The Master of Arts in Global Studies involves a minimum of one academic year in residence at Brandeis in which students complete eight courses, including seven semester-long courses and a master’s thesis, which counts as the eighth course. The curriculum includes two required and foundational courses, two electives in an area of concentration, and two additional electives.  

Students must successfully complete eight semester courses, including:

A. Two core courses: GS 201a (Global Agents) and GS 202b (Critical Global Issues)
B. One graduate-level course in methodology
C. Two elective courses in one area of concentration
D. Two courses in global studies
E. GS 204a (Master’s Thesis)

In consultation with the director, each student develops an area of concentration, such as the following:

  • Civil Society and Human Rights
  • Communications and Media
  • Culture and Globalization
  • Global and Regional Governance
  • Global Environment
  • Global Health
  • Immigration
  • Social Justice and Gender

Residence Requirement
The residence requirement for this program is one year of full-time study.

Required and Foundational Courses

GS 201a Global Agents
This foundational seminar provides an introduction to the literature on globalization and focus on the key players in international affairs (UN, World Bank/IMF, WTO, TNCs, NGOs, and regional organizations). The objective is to make a critical analysis of these organizations and to assess the research resources and databases they generate.

GS 202b Critical Global Issues
This foundational seminar examines key issues from the primary areas of concentration listed above. The specific focus will vary from year to year, reflecting changing relevance of particular issues as well as the specific interests of the instructor.  

Global Economy Requirement
Although this program does not offer advanced training in global economics, it is essential that students have a solid grasp of the basics in this field. Students entering the program without a strong background in the global economy will be required to take one elective course such as GS 203b, selected in consultation with the director.

Graduate-level Methodology
Students may choose from a list of graduate courses that deal with the methodology for the design and implementation of research projects. Other graduate courses from relevant disciplines dealing with research methods may be substituted with the permission of the director.
ANTH 202b Designing Anthropological Research
HIST 210a Historical Research: Methods, Theories
HS 306f Survey Design and Data Analysis
POL 100b Political Science Methods: Research, Design
POL 212a Seminar: Research Methods, Methodology
SOC 136b Historical and Comparative Sociology
SOC 181a Quantitative Methods
SOC 183a Evaluation of Evidence

Concentration Electives

Each student chooses two courses from the selected area of concentration. This coursework provides the basis for the student’s research and writing of the M.A. thesis. (Note that the Heller modules, courses indicated with an “f” after the number, are half-courses; two such modules must be chosen to constitute one elective course.)

GS 204a Master’s Thesis

Each student must sign up for the one semester, guided research course and prepare a major research paper (50-75 pages) on a field and subject of interest. The completed papers will be made available to all students and faculty in the program and will be formally defended, normally at the end of the spring semester.

Language Requirement

Knowledge of foreign languages, both written and oral, is important for understanding the complexity of other cultures, for functioning effectively in a non-Anglophone environment, and for accessing a broad range of primary sources and secondary literature. All global studies students must have advanced training in a foreign language (defined as at least one level beyond the undergraduate requirement at Brandeis).

In cases where students lack sufficient language training, they can satisfy this requirement by an intensive summer course (either the semester before or after the residence year), by taking the corresponding course at Brandeis (as an additional course) or by private study and a qualifying language examination at the end of the second semester.