Undergraduate Programs

Why Global Studies?

The Center offers three 18-credit interdisciplinary certificates and a 30-credit Bachelor of Philosophy in International and Areas Studies to students who desire a deeper understanding of social and economic inequality in transnational context. Beyond the classroom, a broader understanding of the dominant political and economic trends will equip students to lead lives of impact, as well as the analytical tools and professional skills necessary to effectively navigate their future careers. A wide range of co-curricular opportunities allow students to further personalize their education while contributing to a dynamic, intellectually diverse community that prioritizes faculty, peer, and alumni mentorship. 

Global Studies Certificate

Students personalize a suite of courses and experiences unique to their global interest, working with courses from their major, general education requirements and electives, along with co-curricular experiences. Students draw from more than 200 courses across 5 global concentrations:
  1. Cultural Dynamics 
  2. Critical World Ecologies 
  3. Health and Well-Being 
  4. Peace, Conflict, and (In)Security 
  5. Politics and Economy 
Students begin the process by selecting one of five global concentrations relevant to their personal and/or career interests. The certificate requires 18 credits of coursework, a demonstrated 2.5 GPA, language study and completion of a digital portfolio. To enroll in the Global Studies Certificate, please complete this form.
  • Recognize the ongoing impact and effects of neoliberal globalization 
  • Make analytical connections between the local and the global in ways that enrich both 
  • Appreciate the value of cultural, racial, regional, sexual, religious, class difference on both a local and global scale 
  • Articulate an interdisciplinary approach to problem-based learning that encourages an intersectional, transnational, transhistorical outlook 
  • Critique different discourses of the global and globalization (e.g. cultural, policy, anthropological, medical) and communicate effectively about these issues orally and in writing to an interdisciplinary audience.  


  • PS 0550 Introduction to Global Studies
  • 15 credits of coursework in one global concentration
  • 4 semesters of language study or demonstrated language proficiency
  • Completion and approval of digital portfolio
All students must take PS 0550 Introduction to Global Studies and 15 credits of coursework from their selected global concentration, earning a C or better in each of the courses.  At least two of the five must be 1000 level courses. Students can double count up to six credits from their major, use general education requirements, or take as electives. Relevant courses taken during a study abroad experience may also be counted. To ensure interdisciplinary learning, students take three courses in two departments other than their major. We encourage a flexible and individualized approach to studying what interests you within this broad framework. Courses are updated each semester.

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Undergraduate Global Health Certificate

Students explore the transnational processes underpinning the global burden of disease and the social determinants of health, as well as related inequalities in access to high quality medical care. Through 18 credits of course work students tailor the modular curriculum with, co-curricular engagement, and experiential opportunities while still ensuring that they emerge with a cohesive overall understanding of the cultural and social dimensions of healthcare from the transnational level down to the community. To enroll in the Global Health Certificate, please complete this form.


  • PUBHLT 1001: Introduction to Global Health (Must be a sophomore, junior, or senior to enroll)
  • 6 credits of core courses
  • 9 credits of global health electives
  • Digital Portfolio

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Human Rights and Social Justice Certificate

The Human Rights and Social Justice certificate will provide students the knowledge and skills to engage with important issues of our times, to explore multi-disciplinary foundations and current debates about human rights and social justice, and to contribute positively to their communities and future careers. The program embeds learning and engagement with issues of diversity, equality, inclusion, and social change, within the bedrock of the deeply entrenched and long-standing global human rights system. It focuses on the interdisciplinary study and application of foundational concepts and global standards of human rights to diverse issues and movements, including but not limited t3o: poverty, race, ethnicity, gender, sex, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and age, both past and present. To enroll in the Human Rights and Social Justice Certificate, please complete this form.
  • Identify foundational human rights and social justice concepts including equality, discrimination, universality, and interdependence, from historical to current and local to transnational perspectives.
  • Differentiate current research, programs, strategies, and actors that address human rights and social justice issues in a variety of settings.
  • Recognize the cultural, political, sociological, economic, and other dimensions of particular human rights issues in a variety of contexts.
  • Appreciate how different disciplines approach human rights and apply one or more approach to a human rights issue.
  • Identify different discourses on human rights and social justice to communicate effectively about rights issues for various audiences.
18 credits of approved courses, including foundation and elective courses
  • 6 credits of foundation courses 
  • 12 credits of elective courses* 
  • Human Rights Digital Portfolio
*Alternative credit options include internships, interdisciplinary research, experiential learning opportunities, workshops, and pop-up micro courses approved by an academic advisor

Bachelor of Philosophy in International and Area Studies

The Bachelor of Philosophy in International and Area Studies (BPhil in IAS) – Global Studies track, is awarded by the University Honors College (UHC) in cooperation with the Global Studies Center. It is an interdisciplinary degree requiring 30 credits of course work, three years of language study, and rigorous independent research. Students must submit a BPHIL application to the Honors College once their research question is formulated and have demonstrated a 3.5 GPA. Please visit the UHC website with full details of the expectations of students and faculty.

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See What Our Students Say:

Emma Creighton, English Writing ’18, Peace Corps Indonesia:

"The vast majority of the classes I chose focus on the ways in which structures of power interact and impact the lives of citizens and displaced peoples around the world. More specifically, I focused on courses that I thought would shed light on the ways in which politics and the economy impacted my personal passions—access to education, freedom of expression, and human rights."

Jacqueline Choffo, Nutrition and Dietetics’ 18  Post Baccalaureate Internship, University of Maryland:

"To compliment my Nutrition and Dietetic degree, I really wanted to delve more into prominent global health issues. I have taken courses in a variety of departments at the University of Pittsburgh and I have been able to identify common themes throughout the different disciplines. One of the overarching ideas is understanding how to be a responsible global citizen."

Meet your Advisor

Elaine Linn, Assistant Director for Academic Affairs, would be happy to meet with you to discuss your academic aspirations and career goals, and to help you begin to carve out a path of study related to transnational issues of interest to you. Elaine has advised hundreds of students, and recognizes that every one is unique. She can direct you to programs, and resources that can help you meet your specific goals. You can schedule a time with Elaine below, or reach out to her via email at eel58@pitt.edu.





Schedule Your Appointment


Other Opportunities

Did you know that Pitt offers more than 250 classes every term with international or global content? If you’ve taken one or more of these courses, then you’re already on your way to earning a Global Distinction!

The Global Distinction is a new Pitt credential that supports your growth in learning more about the world inside and outside the classroom.

By completing course work across disciplines and participating in global activities and experiences at home or abroad, you can earn official recognition for your work. The credential also brings milestone rewards and, upon completion, a personal Global Distinction URL for use on your résumé and networking sites.

Visit the Pitt Global Hub for more information, or check out the site below.

Ready to enroll? Visit my.pitt.edu and click on the myPittGlobal icon. Log in with your Pitt credentials and search for "Distinction Enrollment" to get started!