Graduate Programs


Graduate students from the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and Pitt’s professional schools can tailor a unique plan of interdisciplinary study through GSC’s graduate certificate, drawn from more than 200 courses across 5 global concentrations. Students gain a solid understanding of the academic debates over globalization and their policy implications in both the global and local contexts. Students also achieve foreign language proficiency in one of 35 languages offered at Pitt.

The graduate certificate requires 18 credits of interdisciplinary course work, integrating relevant courses from their major as well as courses outside of the student’s discipline.  A graduate student earning a certificate must take at least 6 credits over and above the total credits required for their degree. 

Students must select one of the five global studies concentrations: 

  • Critical World Ecology and Sustainability
  • Politics and Economy
  • Cultural Dynamics
  • Peace, Conflict and Security
  • Health and Well-Being

Certificate 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)
  • 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 Ecology and Sustainability 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 Security addresses contemporary possibilities for peace and security in the world 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, terrorism and counterterrorism, processes of peace building, peace keeping, and reconciliation, and the work of the UN, NGOs, and other non-state 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 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. 

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.

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, and the name of the course. 


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.

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.