Global Studies Certificate

Global Studies Certificate

The interdisciplinary certificate is similar to a minor but rather than limiting courses to one department, it requires students take courses from a variety of departments clustered around one global concentration. This interdisciplinary requirement is reflective of the approach needed to address global concerns and facilitates inquiry from a variety of disciplines. The certificate requires 18 credits of coursework, language study and completion of a digital portfolio. Although a study abroad experience is not required we highly encourage our students to do so. 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.  



Global Studies Courses

Students begin by identifying a global concentration they want to focus on from the five offered below.  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.

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. Courses are updated each semester. Check out the course list here.

Global Concentrations
  1. 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.
  2. 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. They will also encounter debates about “The Anthropocene” and alternative ways of thinking about contemporary human ecological impacts. Unlike sustainability, which focuses on enhancing efficiency, conserving resources, and preserving existing social structures, Critical World Ecologies questions how humans came to understand nature as an object of scientific knowledge, a repository of resources, and a support system for human life and how we came to think of ourselves as distinct from (or distinctive within) nature.
  3. 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).
  4. 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. 
  5. 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.

Language Study

Global Studies students may continue with a language they have previously studied, or study a new language, or both! Typically for a certificate students must take four semesters of a language or reach the  American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) range of proficiency of intermediate-mid for less commonly taught languages (Arabic, Chinese, etc)  and  intermediate – high for commonly taught languages (French, Spanish, German).

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

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.

Below are samples of portfolios created by recent graduates:

Cultural Dynamics

Chade Darby ’21 (Psychology) 
Mackenzie Graham ‘19 (Political Science)
Khadijah Adamu ’19 (Communications, Legal Studies)
Abigail Neer ’19 (Linguistics)
Eva Bacas Dec ’19  (BPHIL/IAS/Global Studies, Linguistics)
Linda Saikali ’20 (Neuroscience, Religious Studies)


Critical World Ecologies

Anna Coleman ’21 (BPHIL/IAS/Global Studies and Statistics)
Jordan Iserson’20 (Urban Studies)
Samuel Ressin ’20 (Economics, Statistics)
Alyssa Martinec ’19 (BPHIL/IAS/Global Studies and Political Science)
Carl Doughman ’18 (Environmental Science)
Amiya Kalra '19 (Environmental Science)


Health and Well-Being
Chiara Rigaud ’21 (Urban Studies)
Seohyum Im ’20 (Sociology)
Matthew Broocke ’20 (Political Science)
Fiona Eichinger ’19 (BPHIL/IAS/Global Studies, Biological Sciences)
Ami Trivedi ’19 (Microbiology)
Emma Wylie ’19 (Rehabilitation Science)
Salena Ringenbach Dec ’19 (Neuroscience)
Madison Strine Dec’19 (Natural Sciences)

Peace, Conflict and Security
Destiny Harrison-Griffin ’21 (Political Science
Valerie Cheney ’21 (Political Science)
Micheala Petruso ’20 (BPHIL/IAS/Global French, Philosophy)

Jamie Nassur ’20  (Microbiology)
Sarah Sellers ’20 (French)
Caroline Smith ’19 (BPHIL/IAS/Global Studies and Political Science)
Harris Samad '18 (Political Science)

Politics and Economy
Jennifer Wallace ’21 (Communications Rhetoric and Political Science)
Mark Novales ’20 (Finance)
Noah Coco ’19 (Economics)
Savanna Grinder ’18 (Global Management)
Julia Fest Dec’19 (Economics and Political Science)

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 possible groupings of courses per global concentration:

Cultural Dynamics

  • AFRCNA 1535 Dimensions of Racism
  • ANTH 0780 Cultural Anthropology
  • ENGFLM 0540 World Film History
  • SOC 1319 Immigration
  • PS 0550 Introduction to Global Studies

Critical World Ecology and Sustainability

  • ENGLIT 0710 Contemporary Environmental Literature
  • GEOL 1445 GIS, GPS, and Computer Methods
  • HIST 1018 Empires & Environment in World History
  • PS 1357 Politics of Food, Land and Sustainability
  • SOC 1445 Society and Environment
  • PS 0550 Introduction to Global Studies

Health and Well-Being

  • AFRCNA 1510 Health in the African Diaspora
  • HIST 0791 Health Controversies in History
  • PUBHLT 1001 Introduction to Global Health
  • PSY 1215 Health Psychology
  • HRS 1017 Introduction to Epidemiology
  • PS 0550 Introduction to Global Studies

Peace, Conflict, and Security                

  • ADMJ 1245 Terrorism                     
  • COMMRC 1120 Rhetoric of Cold War
  • HIST 1046 Nationalism 
  • PS 1614  Theories of Justice
  • SOC 0434 Political Sociology
  • PS 0550 Introduction to Global Studies

Politics and Economy 

  • ECON 1110 Intermediate Macroeconomics
  • HIST 1115 The West and The World
  • RELST 1450 Islam, Law and Politics
  • PS 0500 World Politics
  • SOC 0432 Wealth and Power
  • PS 0550 Introduction to Global Studies