations:

  • Ecology and Sustainability 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


Students must demonstrate proficiency in one (or more) foreign languages through one of two assessment models:

(a) a total of three years current or prior college-level study; or

(b) an ACTFL ranking of at least 2 (Limited Working Proficiency) in at least one language.

Click to view the regularly offered foreign language courses at the University of Pittsburgh (fall term / spring term). The Global Studies Center offers Foreign Language and Area Study (FLAS) fellowships in nine languages. Graduate students may apply at the beginning stages of language study in one of these languages. 


Students should select applicable courses from the appropriate Global Studies course list and meet with the Global Studies academic advisor Elaine Linn for approval before registering. With careful planning, most students find they can satisfy certificate requirements.

Capstone Paper

The Capstone Research Paper provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate their knowledge and analytical skills relating to their specific global concentration and the world region they have selected to study, heightening the student's understanding of global issues within a transregional context. The paper is a ‘capstone’ or culmination of your learning experience and should be submitted during the final year of study at Pitt. The paper must contain professor’s comments and letter grade, be a minimum of 10 pages in length, with at least 8 references cited and include a cover sheet that lists student name, the student’s global and world region concentration, the course name and date of submission to Global Studies.


To enroll in the program, schedule a New Student Enrollment appointment with our graduate advisor, Elaine Linn. Even if you are undecided about the certificate program, Elaine would be glad to help you explore the possibility.

Copyright 2017 | Global Studies Center, University of Pittsburgh