Students! Please remember when consulting the course idea list the following:

  • Students must work with advisors to determine whether courses on this list will work with the student’s Major Plan of Study.
  • Courses should be considered as OPTIONS for students to consider with an advisor. Each student must be able to articulate why the courses they have selected will fit into his/her thematic area or area studies.
  • All substitutions to your Major/Minor Plan of Study must be approved by an advisor.

Global Studies majors develop the interdisciplinary knowledge and intercultural skills necessary to analyze and solve contemporary world problems. Global Studies majors are able to:

  • combine the theories and methods of multiple social science disciplines to view the most pressing global issues from a variety of perspectives;
  • utilize advanced language and cultural skills to work professionally with diverse groups of people; and
  • develop specialized skills and expertise to address global challenges that suit their strengths and interests.

The Global Studies major fosters respect for diverse ways of living and commitment to sustainability. The competencies established through the Global Studies major prepare students for careers in business, communications, education, immigration, international affairs, law, public health, and sustainable development, among other areas.

Interdisciplinary Foundations


Foundations courses introduce students to various social science disciplines and interdisciplinary analyses, enabling students to:

  • describe and critique the contemporary international system;
  • analyze the environmental, political, economic, and social conditions of different world regions; and
  • research and debate world events, global processes, and cross-cultural perspectives.


GLBL 100 Introduction to Global Studies (3 credits): This course introduces students to the major and is a recommended prerequisite for all other Global Studies courses. GLBL 100

Global Studies Seminars (3-7 credits): Seminars are opportunities to explore current global controversies and case studies on a variety of topics from interdisciplinary perspectives. Global Studies majors have the option to complete these seminars abroad or on campus. They may:

  1. complete three 1-credit seminars on campus (GLBL 296) on topics of their choice; OR
  2. complete one 3- or 6-credit seminar on campus (GLBL 296), and a one 1-credit seminar abroad (GLBL 298).

Students may choose seminars on any topic and any location. These do NOT need to correspond with language, regional, or thematic area choices in the Major Plan of Study.

Social Science Core Courses (12 credits): These courses offer students a firm grounding in the social science disciplines of Anthropology, Economics, Geography, History, Political Science, and Sociology, so that students can draw from these disciplinary perspectives in analyzing global issues. Global Studies majors must select a total of four courses from the list below, with no more than one course in each discipline. See our current recommended course list for this semester's offerings.


  • ANTH 230 Sociocultural Anthropology
  • ANTH 260 World Ethnography
  • ANTH 268 Images of the Other 
  • ANTH 270/271 Language in Culture


  • ECON 202 Economic Statistics I
    Note: this course has a prerequisite of credit or concurrent registration in one of MATH 220, MATH 221, or MATH 234
  • ECON 420 International Economics
  • ECON 450 Development Economics


  • GGIS 204 Cities of the World
  • GGIS 210 Social & Env Issues
  • GGIS 221 Geographies of Global Conflict

Global Studies

  • GLBL 200 Foundations of Research


  • HIST 258 20TH Century World to Mid-Century
  • HIST 259 20TH Century World from Mid-Century
  • HIST 274 US & World Since 1917


  • LING 222 Language in Globalization

Political Science

  • PS 241 Comp Politics in Developing Nations
  • PS 280/281 Intro to International Relations
  • PS 282 Governing Globalization


  • SOC 226 Political Sociology
  • SOC 261 Gender in Transnational Perspective
  • SOC 270 Population Issues
  • SOC 350 Technology & Society
  • SOC 364 Impacts of Globalization
  • SOC 367 Globalization Dynamics Debates

Language, Culture Studies and Study Abroad


Through advanced coursework and immersion in a foreign language and corresponding region of their choice, Global Studies majors develop the ability to:

  • address the impacts of global processes on a specific geographic location and cultural group;
  • communicate effectively in academic, professional, and social contexts abroad; and
  • explore, articulate, and debate diverse local perspectives on global issues.

Majors must choose a language, world region, and study abroad program that correspond with one another. Check out the map below to see some common combinations that our majors pursue.

*Note that in some cases, students can study abroad in English in programs that fit with their region and thematic area


Advanced Language Coursework (6 credits): Global Studies majors must complete 6 credit hours of advanced coursework in a language that corresponds with their regional focus and study abroad location, and that is not the student’s primary language. This requirement enables students to work in non-English speaking contexts and to gain familiarity with new ways of thinking, perceiving, and relating to other people.

Global Studies majors must select from the courses listed below to fulfill this requirement. All advanced language courses require four semesters of previous study at UIUC or the equivalent as determined by a placement exam. Students continuing a language that they began studying elsewhere should contact the corresponding language department to schedule a placement exam. The advanced language requirement for Global Studies majors cannot be waived through a proficiency exam. Global Studies majors may pursue languages that are not on this list by making arrangements with language instructors and consulting with a Global Studies advisor.

Click here to view Advanced Language Courses for Global Studies Majors.


Regional Area Studies (9 credits): Global Studies majors take courses on a regional area that corresponds with their language and study abroad location in order to develop expertise on the historical, political, and cultural context of one world region. Students select one of the following: Africa, East and South Asia, Latin America, Middle East, Russia and Eastern Europe, Western Europe.

Most Global Studies majors begin their area studies coursework before traveling and complete it while studying abroad. Area studies courses must be from at least two different departments and must be at the 200-level or above. Students can choose any courses that fit this description, with approval from a Global Studies advisor. For suggested area studies courses on campus, see our current recommended course list and browse the websites of UIUC's Area Studies Centers.

Study Abroad (1 full semester): Global Studies majors are required to study abroad for at least one full fall or spring semester in order to gain substantial international experience. See our Global Studies Study Abroad page for more information.

Thematic Areas


The thematic area allows students to find their passion, something they want to pursue after graduation. The immediate goal of finishing coursework is thus taken over by the intention of truly enjoying the subject matter at hand. The ability to tailor the major to their interests further enables students to become conscientious human beings, who are invariably successful in their endeavors. Thematic area courses enable students to:

  • specialize in a global issue that aligns with their professional and personal aspirations;
  • articulate a deep understanding of the thematic area by drawing upon multiple disciplinary perspectives; and
  • apply the theoretical and practical knowledge gained in a professional context.

There are seven thematic areas in the LAS Global Studies major and students have the freedom of choosing their unique topic within a thematic area. For example, a student interested in environmental justice may declare Environment, Sustainability and Social Responsibility as a thematic area, and environmental justice as their specific topic. The student may then, as an example, proceed to take courses in law and environmental studies to build their distinctive expertise; apart from any other Global Studies student.



Each student must complete 18 credit hours of course work towards their thematic area, of which 9 credit hours must be advanced, i.e. at the 300 or 400 levels of classes. These advanced classes are intellectually challenging and aim to build students’ expertise on their topic of interest. The thematic area must have classes from more than one discipline. Students must consult a Global Studies advisor about their course selection to gain maximum benefit from their thematic area. The advisor will ask students to justify their courses vis-à-vis their professional aspirations to ensure that the skill set the student is developing will aid their growth in the long run.

Capstone Options (Optional)

Click here to view more information regarding Capstone Options.