Global and International Studies, B.S.

Program Code: GSBS_BS

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 third-semester classification.


Degree Requirements

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

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 21-24
Requirements for the Major 57-58

3-6 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes: 3-6 credits of GQ credits.

Per Senate Policy 83-80.5, the college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of coursework 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.

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.)

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

Knowledge Domains

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits

Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)

  • Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 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.

Requirements for the Major

Prescribed Courses
GLIS 101NGlobalization Keystone/General Education Course3
GLIS 102NGlobal Pathways Keystone/General Education Course3
GLIS 400YSeminar in Global and International Studies3
MATH 21College Algebra I Keystone/General Education Course3
Additional Courses
Select 3-4 credits of the following:3-4
Elementary Statistics in Psychology Keystone/General Education Course
Statistical Concepts and Reasoning Keystone/General Education Course
Elementary Statistics Keystone/General Education Course
Research Methods in Sociology
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 21 credits in the Pathway courses 121
Select 21 credits (at least 6 credits at the 400-level) in related areas in consultation with an adviser 221

With approval of the academic adviser and/or the directors of undergraduate studies for the GLIS major, students 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, may use up to 15 of those credits to substitute for credits in the Pathways.

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.


University Park

Liberal Arts Academic Advising
Use the Liberal Arts Majors and Minors web page to see the contact information for the specific adviser(s) of this program

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2020-21 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

Global and International Studies, B.S. at University Park 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
GLIS 101N*3GLIS 102N*3
ENGL 15, 30H, ESL 15, ENGL 137H, or CAS 137H3CAS 100, 100A, 100B, 100C, ENGL 138T, or CAS 138T3
Related Course Any Level*3Related Course Any Level*3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
General Education Course3MATH 21*†3
 15 15
Second Year
Major course from list*3Major course from list*3
Related Course Any Level*3Related Course Any Level3
General Education Course3STAT 100, 200, SOC 207, or PSYCH 200*3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
General Education Course3Elective3
 15 15
Third Year
Major course from list*3Related Course Any Level*3
Related Course Any Level*34xx level major course*3
General Education Course34xx level major course*3
General Education Course3ENGL 202A, 202B, 202C, or 202D3
General Education Course3Elective3
 15 15
Fourth Year
4xx level major course*34xx level major course*3
GLIS 400Y*3General Health and Wellness (GHW)1.5
General Health and Wellness (GHW)1.54xx level related area course3
Writing Across the Curriculum Course3Elective3
 16.5 13.5
Total Credits 120

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University 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.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Advising Note:

All incoming freshmen must take a First-Year Seminar (FYS) during Fall or Spring of their first year. Academic advisers can provide a list of FYS being offered and help the student enroll. Most FYS in the College of the Liberal Arts are worth 3 cr. and count as a General Humanities (GH) or General Social Sciences (GS) course. For this reason, the FYS is not listed separately on this eight-semester plan; most students will be able to fulfill the FYS requirement while also fulfilling a GH or GS requirement.

Career Paths

For undergraduates, a Global Studies major offers excellent preparation for careers in government, education, diplomatic service, intelligence analysis, international business and finance, NGOs, and non-profit organizations. Graduates are also prepared for competitive graduate programs in fields as diverse as international law, international development, global education, administration, public policy, and the humanities and social sciences.


Bios of our recent alumni explaining how GLIS fit into their career paths are available on the GLIS website. Their careers include, Account Management in Advertising Technology, International Relocation Services, Social Media Advertising, Regional Policy Officer, State Department, Financial Analyst, Seimens Healthcare, Strategy and Business Development, Senior Director, Strategic Accounts, Teacher, Sales, Gilead Sciences, Office Operations and Facilities, Commissioner’s Office Major League Baseball, Management Consultant in Talent and Organization Strategy at Accenture Federal Services (AFS), Study abroad programs, including IES, and Independent Creative Writer.

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

  • Masters in Global Studies
  • Law School
  • Graduate Work in Economics
  • Political Science
  • Comparative Literature
  • Area Studies


University Park

442 Burrowes Building
University Park, PA 16802