Division of Social Studies

Global and International Studies

The Global and International Studies (GIS) Program offers a problem-based and interdisciplinary path for the study of global and international affairs. GIS begins from the proposition that the growing interconnectedness and complexity of global affairs is such that it cannot be studied within the narrow boundaries of traditional disciplines. Designed to draw attention to how global forces affect and shape local conditions (and vice versa), GIS emphasizes the importance of language, culture, and society to the study of international affairs and asks all students to complete an international experience. The GIS curriculum draws on faculty strengths  in anthropology, economics, history, political science, sociology, and area studies to foster connections among interdisciplinary approaches to global phenomena and facilitate new and innovative perspectives on international affairs.

Areas of Study
The Global and International Studies Program is organized into three thematic subfields: transnationalism; global economics; and international relations. Students choose one of these subfields as the primary focus of their major, and take at least one course in the remaining two fields. In addition, students complete course work that focuses on the history, politics, and/or culture and society of a particular geographic area.

Transnationalism: Courses in this field take up issues and activities that operate across the borders of states. Covered themes include political and cultural globalization, transnational social movements, immigration, nongovernmental organizations, global media, human rights, the environment, and infectious diseases.

Global Economics: Courses in this field focus on the global economy. Covered themes include microeconomics, macroeconomics, international economics, political economy, economic development, trade, and international economic institutions.

International Relations: Courses in this field take up issues related to the theory and practice of interstate relations. Covered themes include international history, international relations theory, security studies, state sovereignty, and international institutions.

Area Studies:  Area studies courses focus on the history, politics, and/or culture and society of a particular geographic area, or the comparative study of two geographic areas. It is recommended that the geographical focus of the area studies courses correspond to the language used to fulfill the language requirement.

Students majoring in Global and International Studies are required to complete a total of 10 GIS or GIS cross-listed courses and two semesters of the Senior Project; obtain competency in a foreign language; and study abroad or at the Bard Globalization and International Affairs Program in Manhattan. Two of the courses, excluding the research design/methodology course, must be at the 300 level. A single course may not fulfill more than one requirement.

Prior to or concurrent with Moderation, a student must have taken at least four GIS courses, including one core course; identified their primary thematic field; and made progress toward the language requirement. To moderate into GIS, students are required to submit a one-page plan of study to the program directors and Moderation board that demonstrates a coherent vision of their academic interests within Global and International Studies, and how they relate to their Senior Project. The plan should address how the study of different disciplines would benefit the student’s research interests and Senior Project.

The two-semester Senior Project must address a global and international problem or question and incorporate the interdisciplinary lessons and approaches students have learned in their GIS course work. An example of a recent Senior Project topic in Global and International Studies is “The Origins of the Chinese Communist Party’s Early Marriage Laws.”

GIS core courses introduce students to, and serve as a model of, the interdisciplinary study of global affairs. Each course adopts a problem-based approach to issues of contemporary global importance and draws from an interdisciplinary set of course readings and approaches to international affairs.

Program Website:


Program Director: Jonathan Becker
E-mail: jbecker@bard.edu

Program Director: Michelle Murray
E-mail: mkmurray@bard.edu