Global Studies Major Guide for 2013-2014

What is Global Studies?

Global Studies is the UT interdisciplinary program that looks at the world as a whole. For the first time in history, the enormous international movement of goods, migration of people, spread of technologies, and mixing of cultures makes it meaningful to study the world as one interacting human community. Places are now connected in all sorts of ways, and these connections are changing lives everywhere. Investment decisions made in London create jobs in Buenos Aires. Toys made in Indonesia fill Wal-Mart’s in Alabama. Doctors trained in Pakistan deliver babies in Norway. Soap operas made in Hollywood light up TV screens in Japan. Indian tech support personnel solve Americans’ computer problems in real time. This globalization has been good in many ways. Health and education programs funded by the world’s wealthy nations are decreas­ing infant mortality and eradicating literacy in the world poorer nations. But globalization has its down side, too. Thousands of Americans lost their jobs when their factories moved to Mexico in search of cheap labor – and then thousands of Mexican workers lost their jobs when those factories moved to Asia in search of even cheaper labor. Diseases like SARS now move around the world with startling speed and ease. The Global Studies program brings together a faculty that shares an interest in these processes and problems. Students majoring or minoring in Global Studies join in studying how the world works now that it’s a very small place.

Career Opportunities in Global Studies

International Business – Subfields such as international marketing and international supply chain management require a deep and broad knowledge of the world.
Economic Development – Efforts to improve people’s economies must take account of the international forces that shape those economies.
International Law – As more goods and services cross national boundaries, the need to understand the world’s various legal systems and philosophies grows.
International Philanthropic Work – Much philanthropy today is dedicated to tackling global problems: poverty, illiteracy, lack of human rights, lack of gender equality.
World Health – With so much of the world’s population now on the move, any region’s health problem can quickly become the world’s health problem.
Environmental Management – Environmental problems do not respect national boundaries. Nor is international capital necessarily a good environmental citizen. Investment from abroad can cause environmental disruption.
Higher Education – Globalization is on the research frontier of many social sciences, including sociology, political science, geography, history, and environmental studies
Public Health – Many American health problems have their origins abroad and are the product of globalization processes.
Social Services – As America’s immigrant population grows, coping with social needs involves understanding the cultures of the immigrants.

Salary Trends in Global Studies

A degree in arts and sciences prepares students for many types of careers. Your college major is not necessarily the deciding factor in your career choice. As with any degree, pre-professional experience (for example, volunteering, work experience, and internships) increases your chances of obtaining the job you want and affects your potential salary.

High School Preparation

A major in global studies major might be right for you if you:

  • have always been interested in the world as a whole
  • are amazed by how American culture doesn’t seem very American these days
  • want to understand how the rest of the world shapes your life – and vice versa
  • can’t understand why the same old international conflicts are always on the news
  • wonder why some countries always seem mad at us

How to Major in Global Studies

The prerequisites and requirements for both the major and minor can be found on the Global Studies website: Course offerings for upcoming terms can be found there as well. The Prerequisites and Requirements for the major and minor in Global Studies are listed in the following section.

Requirements for Global Studies

Major – Global Studies 250 is a prerequisite to the major in Global Studies which requires thirty (30) credit hours in the form of ten (10) courses. (However, any of the ten courses may be taken prior to the completion of Global Studies 250). No course may be counted toward more than one (1) of the following categories. No more than three (3) credit hours may be taken under the 300-level. Courses are to be distributed in the following manner:

  • Seven (7) core courses from the following list. A student may choose to concentrate in either Global Society and Culture or Global Politics and Economy. The requirements for either concentration will be five (5) courses in the primary concentration and two (2) courses in the secondary concentration.
    Approved List of Core Courses:
    Concentration I – Global Society and Culture:
    Anthropology 315, History 421; Comparative Literature 202, 203; English 331, 454; Geography 345; Music History 290; and Religious Studies 302, 333.
    Concentration II – Global Politics and Economy:
    Agricultural Economics 420; Economics 321, 323; Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries 420; Geography 351; History 374; Political Science 350, 365, 470, 471, 472; Retail and Consumer Sciences 421; and Sociology 442, 446.
  • Any two (2) courses from the following list:
    Approved List of Regional Studies Courses :
    Anthropology 313, 316, 319; Asian Studies 471; Geography 372, 373; Political Science 452, 456; Religious Studies 332, 373; Spanish 331, 401, 465
  • One (1) upper division course from the following list:
    Anthropology 410, 431; Geography 320, 340, 415; Philosophy 360; Political Science 401; Religious Studies 300; Sociology 331; any upper division modern foreign language course taught in the language of study.

Note that any courses taken to fulfill a core requirement cannot be used to fulfill a regional studies (b) or methods/ foreign language (c) requirement.

Minor – Global Studies 250 is a pre-requisite to the minor in Global Studies which requires eighteen (18) credit hours, distributed in the following manner: Six (6) courses, including two (2) courses from Section I (Global Society and Culture), two (2) courses from Section II (Global Politics and Economy), and the remaining two (2) courses maybe taken from any of the above lists.

Highlights of Global Studies

The curriculum requires students to choose an additional skills-focused course to add to their capabilities in global inquiry. Students may choose to take either a social sciences or humanities methodology course, or an upper division foreign language course specified in the accompanying list. Research methods facilitate social inquiry by providing criteria for articulating questions and finding answers. Empirical methods, qualitative methods and linguistic skills are indispensable scholarly tools. Our curriculum, which thrives on diversity, allows students to employ the method they find most useful: quantitative, qualitative, or linguistic. We therefore require that each student complete at least one upper division methods course taken from either of two categories: Methods (quantitative or qualitative) and Foreign Languages. This flexible methods requirement will generate the diverse skills and interests that first-rate interdisciplinary programs such as ours need. Building our curriculum in this way demonstrates to students that we relish intellectual diversity, and so will cast our recruiting net far and wide.

Ready for the World logoReady for the World

“Ready for the World” is part of a long-range plan to transform the UTK campus into a culture of diversity that best prepares students for working and competing in the 21st century.  Thus students are encouraged to actively participate in the diverse cultural programs offered on campus.  Some of these events include the guest lecture series, cultural nights at the International House, and international film screenings.  Visit the Center for International Education web site ( or the Ready for the World web site ( for more information on upcoming cultural programs and activities. Learn more about UT’s Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.

Students are also encouraged to develop a global perspective within their academic program through study abroad. The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, offers study abroad programs in Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, South America, and North America. Program lengths vary from mini-term trips to the entire academic year, and students may choose to fulfill general education requirements, study a foreign language, or take courses within their majors. In addition, UTK offers students opportunities for international internships.

Students are highly encouraged to begin planning early in their academic career and to consult with an academic advisor about the best time to study abroad as well as what courses to take abroad. For more information about program options, the application process, and how to finance study abroad, please visit the Programs Abroad Office website.

Academic Plan and Milestones

Following an academic plan will help students stay on track to graduate in four years. Beginning with first-time, first-year, full-time, degree-seeking students entering in the Fall 2013 semester, UT has implemented Universal Tracking (uTrack), an academic monitoring system designed to help students stay on track for timely graduation. In order to remain on track, students must complete the minimum requirements for each tracking semester, known as milestones. Milestones may include successful completion of specified courses and/or attainment of a minimum GPA.

To see a sample academic plan and milestones for this major, please visit the undergraduate catalog.

For More Information

Dr. Michael Handelsman
Dr. Rebecca Klenkt


The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.