Global Studies Major Requirements

Learn more about the Global Studies Major & Language Requirements

General Requirements

General Requirements for the Global Studies major, regardless of concentration:

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

  • You must complete a minimum of 36 units in Global Studies, 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.
  • For students matriculating at Washington University beginning in Fall 2023, Global Futures (L97 GS 3020) is a required course for ALL concentrations.

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

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

See individual concentration descriptions for concentration-specific requirements.

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 for Continuing & Professional Studies (formerly University College), 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 as an elective toward your Global Studies major.

  • You may not receive credit for January Term (j-term) study abroad programs; they are too short in duration.

Language Requirement

All Global Studies majors must satisfy a language requirement that entails BOTH the successful completion of four (4) semesters of a modern language for a letter grade AND placement into the third year of that language.

Available modern languages include Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swahili.

You should consult the course listings for details about the language sequences. (On the "A&S IQ" tab, click on "Courses," and then toggle "Area Requirement" to "LS Language & Cultural Diversity-Language" and click "Search" to see a list of available language courses.)

Please see our FAQs for more information.