Global Cultural Studies

A Global Studies Major Concentration

Study where cultures collide and intersect.

This concentration focuses on the practical and theoretical issues arising from cross-cultural encounters around the world. You will study these by both examining conventional cultural products (e.g., literature, film, visual art, new media) and investigating their broader political and social contexts. This concentration addresses compelling issues of cultural interchange for those of you interested in cultures for their own sake as well as in careers in NGOs and international business and law. This concentration is committed to interdisciplinary approaches to contemporary problems. You may take courses in the language and literature disciplines as well as in anthropology, art history, film, history, music, religious studies, and women, gender and sexuality studies.


To satisfy the concentration requirements, browse the available courses.

Browse Global Cultural 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:

  • 6 units of disciplinary introductions and methods coursework (from two different disciplines) [100-200 level]
  • 9 units of world area coursework (two courses in one world area and one in another world area) [any level]*
  • 21 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.

*Of the three required world area courses, one must be at the advanced level. The other two courses may be taken at any level.

Africa, East Asia, Eurasia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, South Asia and North America are considered world areas for the Global Cultural Studies concentration. You must complete two courses in one world area and one course in another world area. These may be at any level.

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