What is Global Studies?

From terrorism to post-modernism.  From Yahoo to Yao.  From Hollywood to Bollywood.  From Wall Street to Jump Street.  Almost every aspect of human existence has been touched in some way by the dynamic of globalization.

Global Studies is a relatively new major, only available at schools with numerous, strong, globally-oriented departments. Because many important issues now facing the world can’t be addressed by just one department or discipline, the Global Studies major is different from traditional majors. It is a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary program. That means, students take classes from elite professors in many departments and programs -- from International Relations to Anthropology to Religion Studies to History. They get a broad and innovative education from across the university.

The major is not easy. Besides the interdisciplinary coursework, students must also demonstrate intermediate language proficiency. They must study abroad. They must spend time at the United Nations with the Lehigh-UN partnership. But students graduate with a unique major that immediately sets them apart. Because globalization has changed every field, every field needs graduates who understand globalization. Global Studies majors find jobs in entertainment, politics, business, health and more.

Global Studies prepares students for work and life in a modern and interconnected world.  It is a distinctive, interdisciplinary effort that draws from multiple colleges, departments, and programs from across campus.  Numerous Career Opportunities are open to Global Studies students.

The GS Major requires a total of 40 credits in subjects ranging from: culture, religion, communication, international relations, politics, economics, and other aspects of social life from a global perspective.  Check out these notable Global Studies links for more ideas, and for more of an idea of what Global Competency means, check out this fascinating article recently released from the Chronicle.

Brief Words from a Global Studies Student

I am living with a host family at the moment--I have three younger host brothers: Satoshi (age 7), Shunsuke (age 5) and Yusaku (age 2). I was a little nervous the first day, but I knew things would be okay when, on the first night, myself and a fellow homestay student living with the sister of my host father got to play "Cops and Robbers" with all of the children of the families. Imagine two giant gaijin (Japanese for foreigners) running like mad from a gaggle of Japanese youths through the crowded streets of an Osaka suburb, and you have an idea of what life for me is like right now.

A few days before that, I gave a speech during the opening ceremony of the 2010 academic year for my school in Japan. I was chosen as the representative for the incoming foreign students because the administrators enjoyed my application essay. I had to bow to the teachers on the right of the podium, bow to the American and Australian consuls on the left of the podium, and bow to the audience before my speech. Afterword, I had to repeat the process. The faculty seemed to enjoy my speech. When I met the president of the university, I thanked him for the opportunity and he said, through a translator, that I had, "a Japanese heart." Who knew?

Give my best to your new Global Studies students. If they are considering Global Studies as a major, tell them it is worth it. If they have chosen it as a major, congratulate them for me. It is a program that takes you places you wouldn't imagine.

The Mission of Global Studies

The Global Studies major at Lehigh seeks to promote critical perspectives on the social, political, economic and cultural processes associated with globalization. Going beyond traditional study in a single discipline, students harness critical and methodological approaches taken from the full range of the humanities and social sciences.

 In particular, students engage in international travel, the study of world cultures and the acquisition of foreign language expertise, as ends in themselves and as tools for understanding and meeting the global economic, social and ecological challenges that face us.

The program also seeks to foster historical, comparative and interdisciplinary methodologies that lead to a deeper understanding of particular nations and regions of the world. Emphasis is placed on critical thinking, analytical reading and writing skills, and the ability to develop a holistic perspective based on literary, ethnographic, sociological, governmental, and commercial sources. Students will become as comfortable with issues of critical political economy as they are with literary theory and religion studies.

Ultimately, Global Studies students develop a sense of responsibility toward the human community and citizenship in the world – and develop the means to shape that world.

Below, you will find descriptions for the required courses and collateral requirements that help to define the special nature of this program.  For further information, please do not hesitate to contact Professor Jack Lule, the Adviser to Global Studies.

Required Courses

For detailed information about how to earn a major or minor in Global Studies, please see the required courses page.  For full course descriptions of courses available to Global Studies students, see the full course descriptions 
For Fall 2015 Courses
For Spring 2015 Courses
For Summer and Fall 2014 Courses
For Spring 2014 Courses
For Summer and Fall 2013 Courses
For Spring 2013 Courses
For Fall 2012 Courses
For Summer 2012 Courses
For Spring 2012 Courses
For Fall 2011 Courses
For Summer 2011 Courses
For Spring 2011 Courses.

Study Abroad

There are many reasons why the study abroad experience is a key component of the Global Studies major.  It often provides students with a new-found sense of awakened curiosity in peoples and subjects who before might have seemed unrelated and abstract, and helps to build the confidence and skills necessary to engage with unfamiliar cultures.

With respect to intellectual development, such experiences are intended to influence how students learn to evaluate the complex web of interactions that exist between the global and the local.

Study abroad: 12 credits of study abroad, taken in one semester, or one 6-credit summer sessions with approval of adviser, for financial or academic reasons. In all cases, coursework can be substituted, with the guidance of an adviser, if student is financially or academically unable to study abroad.

Lehigh University Study Abroad Office
International exchange agreements with partner institutions are continually being developed in collaboration with Lehigh's Study Abroad Office.  Be sure to familiarize yourself with what resources they have to offer.

2013-14 Winter Session Study Abroad in Cuba

Useful Study Abroad Search Engines and Scholarship Opportunities
Do you want to study abroad, but don't know where to start or think that you cannot afford it? Check out these search engines.

Making the most of your Study Abroad Experience - Resume Tips (PDF).

Language Proficiency

Learning another language is an integral component of the Global Studies major.  It provides students with the confidence and skills needed to engage with unfamiliar cultures as global citizens.

Students pursuing a Global Studies major/minor are encouraged to study abroad not only so that they may acquire a new sense of cultural appreciation and global experience, but because it offers a unique opportunity to significantly strengthen non-native language skills.

All Global Studies majors are required to obtain an Intermediate II or equivalent in a language taught at Lehigh, through the Department of Modern Languages & Literature (MLL), that is other than the student's native language.

Lehigh University - United Nations Partnership

Lehigh University maintains a distinctive NGO (non-governmental organization) status with the United Nations.  This offers Lehigh faculty and students a unique link to one of the world's leading organizations.

The Global Studies program builds on this access by offering workshops, field trips, and internships.  Students can now hear about global issues straight from people who are making wide-reaching global decisions.  For more information about this special partnership, be sure to check out the Lehigh-UN Partnership website.

For an idea of the kinds of jobs available within the United Nations sphere of influence (including nongovernmental organizations), check out this extensive and comprehensive UN listing of jobs available world wide in addition to countless links to other related nongovernmental organizations and internship opportunities. 

Another useful resource is the  UN's Department of Public Information which offers a comprehensive list of all of the official nongovernmental organizations that they work with (in order to view the entire list, you must select 'All' when selecting a region, country, and activity).

Internship Opportunities

An advanced elective may be replaced by an approved, overseas internship or relevant, supervised experiential learning in the US.  Check out this page for more information about the kinds of international internships that are available.

Lehigh University Career Services
The Career Services Office at Lehigh also offers an excellent set of resources to assist students in finding the right internship opportunity for them.
Dr. Jack Lule, Director of Global Studies │ │ Phone: (610) 758-4177 │ Fax: (610) 758-6198
Globalization & Social Change Initiative │ Lehigh University │ 33 Coppee Drive, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA 18015