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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

Liberal Arts

Global and International Studies

University Park, College of the Liberal Arts (GSBA)

PROFESSOR Josepth G. Wright, in charge
PROFESSOR Jonathan Abel, in charge

The interdisciplinary B.A. degree in Global and International Studies is intended to prepare students for lives and careers in a world that is increasingly interdependent. It reflects a “One World” concept that emphasizes the importance of global perspectives, international communication, and study or working experience abroad. The major combines the expertise of multiple disciplines, including the Social Sciences and the Humanities, to suggest a variety of methods for understanding the dynamic issues facing human beings across the globe. The structure of the major also recognizes the fact that the vast majority of the world's people live in regions other than the European and North American spheres, and that a knowledge of non-Anglophone cultures is an important form of preparation for global citizenship.

The major develops transnational and trans-regional literacy, drawing on coursework both in the Humanities and the Social Sciences to focus on questions of globalization, ethical imagination, and ways to engage peoples and cultures in local terms. Students learn to situate global trends, both macro and micro in nature, in relation to other historical processes. Most courses for the GLIS major will demonstrate a global or regional (rather than national) perspective and address a central topic in one of five designated Pathways.

Human Rights
This Pathway examines the history, development, enforcement, and violations of concepts of the basic rights of mankind. Whether through questions of torture, freedom of conscience, trafficking of women and children, agreements about prisoners of war, human rights constantly need redefining and rethinking if they are to be broad enough to cover everyone on our planet and specific enough to have a real effect on human behavior.

Culture and Identity
Global economic, political, and cultural processes are bound up with complex questions of culture and identity at the individual, familial, and community levels. Examining how differences in language, ideology, religion, race, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation among others impact our sense of self and other, this Pathway considers: foundational expressions of social and cultural values; the formation and contestation of identity over time; the impacts of modernization on individual, family, and community identity; genetic manipulation and modification; and questions of colonization and colonialism on political and cultural structures.

Global Conflict
This Pathway examines war, peace, and security on a global and historical scale to reveal the contingent decisions, random accidents, and devious schemes which continue to be at the root of violence around the world. This Pathway studies conflicts great and small, from tribal warfare to national and international wars, revolutions, acts of terrorism, and so on. It also considers successful and unsuccessful efforts to halt conflict, and how and why approaches to and experiences with peace can affect conflict situations.

Wealth and Inequality
This Pathway considers global distribution of people, goods, and money, both in the contemporary world and in deep historical time, examining feudalism, trade, imperialism, nationalism, and the socioeconomic impacts of globalization. Some of the themes on which it focuses include: motivations for and experiences of such human movement as migration, exploration, travel, slavery, diaspora, asylum, and exile; demographic change; poverty, wealth, and economic inequality; and political, social, and cultural incentives for and restrictions on circulation (censorship, translation, free trade, prize culture, protectionism, access, privilege, bias).

Health and Environment
This Pathway considers the direct impact of global issues on the life on our planet.  As intercontinental travel makes nearly every epidemic already global today, the more and more the health of individuals is directly connected to the health of the globe.  Growing populations, aging demographics, increasing pollution, and decreasing food resources present new challenges for global human health.  Similarly the global cycles of climate change and crisis force us to reconsider both natural processes and anthropogenic influences, examining the philosophy and history of human's place in nature. Some of the themes on which this Pathway focuses include: the relationship between local resources and global geopolitics; cultural, economic, and social effects of global climate change; pollution and conservation; environmental movements; and evolution and extinction.

Alternatively, students with a GPA above 3.5 may work with advisors and faculty to create a personalized Pathway that reflects their interests.

The B.A. degree requires six credits of foreign-language study beyond the 12-credit proficiency level, or in a second foreign language.The B.A. degree may include a significant engaged scholarship experience (such as undertaking an internship, job, volunteer position, or period of study) located either abroad or in a majority non-English-speaking part of the United States.

Per Senate Policy 83-80.5, the college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. For more information, check the Recommended Academic Plan for your intended program.

For the B.A. degree in Global and International Studies, a minimum of 120 credits is required

GENERAL EDUCATION: 45 credits
(See description of General Education in this bulletin.)

FIRST-YEAR SEMINAR:
(Included in ELECTIVES or GENERAL EDUCATION course selection)

UNITED STATES CULTURES AND INTERNATIONAL CULTURES:
(Included in ELECTIVES, GENERAL EDUCATION course selection, or REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)

WRITING ACROSS THE CURRICULUM:
(Included in REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)

ELECTIVES: 15 credits

BACHELOR OF ARTS DEGREE REQUIREMENTS: 24 credits
(3 of these 24 credits are included in the REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR, GENERAL EDUCATION, or ELECTIVES and 0-12 credits are included in ELECTIVES if foreign language proficiency is demonstrated by examination.)
(See description of Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements in this bulletin.)

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR: 36 credits

PRESCRIBED COURSES (9 credits)
GLIS 101 GS; IL(3), GLIS 102 GH; IL(3) (Sem: 1-4)
INTST 400 IL(3) (Sem: 6-8)

ADDITIONAL COURSES (6 credits)
Select EITHER 6 cr. in a language beyond 12th-credit level proficiency, OR 6 cr. in a second foreign language, or equivalent proficiencies.  Courses must be taught in the language, i.e., not in English (Sem: 1-6)

SUPPORTING COURSES AND RELATED AREAS (21 credits)
Select 21 credits in the Pathway courses. Lists of the Pathway courses are kept by departmental advisors, and appear online on the program’s website, glis.la.psu.edu

-15 credits of these 21 will be in a single Pathway concentration (no more than 6 credits towards the Pathway completion are to be from courses in a single department).
-6 credits of these 21 are from other Pathway concentrations.

  • At least 12 credits must be taken at the 400 level or higher.

With approval of the academic advisor and/or the directors of undergraduate studies for the GLIS major, students are encouraged to substitute up to 15 credits of their Pathway work with equivalent coursework in significant engaged scholarship experience (such as undertaking an internship, job, volunteer position, or period of study) located either abroad or in a majority non-English-speaking part of the United States.

Blue Sheet Item #: 43-06-097

Review Date: 04/14/2015

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