Major (Prior to Fall 2016)



Students discuss global health in the global studies capstone course.

The global and international studies multidisciplinary major in the College of Arts and Sciences at Western Michigan University requires 42 credit hours of coursework built around several required and recommended core courses specific to global studies. At least 24 hours of the major must be comprised of courses at the 3000 level or above. All coursework for the major must carry a grade of C or above.

As a global and international studies major, you will work with the program advisor to customize a set of courses most appropriate to your interests and career aspirations.

Global and international studies advising

Students admitted fall 2016 or later will need need to satisfy the requirements of the new major curriculum.

Required courses

  • INTL/GIST 2000—Introduction to Global and International Studies (three credits)
  • INTL/GIST 4900—Seminar in Global and International Studies (three credits): baccalaureate writing requirement and capstone seminar

Recommended and optional courses

  • INTL/GIST 3500—Topics in Global Studies (three credits): builds on the content of INTL 2000
  • INTL/GIST 4980—Independent Studies and Projects in Globalization (one to six credits): global internships
  • INTL/GIST 5000—Topics in Global and International Studies (one to three credits)

Academic focus

Majors select a disciplinary focus made up of at least four courses (two above the 3000 level) from among the following academic disciplines:

Prerequisites for advanced courses that don't appear on the list of recommended courses for this major may also be counted.

  • Anthropology
  • Comparative religion
  • Communications
  • Economics
  • Environmental and Sustainability Studies
  • Gender and Women's Studies
  • Geography
  • History
  • Political science
  • Sociology

Other academic disciplines may be chosen with prior approval from the director of global and international studies.

Major options

In addition to a core disciplinary focus, course selection must lead to a regional, comparative or foreign language option. Most global and international studies majors select courses through the academic discipline that leads to a regional, comparative or foreign language emphasis in their individual programs.

The regional option consists of a minimum of three courses dealing exclusively or substantially with one of the following:

  • Africa
  • Asia—general/comparative
  • China
  • Europe—general/comparative
  • Japan
  • Latin America/Caribbean
  • Middle East/Islamic
  • Russia/Eastern Europe
  • Western Europe

The comparative option consists of a minimum of four advisor-approved courses extending the comparative and cross-cultural nature of the program. It may include thematic, theoretical and area studies courses. The coursework must be drawn from at least three departments or course prefixes.

The foreign language option permits the exploration of comparative and cross-cultural issues through the study of a second foreign language, in addition to the required foreign language component of the program. Up to four courses in a second foreign language beyond the 1000 level may be incorporated into the major.

Foreign language requirement

As a global and international studies major, you must complete at least two courses beyond the 2010 level in a single language that is appropriate to your chosen regional focus that is not your native language. It is recommended, if you are beginning at the 1000 or 2000 course level in your selected language, that you begin taking language courses toward the beginning of your program. If WMU does not offer classes beyond the 2010 level in your chosen language, the coursework requirement will be waived if you demonstrate intermediate proficiency in your chosen language. Some advanced courses in foreign languages may be included in a regional focus within the major. No minor is required for students choosing the major, although development of a foreign language minor is strongly recommended.

In addition to listed courses for the major, other appropriate courses may be used with advisor approval.

Capstone seminar

As a major, you will take the capstone seminar as the culminating class of your course of study. This course provides you with the opportunity to apply, in a team context, what you have learned in the major. It offers you the opportunity to cultivate crucial life abilities that are important both academically and professionally; establishing connections with the larger community, developing strategies to analyze and address problems and working with others trained in fields different from your own.

The capstone seminar for global and international studies is INTL/GIST 4900–Seminar in Global and International Studies.