Graduate Programs

Global studies integrates the waning importance of regional borders and disciplinary boundaries in the world today and fosters the academic debates over globalization and their policy implications in both the global and local contexts. The graduate certificates are designed for students who desire a deeper understanding of social and economic inequality in transnational context and facilitates the contextualization of the student’s major within the dominant political and economic trends. Students obtaining the certificate are equipped to lead lives of impact, as well as have the analytical tools and 21st century professional skills necessary to effectively navigate their future. 

The Center offers two different certificates for graduate students depending on the student degree plan:  1)  a Certificate in Global Studies  for students enrolled in one of Pitt’s eleven professional schools, requiring 12 credits of multidisciplinary study and intermediate low – mid proficiency of a language other than English  and  2) an  Advanced Certificate in Global Studies for students pursing a doctoral degree, requiring 18 credits of study and intermediate high language proficiency.  

All students must select one of the five global studies concentrations: 
  1. Critical World Ecology and Sustainability
  2. Politics and Economy
  3. Cultural Dynamics
  4. Peace, Conflict and (In) Security
  5. Health and Well-Being


To enroll please click here and complete the survey. If you would like to receive further guidance, please contact Elaine Linn to schedule a meeting.

Graduate Certificate in Global Studies Requirements 

  • 12 credits of coursework
  • 6 credits can overlap with student’s major
  • 6 credits must be outside of the student's major/department
  • PIA 2473 Strategies of Global Inquiry (3-credit course that counts towards the 12 credits)
  • 2 years college level language (Intermediate-low in a Less Commonly Taught Language or intermediate-high level proficiency in a commonly taught foreign language)
  • Completion and approval of digital portfolio
  • A minimum of three credits taken over degree requirement. The credits may come from language courses.

Advanced Certificate in Global Studies Requirements

  • 18 credits of courses in a chosen global concentration
  • 6 credits can overlap with a students major
  • Total of 12 credits in at least two departments other than the student’s primary department (excludes language courses)
  • PIA 2473 Strategies of Global Inquiry (a 3-credit course that counts towards 18 credits)
  • 3 years college level language (Intermediate-low in a Less Commonly Taught Language or intermediate-high level proficiency in a commonly taught foreign language)
  • Completion and approval of digital portfolio
  • A minimum of three credits taken over degree requirement. The credits may come from language courses

Global Concentrations

The following descriptions emphasize overarching themes and concerns; students might pursue a wide variety of questions, contemporary or historical, within these concentrations.  Think of these concentrations as doorways into global studies, rather than as separate silos within it. We encourage a flexible and individualized approach to studying what interests you within this broad framework.

Cultural Dynamics explores the diverse ways people understand, evaluate, and feel about the world around them and how these shape and reflect people’s involvement in complex new forms of social interaction related to globalization.  Students might study the processes producing increasing cultural sameness and growing cultural difference, identity formation and challenges of intercultural communication and understanding, or people’s engagement with these processes through the arts, film, literature, performance, and other forms of creative expression.

Critical World Ecologies: How do humans shape nature, and how does it shape us? Critical World Ecologies explores the broad transnational and historical processes that affect how humans think about and exploit nature as well as the contemporary social, cultural, economic, and political relations through which “nature” and “the environment” are continually reproduced. Students might study how colonialism, migration, and globalization shape and reshape the dynamic interrelationship between humans and (the rest of) nature, or they might focus on how these interactions affect differently situated people, highlighting (e.g.) slow violence, environmental intersectionality, environmental (in)justice, and the efforts of people acting collectively to ensure that democracy, human rights, and social justice prevail in ecological struggles about our present and future.

Health and Well-Being explores the relationship between global health, social suffering, and the processes that connect and divide people around the world.  Students might study how globalization affects people’s susceptibility to physical and mental illnesses, their access to appropriate kinds of care and, more broadly, their well-being (enjoyment of a healthy, secure, and satisfying life) and capacity for “living well” (belonging to a community in which people live harmoniously with one another and with nature).

Peace, Conflict, and (In)Security addresses contemporary challenges of conflict and (in)security and the prospects for peace and social justice by examining how major conflicts and emergencies arise, are addressed, and are sometimes averted. Students might study the relationship between state sovereignty, international law, and armed intervention; the meanings of human rights and (human) security in a diverse and conflictual world; terrorism and counterterrorism, global and domestic; the roots of insecurity in in racism, patriarchy, ethno-nationalism, climate change, hunger, poverty, and other sources; processes of peace building, peace keeping, and reconciliation, including through social movements and at local levels; and, the work of the UN, NGOs, and other non-state actors, including as it relates to the work of social movements and local actors.

Politics and Economy focuses on the organization and workings of power.  It highlights the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services and how these processes relate to one another in producing global connections and divisions; it also highlights how states and other actors interact as they attempt to manage these processes.  Students might study changes in the character and reach of capitalism, models of sustainable development, interactions among states, empires, social movements, and other political entities, or systems of inequality organized geopolitically and by factors such as class, race, gender, and sexuality.


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

(a) a total of two or three years current or prior college-level study (depending on certificate type); 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. 

GSC Tuition Remission For Graduate Students Studying Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTL)
To encourage students to study a language deemed of critical importance by the U.S. Department of Education, the Global Studies Center is pleased to announce a supplemental tuition remission program available to full-time graduate students at the University of Pittsburgh. Apply Here!


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.

Digital Portfolio


Each student is required to create a succinct yet dynamic portfolio that illustrates their studies and interests pertaining to their global studies concentration. The e-portfolio will demonstrate how students are informed about, as well as engaged with, global studies through their various curricular and co-curricular experiences at Pitt.  Using a WordPress template, students will learn how to build a website and personalize it using images, testimonies, and prose, which will facilitate the portrayal of the breadth and depth of themselves as individuals.  The e-portfolio is similar to an online resume and can be shared with employers, and graduate schools. To get started read these instructions to get you on your way and explore this Global Studies mock-up template. Student should begin building your own e-portfolio once they enroll in the certificate.

Follow the link here to request a template.

WordPress Digital Portfolio Frequently Asked Questions

Instruction Guide for Digital Portfolio

Portfolio Assessment Rubric

A Network of Global Studies Scholars

There are numerous opportunities for GSC graduate students to engage with faculty and their peers across campus, during monthly discussions, colloquiums, and at events designed specifically for our graduate students. To facilitate inclusion into an international network of global scholars, GSC graduate students are automatically enrolled in global-e, an electronic newsletter produced at University of California, Santa Barbara. If you would like to know more about Graduate Alumni Statistics, please click here.