European Studies

A Global Studies Major Concentration

Dive into the birthplace of Western civilization.

This concentration focuses on the new Europe and its historical and cultural contexts, attempting to understand the European contribution to world politics and cultural exchange. It involves study of both traditional and new European cultural products (literature, film, visual art, and electronic media) and also of European institutions and contexts. This concentration will educate those of you interested in understanding Europe for its own sake, but also as the continent connects with other parts of the world. It is committed to interdisciplinary approaches, and you may take courses in the traditional language-and-literature disciplines, as well as in anthropology, art history, economics, film, history, music, philosophy, and political science.

The concentration defines the geography of modern Europe to include the Atlantic world, as well as its Eurasian and Mediterranean neighbors.


To satisfy the concentration requirements, browse the available courses.

Browse European Studies Courses


General Requirements

One semester of language must be completed before declaring the major.

  • You must complete a minimum of 36 units in GS, including at least three courses focused on a world area.
  • You must complete at least 24 units at the 300 level or above, including courses across a minimum of three academic disciplines.
  • You must complete at least 6 units at the 400 level, no more than 3 of which may be directed research or independent study.
  • In addition to the 36 units, you must complete a four-semester sequence of courses in one modern language appropriate to your concentration.

These requirements may be fulfilled only with college-level coursework undertaken during your undergraduate enrollment. Courses must be taken for a grade, and you must receive a grade of C+ or higher in all courses.

For more detailed information about the general requirements, please see the Global Studies FAQs page.

Additional Requirements and Information

Study Abroad

  • We strongly encourage you to study abroad. For those who do not study abroad and receive credit toward the Global Studies General Requirements, an additional 3 unit course at the 300 or 400 level is required.
  • We strongly prefer you to select a study abroad location and your regional specialization consistent with your chosen language of study (e.g., if you wish to study in Latin America, you must satisfy your language requirement with either Portuguese or Spanish).
  • You may receive a maximum of 6 credits from a single semester, 12 credits from a year, or 3 credits from a summer term of study abroad.
  • Study abroad credit only counts at the 300 level.
  • You may apply no more than 12 total credits to the Global Studies major from study abroad, the School of Continuing & Professional Studies, summer school at other US universities, or any combination thereof.
  • To receive credit for a summer course completed at another institution, you should fill out the Approval for Non-Wash U Course Credit form with Arts & Sciences to take the course for 'general credit' and then petition to have the course count toward your Global Studies major.
  • You may not receive credit for January Term (j-term) study abroad programs; they are too short in duration.

Concentration Specific Requirements

This concentration requires 36 units of coursework:

  • 3 units of introductory coursework [100-200 level]
  • 3 units of European history coursework [300 level or above from the History department offerings on Europe (1750 forward)]
  • 3 units of non-European world area/culture coursework [any level]
  • 27 units of advanced coursework (at least one course must focus on gender, race or class) [300-400 level]
  • For students matriculating at Washington University beginning in Fall 2023, Global Futures (L97 GS 3020) is a required course.

You must fulfill the standard Global Studies language requirement with a European language consistent with your study abroad location (e.g., French, German, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish).

Your study abroad location must be in a country relevant to this concentration area. Otherwise, you will not meet the study abroad requirement and will need to complete an additional 300 or 400 level course on campus.

A single course may satisfy more than one of the distribution requirements (i.e. disciplinary; gender, race, class; or world area). Some of these requirements may be completed while abroad.


If you have questions about this major concentration, please contact Professor Graebner.

Contact Professor Graebner