Global Studies, B.A.

Program Code: GLBST_BA

Program Description

This major is designed for students who are interested in a liberal arts degree with a concentration in global studies. Featuring both active and collaborative classroom experiences in addition to intensive study abroad/internship experiences, the program is designed for students who wish to develop a set of analytical and interpersonal skills that will prepare them for entry-level employment in a wide range of government and non-profit organizations and agencies and in businesses and industry. Because of the flexible and broad nature of the degree, students might also use this major as preparation for graduate or professional school in business, law, or the social sciences. This program differs most notably from traditional majors in international/global studies by requiring core courses in world literature and intercultural communication, while retaining the traditional foreign language, history, and political science emphasis of most other programs. Study abroad and an internship with an international organization are also important features of this degree.

What is Global Studies?

If you are interested in helping to make the world a better place, the Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies degree may be the perfect fit for you. Global Studies is the study of globalization as it relates to the economy, market relations, the movement of people and resources, communications, politics, the effect of human activity on the environment, and cultural interconnectedness. Global Studies promotes intercultural understanding and sensitivity to diversity, critical components to navigating the twenty- first century global environment.

You Might Like This Program If...

  • You enjoy working with individuals and groups from diverse populations and reaching common understanding.
  • You are concerned with global issues such as the environment, human rights, immigration, diplomacy, and international business.
  • You like to look at the big picture and to help others see issues from a broader perspective.
  • You would like the flexibility of a broad, liberal arts major that prepares you to enter a variety of fields or to enter graduate or professional school.


Entrance to Major

In order to be eligible for entrance to this major, a student must:

  1. attain at least a C (2.00) cumulative grade-point average for all courses taken at the University; and
  2. have at least third-semester classification.


Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Arts degree in Global Studies, a minimum of 120 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 3-6
Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements 24
Requirements for the Major 45-48

3 of the 24 credits for Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements 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.

Requirements for the Major

A minimum of 3 credits of study abroad (meeting any requirement) and 3 credits of INTST 495 are required for the completion of this degree. At least 18 credits at the 400-level must be completed on the Berks campus. Courses taken abroad will qualify to meet a student's requirements.

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the major. To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn at least a C grade in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
ENGL 403Literature and Culture3
HIST 320WContemporary World History and Issues3
INTST 495Internship3-6
PLSC 14International Relations Keystone/General Education Course3
PLSC 440Globalization and Its Implications3
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
CAS 271NIntercultural Communication Keystone/General Education Course3
or INTST 100 Introduction to International Studies Keystone/General Education Course
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select 6 credits from Africa, Asia and the Middle East Regions:6
Asian Trade: Economy, Industrialization and Capitalism in Asia Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to African Literatures Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to Asian Literatures Keystone/General Education Course
ECON 473
East Asia since 1800 Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to the Middle East Keystone/General Education Course
Modern African History Keystone/General Education Course
Ethnic Conflict in Africa
Government and Politics of Africa
Introduction to Islam Keystone/General Education Course
Select 6 credits from Europe Region:6
France and the French-speaking World Keystone/General Education Course
German Culture and Civilization Keystone/General Education Course
HIST 120
Topics in European History
The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union
Select 6 credits from Latin America Region:6
Latin-American History Since 1820 Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to the Caribbean Keystone/General Education Course
Latin America and the United States
Mexico and the Caribbean Nations in the Twentieth Century
Ibero-American Civilization Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to Literary & Cultural Studies en Español Keystone/General Education Course
Special Topics
Special Topics
Select 9 credits from International Transnational Issues:9
International Cultures: Film and Literature Keystone/General Education Course
Literature and Empire
American Diplomacy Since 1914
International Business Operations
International Political Economy
The Politics of Terrorism
International Law and Organizations

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required and Inter-Domain courses do not meet this requirement.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Breadth in the Knowledge Domains (Inter-Domain courses do not meet this requirement.)

  • Arts (GA): 3 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 3 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 3 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 3 credits

Integrative Studies

  • Inter-Domain Courses (Inter-Domain): 6 credits


  • GN, may be completed with Inter-Domain courses: 3 credits
  • GA, GH, GN, GS, Inter-Domain courses. This may include 3 credits of World Language course work beyond the 12th credit level or the requirements for the student’s degree program, whichever is higher: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

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. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

B.A. Degree Requirements

Foreign Language (0-12 credits): Student must attain 12th credit level of proficiency in one foreign language. See the Placement Policy for Penn State Foreign Language Courses.

