The Global Studies area prepares students to engage, work, and live in a diverse, globalized world. Global Studies students will:

  • Develop a better understanding of world political, economic, social, and cultural relationships
  • Explore global challenges and critical world problems and become an agent for positive change
  • Develop a greater appreciation of diverse cultures and societies
  • Acquire credentials for post-graduate training in fields as diverse as international development, politics and government, anthropology, health and food security, and education
  • Connect to people around the world in person and by electronic means
  • Learn skills valuable to those seeking careers in international service agencies, global non-profits, and non-governmental organizations
  • Pursue the twin causes of liberty and democracy around the world

Introductory Seminar (Fall)

HON 331 - Global Studies

Through this course, students will examine how people study and have perceived similarities, differences, and interdependencies among human societies. The course is interdisciplinary and incorporates the arts, social sciences, humanities, health, education, environmental and developmental studies, and more, all within an integrative, global framework. Materials and guest speakers will encourage discussions, introduce and engage students in new concepts, and promote critical thinking through current issues and case studies related global studies in order to become better global citizens.


Experiential Seminar (Spring)

Experiential seminar offerings may vary from year to year. The following are examples of seminars that have previously been offered to students in the Global Studies area. 

Global Citizenship in a Service-Learning Context
AREA(S): Creativity; Global Studies; Leadership; Research; Service

This course focuses on the concept of “global citizenship” in the context of an international service-learning trip.  Students will travel to the Dominican Republic (DR) and engage in an intensive service-learning project over spring break.  The course seeks to address definitions and issues of global citizenship, development and service, using the service-learning experience as an aid to learning within the course.  Students will also experience/learn about contemporary social, political, cultural and economic conditions within the DR, through service learning, structured outings, cultural events, guest speakers, coursework and course readings and assignments.  Ongoing structured reflection will provide a way for all participants to discover, articulate, integrate and act on what they learn from their experiences.  Students will work with both American and Dominican professionals.

American Women at War
AREA(S): Leadership; Global Studies

This course invites students to engage a series of issues about the role of women in the United States military. This course will examine the contributions and experiences of women who have served during times of war to include the American Revolution, the U.S. Civil War, World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf War(s). Also included in the scope of this course is an examination of how women in military service, both past and present, are an instrument for societal change in America, specifically in promoting the cause of women's rights. Students will study an extensive collection of primary and secondary sources, as well as have an opportunity to hear firsthand from women veteran speakers. A visit to the American Women's Military Memorial at Arlington Cemetery is also on the agenda.

Global Challenges and the Future of Work in the 21st Century: Envisioning the Next Fifty Years
AREA(S): Creativity; Global Studies; Leadership; Research; Service

In this presidential election cycle, candidates extol the virtues of education, economic growth, and job creation as keys to the future. But what does a quality education look like in the twenty-first century? Where can we squeeze out additional profits amid calls for sustainable environmental practices? What will the jobs of the future look like? Are we prepared for the next global or international economy? Emerson once wrote: “Don’t waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour’s duties will be the best preparation for the hours and ages that will follow it.” Is this all the reassurance we need?

In this class you will engage in self-directed study of the future of work, the future of education, and the future global economy. We will study the past, present, and future of great global challenges; the importance of service, civic engagement and leadership; and the need for creativity in making a difference in the world.

James Madison University Undergraduate Research Journal
AREA(S): Creativity; Global Studies; Leadership; Research; Service

Students collaborate to publish the online undergraduate research journal JMURJ. Students taking the course serve as editorial board members, who act in a number of capacities: outreach, acquisitions, and marketing; editing in all its forms, from comprehensive editing to copyediting and proofreading; and publication and design. Editorial board members gain experience in defining and publishing a growing university-wide academic research journal; collaborating with a diverse group of enthusiastic, skilled editorial board members; and working with people and texts from various fields.

Studying Abroad

Students who are participating in a JMU study abroad program during the spring semester of their sophomore year may be able to use this as their Experiential Seminar. Students should discuss this option with the instructor of the introductory Global Studies seminar. In addition, participation in any of the Honors Seminars Abroad will complete the second semester requirement of the Global Studies Area of Emphasis sequence.

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