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.

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 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.
  • You may apply no more than 12 total credits to the Global Studies major from study abroad, 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 toward your Global Studies major.

Language Requirement

All Global Studies majors must satisfy a language requirement that entails the successful completion of four semesters of one modern language appropriate to their concentration. For some of you, this may mean the first four semesters of a language; for others who place into advanced language classes, and with approval from Global Studies language faculty, this may include literature, culture, oral communication, and linguistic courses in the target language, once you complete the basic language sequence.

You are encouraged to study more than one language at Washington University, but you must satisfy your Global Studies language requirement by demonstrating competence in at least one language through the fourth semester. 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.)

With the permission of the major advisor, advanced literature and culture courses taught in the native language may be used to satisfy the Global Studies language requirement and may count as advanced elective credit as long as these courses are cross-listed with or approved for study abroad credit for your Global Studies concentration and provided the courses are not being counted toward any other degree.

Special note for Spanish learners: The following Spanish courses are not part of the regular sequence that are permitted to count toward the four semesters of language: Intermediate Spanish Conversation and Culture (Span 223), Business Spanish (Span 351), Medical Spanish (Span 353), and Spanish for the Social Sciences (Span 355). Some of you might find these courses valuable for other reasons. For questions about this, you should consult with your major adviser.

Students with prior language experience:

Native speakers of a modern language: You must satisfy the four-semester Global Studies language requirement in another language appropriate to your concentration.

Heritage speakers who do not have a native level of fluency: You must seek appropriate placement by the coordinator of the language program and complete the four-semester Global Studies language requirement.

Transfer students who have taken language courses: You may receive credit for the courses as part of the four-semester Global Studies language requirement only if a placement exam is taken upon arrival at Washington University in the given language, and that department/program determines that you may progress to the next highest level of language instruction.

Students who take a language course at another institution (whether in the United States or abroad): You may receive credit for the course as part of the four-semester Global Studies language requirement only if (1) the credit is transferred back as Washington University credit; and (2) you take a placement exam upon your return to Washington University in the given language, and that department/program determines that you may progress to the next highest level of language instruction.