B.A. Fields (9 credits): Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts, Foreign Languages, Natural Sciences, Quantification (may not be taken in the area of the student's primary major; foreign language credits in this category must be in a second foreign language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the first language)

Other Cultures (0-3 credits): Select 3 credits from approved list. Students may count courses in this category in order to meet other major, minor, elective, or General Education requirements, except for the General Education US/IL requirement.​

Program Learning Objectives

  • Evaluate global issues theoretically and critically.
  • Use appropriate tools  to critically evaluate global issues and interpret these sources for bias and validity.
  • Effectively use information systems.
  • Evaluate and/or conduct research related to global issues.
  • Use oral and written communication skills regarding global issues.

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university's academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.



Zohra Melaouah-Shaffer
Program Coordinator of Global Studies
Gaige Building
Reading, PA 19610

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2023-24 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contains suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

Global Studies, B.A. at Berks Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
ENGL 15 or 30H (GWS)3CAS 100A or 100B (GWS)3
General Education Course (GQ)3General Education Course (GQ)3
World Language Level 14World Language Level 24
General Education Course (GN or GA or GH or GS)3PLSC 14*3
General Education Course (GN or GA or GH or GS)3General Education Course (GN or GA or GH or GS)3
First-Year Seminar1 
 17 16
Second Year
CAS 271N or INTST 100*3ENGL 202A, 202B, 202C, or 202D (GWS)3
World Language Level 34Global Regions & Issues Selection*3
General Education Course (GN or GA or GH or GS)3General Education Course (GN)3
General Education Course (Integrative Studies)3General Education Course (Integrative Studies)3
General Education Course (Exploration)3General Education Course (Exploration)3
General Education Course (GHW)1.5General Education Course (GHW)1.5
 17.5 16.5
Third Year
Global Regions & Issues Selection*3ENGL 403*3
Global Regions & Issues Selection*3HIST 320W*3
Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirement: Knowledge Domain3Global Regions & Issues Selection*3
Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirement: Knowledge Domain3Global Regions & Issues Selection*3
Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirement: Knowledge Domain3Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirement: Other Cultures3
 15 15
Fourth Year
INTST 495*3PLSC 440*3
Global Regions & Issues Selection*3Global Regions & Issues Selection*3
Global Regions & Issues Selection*3Global Regions & Issues Selection*3
 12 12
Total Credits 121

Course requires a grade of C or better for the major

Course requires a grade of C or better for General Education


Course is an Entrance to Major requirement

Course satisfies General Education and degree requirement


For General Education Course notations, please be sure to include three (3) credits of United States (US) Cultures and three (3) credits of International (IL) Cultures. Consult adviser for details.


The following courses are offered Fall Semester only: CAS 271N, INTST 100.


The following courses are offered Spring Semester only: ENGL 202B, ENGL 403, HIST 320W, PLSC 14, PLSC 440.


A minimum of three (3) credits of study abroad is required and may fulfill any requirement. Consult adviser for details.


For Global Regions & Issues Selection, consult adviser for list.


Students are required to complete a minimum of 18 credits of 400 level coursework at Berks.


Students may take either one (1) six (6) credit internship or two (2) three (3) credit internships. Students who complete a 6 credit internship will take only 3 credits of Electives. Consult adviser for details.

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy Cultural Diversity Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ), Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS) and Integrative Studies (Inter-domain) requirements. N or Q (Honors) is the suffix at the end of a course number used to help identify an Inter-domain course, but the inter-domain attribute is used to fill audit requirements. Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of 'C' or better.

Bachelor of Arts Requirements:

Bachelor of Arts students must take 9 credits in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Fields (Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Arts; World Languages [2nd language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the 1st]; Natural Sciences; Quantification). The B.A. Fields courses may not be taken in the area of the student’s primary major. See your adviser and the Degree Requirements section of this Bulletin.

Bachelor of Arts students must take 3 credits in Other Cultures.
See your adviser and the full list of courses approved as Other Cultures courses.

Career Paths

A degree in Global Studies provides an excellent academic foundation for students to enter a wide variety of careers in which they will be interacting with diverse populations to find solutions to global issues. The degree helps students to understand, analyze, and interpret global issues from cultural, historical, literary, and political perspectives while gaining the skills necessary to explain how issues impact people at the local, national, and global levels.


Graduates will be prepared for a wide range of positions in the following fields: government agencies, nonprofit agencies dealing with human rights issues, environmental agencies, immigration law, international media, public and private schools, study abroad offices, international corporations, research institutes, police departments, foreign ministries, and the United Nations.


Opportunities for Graduate Studies

The flexibility of a broad, liberal arts major prepares you to enter a variety of fields or to enter graduate or professional school.The B.A. in Global Studies also prepares students for graduate study in fields such as law, international affairs, international diplomacy, history, and political science.



P.O. Box 7009
Reading, PA 19610