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, 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 expectations of students and faculty.

As with the Global Studies Certificate, upon completion, students will be able to:  
  • 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, trans-historical 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.   
With the BPhil, students will also be able to:  
  • Demonstrate a depth and breadth of knowledge in Global Studies through the research, writing, and public defense of an Honors thesis  
  • Engage in long-term, self-motivated, global projects with confidence and rigor  
  • Consider complex global issues (eg. climate change, war and conflict, economic disparity) from multiple perspectives  
  • Decolonize knowledge production through careful critique of global power structures and disparities  


All students enroll in the global studies certificate during their freshman year and by the end of the sophomore year, submit an application to UHC. Applications must be approved by the Director of the Global Studies Center prior to submission to UHC.  
A successful candidate for the BPHIL/IAS should follow closely to this timeline.

Academic Requirements


Students begin by identifying their global concentration. They must pick one from the five offered.  The descriptions of the global concentrations emphasize overarching themes and concerns; students might pursue a wide variety of questions, contemporary or historical, within these concentrations. Courses are updated each semester. Click here for GSC course list.

All BPhil students must take the following courses:

  • A 3-credit PS 0550 Introduction to Global Studies
  • A 3-credit methodology course – typically within their major
  • A 3-credit a Global Studies capstone course
  • 21 credits of coursework from their selected global concentration, earning a 3.5 GPA or better in each of the courses. To ensure interdisciplinary learning, students take at least three courses in two departments outside their major.

Language Study

Students pursuing a BPHIL- IAS must reach an ACTFL proficiency level of intermediate-high for less commonly taught languages and advanced-low for commonly taught languages. Typically a BPHIL – IAS student, if starting a new language, takes six semesters of a language to reach the required proficiency level.

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

Study Abroad

Students must participate a minimum 4 week in-country study-abroad/ internship program.  Students work with the GSC advisor to identify a global engagement experience that will enhance or contextualize their BPHIL research. Students begin this process scanning Pitt’s Study Abroad 350 program offerings. (Hyperlink to Study Abroad Office

Research Thesis

Students must complete a research thesis and publically defend their work.  As part of the process students identify a faculty member who will agree to mentor them through the research process and writing of their thesis. Along with the faculty mentor, three additional faculty (2 from Pitt and 1 external)  serve on the thesis committee.  All research must be approved by Pitt’s IRB office to ensure ethical research standards are met.  All pertinent information about the BPHIL including information about responsibility of faculty thesis advisor, IRB requirements and application is available on the Honor’s College website.

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 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 get started building their digital portfolio soon after enrolling into the certificate or BPHIL program. Request a template here.

Sample Courses of Study
Each student will have a tailored course of study reflecting their unique interests and career path. To help student envision the possibilities, below are examples of three students course work:

Ecology and Sustainability

ANTH 0620:  Bicultural Anthropology  

BIOSC: Ecology

BIOSC: Population Biology

MARINE Life (Study Abroad, Ecuador)

Marine Ecosystem Based Management (Study Abroad, Ecuador)

SOC:  Global Change and Social Development

SOC: Sociology and the Environment

Methodology Course: Techniques of Marine Research 1&2 (Study Abroad, Panama)

HIST 1005: Global Studies Capstone Seminar

PS 0550 Introduction to Global Studies

Health and Well-Being

ECON 0220 Introduction to Health Economics 

ECON 1610 Latin America Economic Development

AFRNCA African Diaspora Health Issues

PUBHLT 1001 Introduction to Global Health 

PUBHLT 1002 Special Topics in Global Health

PUBHLT 2025 Concepts and Methods in Global Health

Health Systems in Argentina (Study Abroad, Argentina)

Methodology Course: Public Health Research Methods and Ethics (Study Abroad, Argentina)

HIST 1005: Global Studies Capstone Seminar

PS 0550 Introduction to Global Studies

Cultural Dynamics

ANTH 0780 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology   


ENGFLM 0540 World Film History

ENGLIT   0365 Literature & The Contemporary

ENGLIT 1325  Modernist Tradition

PS 1384  Political Culture in the Arab World

Multiculturalism and Human Rights Seminar (Study Abroad, Morocco)

Methodology Course: Social Research Methods (Study Abroad, Morocco)

HIST 1005: Global Studies Capstone Seminar

PS 0550 Introduction to Global Studies