Core Curriculum

The master's program in Global Studies combines interdisciplinary study with intensive training in research, analysis, writing, and practical experience. The degree involves a minimum of one academic year in residence at Brandeis in which students complete eight courses and a master’s thesis. Faculty Advisers work closely with students to create an individualized curriculum to suit their specific research interests and career pursuits.

The curriculum includes two core courses, one graduate-level course in methodology, and four electives, which vary according to concentration or specialty. The thesis is typically an original work between 60-75 pages and may involve some field work.   

Students in the Global Studies program fulfill these common degree requirements: 

  1. Two core courses: GS 201a (Global Agents) and GS 202b (Critical Global Issues)

  2. One graduate-level course in methodology: GS 210a (Methods and Matrics)

  3. Four elective courses which vary according to students' interest or specialty

  4. GS 204a (Master’s Thesis)

Course selection worksheet (PDF)

Residence Requirement

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

Required and Foundational Courses

More information about course listings, descriptions, and current course offerings can be found in the Schedule of Classes.

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.

The course features frequent talks with global professionals in academia, government, international institutions, development, and NGOs. Students interact with experts working on important global projects, explore career paths, and build professional networks. This effort is part of our professional development initiative focused on preparing our students for their post-Brandeis careers.

GS 210a Graduate-level Methodology

Additional research methods courses from relevant disciplines may be considered with the permission of the Global Studies 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 four courses from the selected area of concentration. This coursework provides the basis for the student’s research and writing of the master's thesis, and helps students develop important professional skills. (Heller modules are half-semester courses. Two such modules must be chosen to constitute one elective course.)

Master’s Thesis

Each student must sign up for the one-semester, guided research course and prepare a major research paper (60-75 pages) on a field and subject of interest. This course is intended to give students one-on-one time with a thesis advisor during their second semester of full-time study. Completed papers will be made available to all students and faculty in the program. A formal defense is not required.

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 either 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.